The Cumberland Post

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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

To many people, New Year's Eve means lots of alcohol. Where there's alcohol, there's always a drunk. Or two. Some contemporary comics have made a decent attempt at creating a truly funny version of the stock comic character "The Drunk." None come close to the great Foster Brooks. Here he is with a perfect foil, Dean Martin, in a classic bit about an airline pilot. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

Son, Daughter in law, and two grandsons arrived Tuesday night. Christmas is in full swing here.

The choir at King's College, Cambridge, and "O Holy Night."

And, do you remember Noma Bubble Lights?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Country Music Begins Here

Jimmy Rodgers (1897-1933), aka "The Singing Brakeman," "The Blue Yodeler," and the "Father of Country Music" was a country singer known for his rhythmic yodeling. He was the first country music superstar and his one of his earliest recordings, "Blue Yodel" (1927), also known as "T for Texas," sold over 500,000 records. Many of his songs are about railroading and are authentic in that he and his father both worked on the Mobile and Ohio RR, and he worked on "The New Orleans and Northeastern," as well as the "Southern Pacific." He contracted Tuberculosis in 1924 and died of the disease at the age of 36.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Simple Tastes: Nonie's Light Cornbread

I have very simple tastes in food. I've tried lots of fancy recipes here and there over the years, but most of that fancy food just doesn't satisfy me. A few years ago, when Joyce and I went out sometimes to high end restaurants with a gourmet couple we used to know, we generally judged the experience "fun" but not necessarily tasty or filling.

I suppose this goes back to my upbringing. My Mom was a great cook, but what she did well was take the simplest fare and do it with quality in her own unique way. Her specialties were yeast rolls, cornbread, potato salad, cole slaw, white beans, meat loaf, roasts, fried chicken, chocolate cake, apple pie, etc.

Joyce, the other great cook in my life, is from the same simple tradition. She learned some things from her mother, but also a lot from her Grandmother Talley. Over the years she's even taught me some of those secrets.

On this past Saturday afternoon, while I was doing the grocery shopping, she prepared the evening meal. Around 3 PM she put on the white (Northern) beans. They were ready by the time I came in.

Then I watched (and took a couple of pictures) as she prepared Nonie's Light Cornbread, which is what we call it now. "Nonie" is the name our grandkids all call her. This cornbread has been modified over the years to reflect the low fat approach we take to our diet. We don't try to  eliminate fat, just keep it low.

Nonie's Light Cornbread

1 and 1/2 to 2 cups White Lily Buttermilk Corn Meal, self rising. Some in the South might consider this a travesty, not using Martha White. We think the White Lily is finer ground, resulting in a smoother, less coarse texture in the baked bread.

One egg. Not two, one will do.

1 to 1 and 1/2 cup of skim or 1% Milk. The mixed batter should have consistency but still pour from a spoon.

Use no oil or lard in the batter. It's good that way, but you get a lot of fat grams.

Using a whisk, stir all these together in a batter. Stir well. One of Grandmother Talley's secrets was making sure the ingredients were thoroughly mixed together.

While you're preparing the ingredients, spray some of that no stick butter flavor cooking spray inside your iron skillet.

Place in oven for five minutes as it's pre heating to 450 degrees. When you pour the batter in, it should sizzle in the hot skillet as it fries the batter around the edges. These crunchy parts make for some good eating later when the bread is ready.

Place the skillet with the batter in the oven for approximately 15 minutes. If your oven has a window, you can tell when the cornbread is ready; the top will be a golden brown like in the pic above.

We butter the top of the bread in the skillet with Smart Balance Light spread. Cut into pie shaped sections. Enjoy!

That Saturday night we had White Beans, Mashed Potatoes, Cole Slaw, Onions, and Nonie's Light Cornbread. Ummm. Ummm. Good.

Simple, but good.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

16th Avenue: Dalton, Dreams, and Statues

A couple of days ago I posted a Youtube song by Lacy J. Dalton called “Black Coffee.” It was, I admit, a depressing ditty and did nothing whatsoever to help the mood I was in. Nor did it exactly light a fire under the readers who stopped by. (Sorry, Buck, Scooney!) 

To right the ship, to put the USS Cumberland Post back on an even keel, I’ve got to post another song by Lacy J., her signature, “16th Avenue.” Although tinged with the sadness of those who don’t achieve their dreams, it still communicates the hope of all those aspiring singers, musicians, and songwriters who come to this city following their dreams. As you’re listening, I invite you to scroll down and read the rest of the post (about Nashville's 16th Avenue) since there’s no accompanying video to Lacy J's rendition of this excellent song.

Although it's reached almost mythical status (partly through Lacy J's song), 16th Avenue is a real street in Nashville. It's part of what's called the Music Row area. This is where most of the business of the music business is conducted. The Row includes 16th and 17th Avenues South (called Music Square East and Music Square West) and several other side streets. What kinds of businesses are located there? Record label offices, publishing houses, music licensing firms, recording studios, video production studios, and even a couple of radio stations. 

If you're in a car driving through the area and you drive to the place where Demonbreun Street, Division Street, 16th Avenue South, and Music Square East converge, you'll be shocked to find a Roundabout. You read that right. A Roundabout. In Nashville. 

There's a tiny park inside the Roundabout. It features a large statue called "Musica" which depicts nude dancers. The statue Musica was created by the same artist who did the Athena statue in Nashville's Centennial Park replica of the Parthenon (Vanderbilt grad Alan LeQuire). On his website, LeQuire says, "Dance is the physical expression of music....The theme of the sculpture is music, because of the historical and economic significance of the site."

Still, IMHO, those classical looking nudes look a little strange there in that locale. As a matter of fact, there was a bit of a controversty when the statue was unveiled a few years ago. A fundamentalist church group and a parents group raised a little Hell about the naked statues and their exposed genitalia. Now, I don't have an problems with nudity (in bronze or in the flesh), but I do think the statue is incongruous. 

It's a public work of art and as the artist says, it's supposed to say something about the Music Row area and it's economic and historical significance to the city. But this statue doesn't do that. Its classical allusion to the Muses of mythology seems, to use musical terms, cacophonous in that location and off pitch in terms of purpose. These classical nude Muses are esthetically jarring and I don't mean that in some sort of avant garde good way. The whole thing just looks bizarre. Le Quire should have taken a look at Thomas Hart Benton's painting "The Sources of Country Music." Benton's painting hangs in the Country Music Hall of Fame; the preceding link will show you the painting and present an analysis of the five sources of the music that are depicted.

And here's one more personal take on Le Quire's Musica thing. The elites in this town have always had a chip on their shoulder about country music. Most of them will tell you they despise the twangy stuff, that it makes Nashville sound and look like a hick town. At the same time, they like the fame and publicity and the tourist dollars the music brings in. So, the fact that they came up with a statue like that doesn't surprise me at all. They wanted to get in on the action and stick it to the yokel fans of the music at the same time.
Just to the West of the Roundabout is Owen Bradley Park, another very small park dedicated to notable songwriter, performer, and publisher Owen Bradley. 

Within the park is a life-size statue of Bradley behind a piano. This statue actually does what the other statue was probably supposed to do.

I didn't intend to get into a long discussion of pubic public art here, but you sometimes have to go where the BlogMuse leads you! Getting back to the real 16th Avenue. I think I've mentioned that I've been working on a mystery novel called Blood Country. There's a passage in the novel that was inspired by a couple of songwriters I've known and by Dalton's song. 

The narrator is Joe Rose, a Nashville sideman guitarist whose day job is as a private investigator (what else!). He's come to Great Axe studio on 16th Avenue to meet with his client, superstar guitarist/producer Vern Hamlin.
When I pushed through the glass doors, I saw five or six would-be songwriters and           performers seated in the lobby clutching demo tapes and guitar cases, waiting for a chance to pitch a song to Vern Hamlin. They were also waiting for their big break. Most of them   would probably be waiting forever. I knew about that agony first hand since I'd waited too long on that dream myself. The hope in the air was palpable; you could feel it, smell it.       Too much hope like that, confined in so small a space, cloys my spirit.                                

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Could Be the Rain

We're blue today at the old Post. Feels like we just crashed after a 70 year high. Could be the rain, or the season, or a thousand other things.

But there is balm in Gilead. Some guitarist stumbles on a melody, a lyricist finds "some golden words" that give voice to emotion, and a singer with a voice like a shot of Jack Daniels lays them out there. And we all feel a little better. Or, at least we think we do. "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad."

There are many creeks and branches and streams that flow into the big river of country music. One of those tributaries is church hymns, gospel songs, or sacred numbers, as Lester Flatt used to call them.

This one, "Lead Me Home," written by Randy Houser and Craig Monday, is one of those rare songs that like theatrical tragedy causes a dual, seemingly paradoxical, reaction in the listener. The narrator speaks of his impending death with sadness, but it's fused with such a confidence/faith that all is not lost that it lifts him up, ennobles him in our judgment. Johnson's voice is right at home here, just the right amount of weariness and hope. And that piano. I'm six years old again. Sitting on a hard pew in the Round Lick Baptist Church.

"Lead Me Home."

Black Coffee: Lacy J. Dalton

Rain started in the night. Still coming down. At least it's finally warmed up a bit. Think I need a little Black Coffee to get the old synapses firing this morning.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Early 1960's Nashville Christmas Parade

Found this piece of film on the Utube. This bit of nostalgia from my hometown has to be "early" sixties, judging by the cars. I know where the person filming was standing: right at the spot where Broadway forks into 21st on the left and West End on the right. But, if you go the way the parade is going you and the majorettes will pass Union Station, Hume Fogg High School, and Fifth Avenue (where the Ryman is) and end up down on lower Broad where all the honky tonks are today. There were a few "beer joints" (as my Mom called them) down there then too, including Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. Nashville still has a parade but it's nowhere near as elaborate or long.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Morning Cold Update: Wind Chill -1

Latest Reported Weather Conditions
Observed at Nashville, Nashville International Airport, TN
Updated 7:15 AM CST MON DEC 13 2010

Mostly CloudyMostly Cloudy
Click here for
past hourly conditions
Wind:NW at 13 MPH
Wind Gusts:23 MPH
Barometer:30.06 in.
Wind Chill:-1°F

You Are My Flower

Our son was never much into country music, but he did like "You Are My Flower," a song which came down to us, I believe, from the Carter family. I like it too and just about wore out the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's vinyl album that we used to listen to --the first NGDB "Will The Circle Be Unbroken." I bought a CD of that one and the other two as well a few years ago and continue to play them all, but the first album and this song still get the most plays. The lyric is simple, as is the melody, but like a William Blake poem, both communicate with classic economy.

You are my flower 
That's blooming in the mountain so high
You are my flower
That's blooming there for me

When summertime is gone and snow begins to fall
You can sing this song and say to one and all
So wear a happy smile and life will be worthwhile
Forget the tears but don't forget to smile


I'd like to post a current picture here, but we have about 3 inches of snow on the ground, it's midnight, and 16 degrees when I last checked. So I'm just going with a couple of pics from my file. The first was made in February of this year, and the second one in June.

"When Summer's gone and snow begins to fall..."

"You are my flower..."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cold Weather Makes Nashville Feel Like a Hockey Town

Weather update: So far the snow hasn't made an appearance here in the Hollow, but the wind is howling and the temperature has dropped to 25. The weather guys are still calling for 2 inches today and tonight and bitter cold over the next three to four days.

That kind of weather makes Nashville feel a bit more like a hockey town. And who knows, the colder weather may be impacting the players favorably. Our rookie goalie, 6' 6," 205 pound Anders "The Beast" Lindback is from that giant socialist icebox known as Sweden, so this weather must seem just like home to him. 

To illustrate my point, The Beast "made 22 saves in his first NHL shutout, and Ryan Suter had a goal and an assist as the Nashville Predators beat the Florida Panthers 3-0 Saturday night. Nashville has won five of six and has earned at least one point in seven straight games. Florida's three-game winning streak was snapped."

Note to Buck: Thanks for pointing out to me the Preds recent successes. Especially the 3-2 victory on the road against your Western Conference leading Detroit Red Wings! 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Spell of Wicked Bad Weather

It's not technically winter yet, but folks around these parts are bracing for a major winter storm headed this way. Right now it's raining, has been since about 1:00 PM. As you can see from the weather report below, the rain continues into the night and then turns to snow after midnight.

Sunday's high will be 29 degrees Farenheit, with light snow continuing through the day. And take a look at Sunday night: the low will be 14 with the wind chill factor pushing it down to Zero, or 5 below. And then we get a 10 on Monday night.

Geez. I thought this was Tennessee. I wonder where Tennessee's least favorite son is now--that would be rich fat cat citizen Al G, formerly known as the Prophet of Warming. Doncha think he's probably sipping a tall boy, smoking one of those expensive ceegars, chatting up some new lady, and kicking back in his big California mansion?

This Afternoon
Hi: 55°
POP: 90%
Rain. Highs in the mid 50s. Temperatures falling into the mid 40s in the afternoon. South winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 90 percent.
Rain And SnowRain And Snow
Lo: 29° 
POP: 100%
Rain through the early morning. Snow after midnight. Snow accumulation less than 1 inch. Lows in the upper 20s. Southwest winds 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation near 100 percent.
Snow ShowersSnow Showers
Hi: 29°
POP: 90%
Snow showers. Breezy...Cold. Snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches. Highs in the upper 20s. West winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Chance of snow 90 percent. Wind chill values in the teens.
Sunday Night
Snow ShowersSnow Showers
Lo: 14° 
POP: 60%
Cloudy with snow showers likely. Breezy. Very cold. Additional snow accumulation up to 1 inch. Lows around 14. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Chance of snow 60 percent. Minimum wind chill values of zero to 5 below.
Mostly CloudyMostly Cloudy
Hi: 21°
Mostly cloudy in the morning then becoming partly sunny. Breezy...Cold. Highs in the lower 20s. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph.
Monday Night
Mostly ClearMostly Clear
Lo: 10° 
Mostly clear. Cold. Lows around 10. Highs in the mid 20s.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Our Christmas Tree, A Heartless Yellow Chick and Rupert the Redbird

Two items.

First our Christmas tree. Joyce loves to decorate and at Christmastime she goes into creative overdrive. I'll snap another shot in the daytime later, because it looks just as good in daylight. We do like the warm night time glow, though. It uplifts the spirit a bit. (Click on either pic for a bigger view.)

Second, there's a very frustrated redbird in our neighborhood. For the past 7-8 days, Rupert (let's call him that) has made an appearance at our window every morning. He sits in the large Euonymus bush/tree next to our kitchen window and looks longingly at the yellow glass chick in the window. It's clear there's some chemistry at work here because Rupert frequently hovers on the small window sill to see if he can get a response from this yellow ice maiden. Of course the heartless yellow chick is unmoved by his advances. Her bright yellow color and red comb are driving him crazy. We took several pics through the glass (thus the reflections) but this is the best we could get so far. If Rupert continues his campaign, we'll try again.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Popular Civil War Song: Lorena

Yes, the years do creep slowly by.

Key F








Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cowboy Logic

If you need a smile today, watch this Michael Martin Murphey video of his song "Cowboy Logic."

I've enjoyed Murphey's singing and his songs for many years. Here's some Wikipedia info on him:

Michael Martin Murphey (born March 14, 1945) is an American singer-songwriter. He is best known for writing and performing Western music as well as country and pop. Murphey has become a prominent musical voice for the Western horseman, rancher, and cowboy. A Western Music Association Hall of Fame inductee, Murphey has six gold albums, including Cowboy Songs, the first album of cowboy music to achieve gold status since the career of Marty Robbins. He has recorded the hit singles "Wildfire", "Carolina in the Pines", "What's Forever For", "A Long Line of Love", "What She Wants", "Don't Count the Rainy Days", and "Cowboy Logic". Murphey is also the author of New Mexico's state ballad, "The Land of Enchantment".
Michael Murphey's first big break came through his friend Michael Nesmith, who had become part of the popular television musical group, The Monkees. Nesmith asked Murphey to write them a song for the next Monkees album, and Murphey composed "What Am I Doing Hangin' Round." The album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, & Jones Ltd. sold over five million copies.[4]
 May 1975, "Wildfire" reached No. 1 on the Radio and Records charts, No. 3 on Billboard's Pop Chart, and No. 1 on all Adult Contemporary Charts, giving Murphey a new level of commercial success and exposure. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in July 1975.
In 1990, Murphey released the album Cowboy Songs — a project he'd been working on for several years. This was a pure labor of love, since no one had recorded an album of authentic cowboy songs in more than twenty years. The album contained Murphey's versions of old cowboy songs from the public domain such as "Tumbling Tumbleweeds", "The Old Chisholm Trail", the beautiful "Spanish is the Loving Tongue", the classic "The Streets of Laredo", and his tip of the hat to Roy Rogers, "Happy Trails". The album also contained Murphey's own "Cowboy Logic".
Murphey played a major role in the resurrection of the cowboy song genre, recording and producing some of the most successful cowboy music of the past forty years. His album Cowboy Songs inspired a whole series of albums. For his accomplishments in the Western and Cowboy Music field, Murphey received five awards from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, formerly known as the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 7, 1941

I'm posting this tonight because I'll be busy most of the day tomorrow.

Things look pretty bleak right now. Because of the current administration's policies, North Korea is making threats, Iran will apparently have the upper hand in the coming "negotiations," and the economy is still in the tank.

Things looked a lot bleaker late in the day on December 7, 1941. But we pulled together, we created a vast army through conscription and volunteers, we built an enormous number of weapons, and we found the right military leadership. Within the short span of three and a half years, we subdued our enemies.

I hope we can do the same today.

From the website of artist Robert Taylor who painted the two works of art above:
There are few truly defining moments in the history of a State - single episodes that touch every citizen, and cast a nation's future. Epoch-making events that influence the entire world are even more uncommon. The events that took place in the space of less than two hours on the morning of December 7, 1941 were of such defining importance, their memory is now deeply embedded into the history of the Twentieth Century. At ten minutes to eight, as the US Pacific fleet lazily came awake suddenly, and without warning, the world around them exploded with all the mighty force of thunder: Within seconds Pearl Harbor became cloaked with attacking Japanese aircraft. Before sailors could comprehend what was happening, bombs and torpedoes had ripped out the heart of the fleet: Four of eight battleships were sunk; a dozen more naval vessels lay stricken in the water; 2400 souls perished.
Here are his comments on the second painting depicting the two USAAF P-40's that managed to get airborne on that fateful day:
The very first air combat fought by American pilots following the surprise attack upon Pearl Harbor. In less than one hour America struck back in a war that was to end in total victory. As the assault mounted on the Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, simultaneously the air base at Wheeler Field came under heavy attack. Two young USAAF pilots, Kenneth Taylor and George Walsh, quickly got their P-40 Tomahawks airborne. Winging southwards towards Ewa Field they ripped into a dozen or more enemy planes attacking the marine field. Diving into the formation they each downed 'Val' fighter-bombers. Robert Taylor's painting shows Ken Taylor in his P-40 tomahawk, with George Walsh in close company, bringing down his second enemy aircraft on December 7, 1941, an Aichi D-3Al ' Val' dive-bomber. In the background palls of smoke rise from Hangar 6 housing the naval float planes, and the up-turned battleship Oaklahoma.
Note: The United States Army Air Corps used the name Warhawk for this fighter; the Brits and the Russkies called it the Tomahawk.

If you have time, visit his website via the link above and see more of his excellent air art. If you have the money, buy some prints or originals.

Ralph Stanley: I'm Going Home, It's Christmas Time

Ralph Stanley is one of our favorites way back here in Allen Hollow. We loved him and his music long before "O Brother." Of course, we liked his work on "O Brother" too. Here's what Wikipedia says about how he and his brother Carter started their career:

"After initially considering a course in 'veterinary,' he decided to throw in with his older guitar-playing brother, Carter, and form the Clinch Mountain Boys, in 1946. Drawing heavily on the musical traditions of the area, which included the unique minor-key singing style of the Primitive Baptist Universalist church and the sweet down-home family harmonies of the Carter Family, the Stanleys began playing on local radio stations."

From his 1994 album, "Christmas Time with Ralph Stanley," here's "I'm Going Home, It's Christmas Time."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Titans Last Chance

After their humiliating loss to Houston last week, I thought the Titans' season was over. But not quite. First, the perennial division winner, the P. Manning led Indianapolis Colts, are having a bad year.

Second, the Titans have five games remaining. They play Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Houston, Kansas City, and then Indy again. And right now, Jacksonville is in first place in the AFC South; their overall record is 6-5 and in the conference they are 5-3 (2-1 division) . Indy is in second place with a 6-5 overall and 4-4 conference record (1-2 division). The Titans are third at 5-6 overall and 2-5 conference (1-1 division). Houston is on the bottom at 5-7 and 4-4 conference (2-2 division).

So the Titans are still in it. If they can win today.

Positive: They beat Jacksonville 30-3 earlier this year with Kerry Collins at Quarterback. With Vince Young out for the season (and taking drama lessons in L. A.), Collins is probably going to start today.

Negative: They've lost 4 in a row.

As a Cubs fan, I'm always optimistic. I say they'll win today and keep their playoff hopes alive.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

First Song of the Season

Originally considered a country song and recorded by Ernest Tubb in 1948, "Blue Christmas" was written by Billy Hayes and Jay Johnson.

I first remember hearing Elvis' 1957 version just before the Christmas break back in 1958. It's very distinct in my mind. As far as I can remember, it's the first time I'd ever heard the song, or, at least, it was the first time I'd really listened to it. I was living in the dorm at Martin College and had already had my first date with Joyce in November at the Fall Dance right before Thanksgiving. We had talked several times in the Student Union or cafeteria since the dance and had seen each other regularly in German class. Although I had no car and almost no money, I thought I knew where I wanted our relationship to go. But things were moving slowly. They did in those days. Especially with PK's (preacher's kids). And there were rivals. One or two smart guys hung around her like sychophants to Cleopatra. And a basketball player from Indiana who had one of those Kirk Douglas chins. The Christmas break wasn't coming at a good time.

It was about 2:30 PM on a Friday and I had a ride to Nashville lined up with an older student, a fellow in his forties named Coke. Most of the other guys in the dorm had already left for home for the  Christmas holidays, and the second floor was almost empty. Mr. Coke (I addressed him as Mr.; if you were raised in the South during that time you know why) would be picking me up around 3 PM, so I'd showered and was putting on my clothes while listening to the radio. The small town DJ intoduced the holiday song by Elvis and I lay down on the bed and listened.

The lyrics hit me right between the eyes. It really would be a blue Christmas. She would be in a little town near the Tennessee/Alabama line and I would be in Nashville. A hundred miles in those days might as well have been a thousand.


Elvis Presley lyrics - Blue Christmas lyrics

I've probably heard "Blue Christmas" over a hundred times now, but every time I hear the song, I still remember that first time I heard it and get "a knot in my throat," as my Mom used to say. It's funny how music can do that, even a simple rock/pop song by a long gone pop icon like Elvis.

This version of "Blue Christmas" is from Elvis' comeback TV special in 1968.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Humpday Grumbles and Rambles

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of this zombie crap. People have put zombies in everything from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice to a bigoted tv show set in the state of Georgia. If this is what passes for creativity today, we're in bad shape.

And while I'm on this esthetic tangent, I can't stand all that Vampire crapola either. These "artists" who make this stuff up and the actors who portray their idiotic characters are all a bunch of whiny CGI dependent losers.

All of this stuff should be scraped up into a big pile somewhere in Arkansas and set on fire. The US would be a lot better off without it.

Moving on.

There's this Popularity Poll that our fair city of Nashville did pretty well on. The Harris Interactive poll group asked this question to a whole bunch of people:

"If you could live in or near any city in the country except the one you live in or nearest to now, which city would you choose?" Click the link to see their findings.  Even though Nashville made the list, I don't find the company we keep on the list very appealing. NYC is #1; does anyone really want to live there anymore?

Apparently so. Also, there are three cities from California, including LA and San Francisco. Ugh. And the capper is that Atlanta is on the list; they're actually tied with Nashville at #7. Geez. Have the people who voted for this awful place ever been to Atlanta?

Forget the Mayans and their end of time predictions, Nashville is one of eight cities where billboards are up proclaiming that Jesus is coming again, this time on May 21, 2011. The founder of Family Radio, Harold Camping, has made the prediction based on a verse in Luke 17. BTW, for those of you born after 1970, Luke is a book in the New Testament of the Bible.

History is filled with others who have made similar prophecies, such as William Miller. Wikipedia says Miller "first predicted the Second Advent of Jesus Christ would occur before March 21, 1844. When this date passed a new date was predicted, April 18, 1844. Again the date passed and another Millerite, Samuel S. Snow, found a way to extend the date to October 22, 1844. The un-fulfillment of these predictions has been named the Great Disappointment." Another fellow, Charles Taze Russell, the first president of the Watchtower Society, predicted Christ's return in 1874.

As some of you may remember, our state song "The Tennessee Waltz" took on new meaning some time ago. It was the name given to an FBI sting targeting state legislators. Two of those convicted in the case and now serving time, Roscoe Dixon and John Ford, are in the news again. Both men are working with their lawyers to get an early release date. The FBI sting was revealed back in 2005 and resulted in several indictments.

As you probably expected, this last bit was just an excuse to post a ViewTube of the real Tennessee Waltz. This is the Bonnie Raitt and Norah Jones version; Raitt does a nice slide on this and Jones, as always, has mucho soul.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Blue Monday

"Monday is a mess." "Was it worth it for the times I had?" Long before there was Cyber Monday, there was this. Keep rockin' Fats.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Buick Hotrods for Hotrod Hearts

Hotrod and Buick? In the same sentence? I know. Because of Buick's stodgy, "Old Folks" car image, it's almost an oxymoron. But take a gander at these pics, my friend, and see if you don't agree that there is such a thing as a Buick Hotrod.

The first Buick beauty is a 56 with a custom 58 grille. Being a child of the 50's (actually I was a teen then), I do love my chrome, and the 58 Buick grille laid on some serious amounts of the shiny stuff!

This looks like a chopped 51 fast back to me. Heavy chrome teeth! Sweet.

And the obligatory Buick load of chicks. A yellow 53 (Special? Super?) with its portholes shaved away.

Next, a hopped up Buick Nailhead V8 powering a big open rod. Wiki says,"Buicks first generation of V8 lasted from 1953 through 1956. It was an OHV/pushrod engine like the then new Oldsmobile 'Rocket V8' engine. This engine became known as the 'Nailhead' for the unusual vertical position of its small-sized valves—which looked like nails."

And if you listen to John Fogarty's "Hotrod Heart" carefully, you'll hear that he's singing about a Buick. Hearing a song like this makes you forget about all those "Bad Moon Risings." The beat and rhythm and lyrics make me want to pop the top on the Jag and hit the road. The sun's okay today, but it's a bit cool for drophead motoring.

Hey, there's one more custom Buick after the song. Don't miss this beauty.

Take a long look at a senusous custom car built in the late 40's by a mechanical engineer named Norman Timbs and featured in Motor Trend and Popular Mechanics magazines at the time. It has an aluminum body and a straight 8 Buick engine. This Buick, which was recently found and restored to its original condition, has been called a Muse to those who love cars. I can see why.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Recently Viewed DVD's: No Way Out and The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes

No Way Out


106 minutes

Netflix Summary: When rabid bigot Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark) and his brother Johnny (Dick Paxton) are admitted with gunshot wounds to the county hospital's prison ward, they balk at being treated by black physician Luther Brooks (Sidney Poitier, in his film debut). But the racial tension only escalates after the doctor performs a procedure meant to save Johnny's life -- and he dies on the operating table. The lead doctor at the hospital is portrayed by Stephen McNally and the supporting cast includes Linda Darnell.

My comment: A powerful movie made long before the sinister concept of Political Correctness turned most movies and novels into squishy soft pablum, No Way Out tackles all of the issues related to race at that volatile time and which still plague American society. So many people have been called racist and so many events given that hideous label, especially in the last decade (thanks to the race baiters), that many people (black and white) today don't really know what the term means any more. Viewing this DVD will remind you of what real racism is and, in comparison, also put the lie to many such claims made today. The great Richard Widmark gives a superbly vicious, and uncompromising performance as the ugly bigot; Linda Darnell is stunning as the doomed woman from the projects; and a very young Sidney Poitier is exceptional in his debut role. 5 stars *****
Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes

2001NR 3 discs

Netflix Summary: Behind the crime fiction of Sherlock Holmes, the young Arthur Conan Doyle (Charles Edwards) and Dr. Joseph Bell (Ian Richardson) formed the true sleuth alliance of mystery investigation.

My Comment: This British TV series with very high production values is based on the premise that Arthur Conan Doyle had a real life model for his famous Sherlock Holmes character: Dr. Joseph Bell. The episodes in this series are (from last episode to first):

– The White Knight Stratagem (2001)
– The Kingdom of Bones (2001)
– The Photographer's Chair (2001)
– The Patient's Eyes (2001)
– Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle, The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes (2000) Robert Laing plays Doyle in this, the first one; Charles Edwards takes over the role in the other 4 episodes.

The Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle: Dark Beginnings episode is one one disc (the first one you should view). The next two are grouped together on one disc, as are the last two. Three discs in all, and they should be viewed in order. Joyce and I really enjoyed this series. The late Ian Richardson is great as Dr. Bell, who serves as the model for Sherlock Holmes and as the mentor to Doyle; actors Robin Laing and Charles Edwards are more than up to the task as his apprentice and developing mystery writer. As noted earlier, the production values are excellent and the episodes all make for great viewing on a cold winter night. It was so good we wished there were more. Five stars. *****

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Obama Changes Black Friday

Not much politics lately for me, but I think I'm ready to jump back into the mud. I did quite a few faux news stories and satirical pieces in 2006-2007 on a blog on Blogstream. I think I'll try a few in upcoming posts. They'll always be preceded by the Super Faux News masthead. Wouldn't want to confuse anybody. Like the SFNN logo says: News so fake, you'll think it's real!

Super Faux News
and Political Satire
News so fake, you'll think it's real!
A Service of Super Faux News Network



by Senior Staff Writer William Balderdash

Washington, D. C. November 24, 2010 (SFNN). President Obama today issued a fiat making bold changes in the national sales day known as Black Friday.

This major change comes after a year long study conducted by a multi racial commission on the issue. The commission was headed by activist minister Al Sharpton; others on the commission included Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Prof. Henry Gates, and Barbara Streisand.

"After an extensive year long study by this commission, I'm changing Black Friday," said the President. "For far too long Aftican Americans have suffered from the racial bias built into the name of this holiday. That is changing. From this point on, the only people allowed on the streets or in the stores on Friday will be Aftican Americans. After this historic decree, the Friday after Thanksgiving will truly be Black Friday."

"Black Shoppers," the President continued, "will be able to purchase any and all items for 5% of the retail cost.  Other shoppers, including Hispanic, Asian, and white shoppers, will be allowed to make purchases on Saturday; store owners and corporations will be required by law adjust their prices upward to a maximum of 250% to compensate for their racial redistribution reduction on Friday. Black Shoppers should note that this decree includes Cadillac, Buick, and Chevrolet automobiles. Your government owns this company now, and your purchase of one of these fine motor cars will help build profitability."

In a side note, the President said Muslim American leaders had negotiated and secured a 10% purchase rate on Black Friday also. "Since 9/11 our Muslim brothers have endured unspeakable discrimination and bias; our agreement will help restore some modicum of justice to our current unpleasant capitalistic system that someday soon will be replaced."

"This Black Friday thing is a brilliant move," said former DNC chair Howard Dean. "It will ensure his reelection in 2012. Nothing like a good giveaway to bring out the base."

GOP leaders, however, think otherwise. Karl Rove, former Bush advisor, calls the Black Friday change "reparations in disguise." Radio conservative Rush Limbaugh wasn't so discrete: "This abomination is another crapload of socialism/communism by Commisar Hussein."

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Black, White, and Blues

I became a teenager in 1953. That year and on through high school in 58, I listened most every night to 50,000 watt WLAC radio in Nashville. They had these 4 DJ's, "the 50,000 Watt Quartet," who played black R&B records everynight. I listened to all of them, Gene Nobles, Herman Grizzard, John R. (Richbourg), and Bill "Hoss" Allen, but I especially like Hoss because he played a lot of the stuff I liked. Especially Jimmy Reed.

Jimmy Reed was the first bluesman I ever heard and took notice of.

And the guitar line he plays on many of his songs, which is especially clear on "Baby What You Want Me To," is the first thing I learned on the guitar. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very good at all on the guitar, but I can still knock that one down.

One writer says that there's simply no sound in the blues as easily digestible, accessible, instantly recognizable, and as easy to play and sing as the music of Jimmy Reed. In my case, the operative word here is "accessible."

Most of the radio ads on the WLAC R&B shows were for products with a Black appeal. One I remember was Royal Crown Hair Dressing. It's still being produced, only now it's hyped as the "Legendary R&B Pomade," probably because of its association with those old radio shows on WLAC. My high school friend Jimmy D and I used to cat around in his powder blue 53 chevy Bel Air convertible singing the ditty they used. We even improvised a few other lyrics that implied other uses for the pomade.

Hoss Allen, who was from Gallatin, TN, was raised by his grandparents and a black woman who worked for them. The black woman took young Allen to church with her every Sunday. He also had as playmates several black kids from her community; this eventually led to his love affair with black gospel and R&B.

When he retired in 1993, Allen said, "We also initiated a new sound to white kids who probably never would have heard it if it had not been for the power of WLAC."

Yeah. Blues. Emanating from Nashville. The birthplace of country music. So, there's more than one reason our town is called "Music City."

But back to Jimmy Reed and the Blues. The following passages about Reed are from the site:

*Blues music has had its individualists--performers with powerful, poetic feeling, tremendous instrumental virtuosity, or a unique sound. But the tradition has also had its Everymen and Everywomen, and one of these was Jimmy Reed, the most popular Chicago blues performer of the 1950s and early 1960s. Reed had a guitar technique that rarely varied, and his vocals were relaxed to the point where hearers couldn't always understand the words he sang. Yet Reed found a groove and stuck to it, creating a sound that any blues fan could identify after hearing only a few seconds of his music. That sound, moreover, influenced nearly every rock music ensemble that had a blues element in its style. Reed's music distilled the essence of the blues.

*Reed was a major player in the field of electric blues, as opposed to the more acoustic-based sound of many of his contemporaries. His lazy, slack-jawed singing, piercing harmonica and hypnotic guitar patterns were one of the blues' most easily identifiable sounds in the 1950s and 1960s.

*Reed placed 18 singles in the Billboard rhythm-and-blues chart between 1955 and 1961, more than any other musician. Well in advance of the 1960s blues revival, Reed's records crossed over to white audiences, and 12 of his records made the pop charts. His single biggest hit was "Bright Lights, Big City" in 1961, but several other Reed releases became blues standards almost from their dates of release. "Big Boss Man," "Baby, What You Want Me to Do," and "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby" were universally known among blues listeners and fans, as well as among the white rock bands who began to emulate Chicago blues in the 1960s.

Reed's "Baby What You Want Me To."

And "Big Boss Man." The sentiment in this song is something almost all of us have felt at one time or another.