The Cumberland Post

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

Monday, May 31, 2010

If Ye Break Faith With Us Who Die...

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Lunch: Link Soup

It's Link Soup for lunch today. Enjoy good reads at Right Klik, Barry the Barbarian, Conservative Lady, Andy'splace, and Exile in Portales

Right Klik has an uplifting post about an ordinary businessman who's decided to run for senate from Wisconsin. His name is Ron Johnson and the Tea Party member calls what's happened under the Obama administration "jaw dropping." Rather than bitch and moan about it, Mr. Johnson is putting his own fortune on the line and running for Senate. A Rasmussen poll shows him dead even with the incumbent, Russ Feingold.

Barry the Barbarian has a great snippet of satire from Op-toons Review: "White House Seeks Crisis with More Intellectual Depth." Barry also has a story to make those of us without the bodies of advertising models feel a bit better. Seems us ordinary people are just as sexy as the guys in the ads that show off their six pack abs or the super thin female models who strut around like coat hangers in their designer clothes.  Also, don't miss his essay with pics of Weird and Wonderful Buildings.

The Conservative Lady's spot is always an interesting place to visit. On my stop by there last night I saw this latest ad from Arizona Governor Brewer. It's fun, fun, funny.

Stop in at Andy's Place for a fun read on what it's like growing up without all the stuff these young whippersnappers today take for granted.

For all you Harley lovers and fantasizers out there, pay a visit to Buck's Exile in Portales blog for an "honest" ad about the great American Motorcycle. It's Totally Bad-Ass.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Asimov and the BP Gulf Oil Disaster

An article this morning in The American Thinker by Henry P. Wickham, Jr. concerning who is responsible for the BP oil disaster in the Gulf got me thinking about Isaac Asimov.

First, here's what Wickham says in his article, "Environmentalists with Oil on Their Hands."
When evaluating in an honest way all factors that contributed to the current pollution of the Gulf, we must ask why BP was drilling in 5,000 feet of ocean when there are so many other accessible and safe alternatives. There are large deposits of oil shale in Western Colorado that could easily and safely be extracted as it is now in Western Canada. We have all heard of the huge deposits of oil in ANWR, on Alaska's North Shore. Because of improved drilling technology, all available oil in ANWR can be extracted by using only 2,000 of its roughly 19,000,000 acres.

BP now drills in 5,000 feet of ocean because these better alternatives have been foreclosed to the oil industry. Environmental groups have effectively stymied this safe and relatively easy production of oil in the name of some higher but more nebulous good. Where they once rationalized their campaign against oil companies based upon the threat of environmental degradation, environmental groups now use the increasingly dubious claims of global warming to justify their obstruction.

Read Wickham's complete article. The environmentalists are as guilty as any other group in this disaster. Maybe guiltier.

Now, what does Isaac Asimov have to do with this disaster? Well, IMHO, if the people who are directly involved in this disaster-- BP, the Federal Government, and the Environmental groups--had read Asmiov, this disaster could possibly have been avoided.

The famous author, who died in 1992, was best known as a Science Fiction writer but he wrote other things as well. As a matter of fact, according to Wiki, the prolific Asimov's bibliography includes some 515 items including titles, charts, and collected editions. He was a life long Democrat but it should be noted that he frequently took issue with many activists because of their "irrationality."

Asimov frequently devised logical "Laws" for his stories and other writings that explained in simple terms the complexities of some intricate process. You've heard of his "Three Laws of Robotics" from his famous novel, I, Robot.

Have you heard of his other three laws? They are called the  "Three Laws of Futurics." Asimov said he used these laws many times in thinking through a Science Fiction story. In a sense, they helped him predict the future. Here are Asimov's Three Laws of Futurics as quoted in an essay by John Addington Symonds:
(1) recognize that what is happening will likely continue to happen,
(2) seriously consider the obvious, for few people ever do, and
(3) consider the logical consequences of current practices.
Asimov's Three Laws of Futurics sound simple and clear. And in application they are simple and clear. And they work, even if you're not writing a science fiction story.

If some forty years ago the Sierra Club and other environmental activist groups had recognized that "what is happening will likely continue to happen," that oil and energy companies were going to continue to search for and drill for oil (no matter where or how deep in the ocean their search takes them!), they might have had second thoughts about their decades long crusade to stop oil companies from drilling and refining in the US.

If some forty years ago, the Sierra Club and other environmental activist groups had "considered the obvious," they would have realized the obvious: that banning drilling in the U.S. and on its shoreline would not stop energy companies from drilling elsewhere, even in far riskier environments.

If some forty years ago, the Sierra Club and other environmental activist groups had taken the time to "consider the logical consequences" of their own actions, they could have forseen that disastrous accidents were much likelier to happen in those riskier environments, the same riskier environments that their protests had forced the energy companies to work in. It's a lot easier to cap a well on dry land or in shallow water than it is at 5000 feet beneath the ocean.

Now some groups are calling for the government to "Seize BP" and use their assets to compensate those who've been damaged by the oil spill. The face of the protester in the pic to the right is, I think, the very face of rationality.

I think she must have thought through all the ramifications and society altering consequences of her ridiculous proposal. I imagine you could really have a rational and logical debate with her.

Do you think she knows that some of that oil is on her hands and the hands of others like her? Do you think she knows that she's partly responsible for the deaths of thousands of fish and other sea creatures? Do you think she's aware that she contributed greatly to the economic hardship about to be pressed on business owners and their employees in the Gulf?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Free Enterprise vs. Government Control

From the Washington Post
"America's new culture war: Free enterprise vs. government control"

By Arthur C. Brooks

This is a long article. But read it if you can.
This is not the culture war of the 1990s. It is not a fight over guns, gays or abortion. Those old battles have been eclipsed by a new struggle between two competing visions of the country's future. In one, America will continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise -- limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution. These visions are not reconcilable. We must choose. [italics mine]

Jerry Byrd: Beautiful Kahana

When I was in grad school in 1966-67, Joyce and I lived on Aster Drive in Nashville. Across the street and down a couple of houses lived a Nashville musician and his wife. His name was Jerry Byrd and played steel guitar. He was in his mid forties at that time and had already made a name for himself in Nashville. But he obviously hadn't made a fortune. He played with everyone from Hank Williams to Chet Atkins in the 40's and 50's. By the 60's he was continuing his side work for studios and appearing regularly on the Opry. Although we saw him in the yard sometimes, we never met him. But we did see him on local tv on the Bobby Lord afternoon show.

According to one of his fan club sites, the pedal steel guitar was the new rage in Nashville at the time and Jerry refused to play it. He stuck with his Rickenbacher Bakelite lap top steel guitar and the Volu-tone Amp. That and other frustrations eventually led him to move to Hawaii where he enjoyed a great career until his death in 2005. His fans remember him as the Master of Touch and Tone.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The War Is Back On: Black Dog

Buck has some good stuff going on his blog. He's posting some songs he loves to hate and today he posted a song that he suggested would be a good song to play to get a lady in the mood.

In a comment I wondered exactly what kind of mood and mentioned a simple song by Led Zepplin. "Black Dog." I'm posting it here now. The nature of this song and Jimmy Page's aggressive guitar work mean the War is back on. Sorry Andy. Hey, with this song, it's got to be a War.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sailin' Along

The Guitar Wars have ended in a truce and the Show may have closed, but I still got time for some string music.

This is one I know Ed will like and I think both Buck and Andy will enjoy as well. There's something about Brother Oswald's rendition of this song (on the original Nitty Gritty "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" album) that really gets me. Back about ten years ago I had a loop cassette made of this that I played over and over as I drove to work in the old Dakota pickup. It's a mixture of sadness and hope. Bashful Brother Oswald...

Sisyphus Monday

We're working outside today, trying to "make hay while the sun shines." It's rained so much lately that we're behind on several things we started earlier and had to stop working on. Joyce is staining and I'm moving paving stones for a walk. Both tasks remind me of old Sisyphus, who is doomed to repeat the same task eternally. After a few years the stain will fade and the stones will have to be moved somewhere else.  Work is never done.

But, in my experience, work is good. And I don't care what the Sisyphean pessimists say, progress is made. Said progress has to be and is, in fact, slow.

In politics ironically, the problem is with the "progressives" or whatever Marxist euphemism they're using this year.

You see, in my opinon, the slow steady progress that we tortoise conservatives help the country make is constantly side tracked by the lib progressives' grand sounding utopian programs that always lead to terrible consequences.

Anyway, just a couple of quickie posts today and that's it. I'm back outside, working.

Herbert Spencer vs. Elena Kagan

Barry the Barbarian at Born Again Redneck, recently did a great post on Herbert Spencer.
I liked it so much I borrowed a couple of things I'm going to use over the next few days.

First, from Wikipedia  Herbert Spencer (27 April 1820 – 8 December 1903) was an English philosopher, prominent classical liberal political theorist, and sociological theorist of the Victorian era. Spencer developed an all-embracing conception of evolution as the progressive development of the physical world, biological organisms, the human mind, and human culture and societies. As a polymath, he contributed to a wide range of subjects, including ethics, religion, anthropology, economics, political theory, philosophy, biology, sociology, and psychology. During his lifetime he achieved tremendous authority, mainly in English-speaking academia. In 1902 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.[1] Indeed, in the United Kingdom and the United States at "one time Spencer's disciples had not blushed to compare him with Aristotle!" He is best known for coining the concept "survival of the fittest," which he did in Principles of Biology (1864), after reading Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species.

Today's quotation from Spencer is: "All socialism involves slavery."

Think about the above quotation in light of a post from Right Klik in which he examines Elena Kagan's college thesis, the subject of which is American socialism. Here's a direct quotation from that thesis via Right Klik:

Why, in a society by no means perfect, has a radical party never attained the status of a major political force?...Through its own internal feuding, then, the [Socialist Party] exhausted itself forever and further reduced labor radicalism in New York to the position of marginality and insignificance from which it has never recovered. The story is a sad but also a chastening one for those who, more than half a century after socialism's decline, still wish to change America [italics mine]. Radicals have often succumbed to the devastating bane of sectarianism; it is easier, after all, to fight one's fellows than it is to battle an entrenched and powerful foe. Yet if the history of Local New York shows anything, it is that American radicals cannot afford to become their own worst enemies. In unity lies their only hope [italics mine].

RightKlik goes on to brilliantly show what would happen if you took Kagan's quotation and changed the leftist radicals she's talking about to the KKK. The Media would be on such a story 24 hours every day until her name were withdrawn.

Note Kagan's words that I have italicized, especially her last words: "In unity lies their only hope." Also note the s--- eating grin on her face as she stands next to her boss to be in this photo:

Talk about unity. Geez.

Take a look at RK's site to see the rest of his great post on Kagan. And remember what Spencer said nearly a century and a half ago, "all socialism involves slavery."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Show: Redbone

"Some of these Days" by you know who...The king of cool...

It looks so easy when he does what he does with the guitar...Makes me melancholy, baby.

Why Write? Dylan Thomas' "In My Craft or Sullen Art"

In 2002, Kristian Gravenor wrote a piece comemorating Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' visit to Montreal in 1952. In it Gravenor describes Thomas at the time as a famous "37-year-old pudgy, rumpled, neurotic, impudent, threadbare, alcoholic, perpetually broke, deeply troubled, rude-limerick-telling, charming and flamboyant poet." The photo at left shows Dylan as a young man, before both dissipation and his trips to America ruined him. Gravenor says, "Although established as one of the greatest all-time English language poets...Thomas was neurotic and self-doubting beyond limit. While shy and inward, the curly-haired drunk was also a strutting showman; sensitive and romantic, Thomas could also be a loudmouthed lout."

Thomas married his fiery wife Caitlin in 1937. According to the BBC, "Dylan was drawn to Caitlin's experience and wild abandon; she to his literary talent. But their marriage was to become strained by lack of money, and was tainted by infidelity on both sides....Both Dylan and Caitlin had affairs throughout their marriage, and each resented the other's while excusing their own behaviour."

Thomas had very little financial ability and although he made three trips to America for the purpose of making money from speaking tours, he blew the cash on drunken binges before he returned. He loved the parties thrown in his honor and enjoyed being treated as a poet celebrity.

The BBC says:
His outrageous behaviour at these events suggests he was eager to prove himself as a poet and was excessive due to nervousness. [On his final American tour in 1953,] Dylan got drunk and fractured his arm after falling down some stairs on his way to the theatre. There, he was thrown out of a performance of The Crucible for causing a disturbance during the play. During a recording session soon after, fellow performers were alarmed by his bloated appearance and inability to read lines from a script.

The photo above is of a bloated Thomas near the end of his life. The BBC continues:
On Tuesday 3 November [1953] he spent most of the day in bed, drinking beer and whiskey in the company of friends. Later on he went out to keep two drinks appointments, but returned to the Chelsea in the mid-evening where he apparently had a breakdown. At two o'clock the following morning he left the hotel for an hour and a half, stating he needed a drink. On his return he uttered the words to [his female companion Elizabeth] Reitell which have become part of the Dylan Thomas legend: "I've had 18 straight whiskies. I think that's the record".
He died six days later on November 9, 1953.

Eighteen straight whiskies. Had to be an exaggeration, don't you think? Poets, artists, novelists... they all lie about themselves. I'm not sure why. Dylan sometimes told people he had cirrhosis of the liver. His autopsy, however, showed little sign of that illness Whatever kind of person he was, Thomas was a great poet, some say the greatest of the 20th century. Does his art excuse his loutish behavior? It's a question that makes me uncomfortable. I always think of the ones whose lives are the wreckage left in the wake of such an artist. If I were one of the children, I probably would have preferred a normal Dad. Not a superstar poet/drunken lout.

One of my favorite Dylan poems is this one, "In My Craft or Sullen Art." It's an explanation of why poets do what they do. Or is it? Perhaps it's also a lament that the ones he writes for, "the lovers" (that would be pretty much all of us wouldn't it?) pay no heed to what he does. Most of us bloggers aren't poets, but I think we can understand his writing predicament.

Here's a youtube of the poem which uses Thomas' actual voice. It is a very special voice. Dramatic. Almost musical in its subtle rhythms. No one else reads poetry like Dylan Thomas.

In my craft or sullen art

Exercised in the still night

When only the moon rages

And the lovers lie abed

With all their griefs in their arms,

I labour by singing light

Not for ambition or bread

Or the strut and trade of charms

On the ivory stages

But for the common wages

Of their most secret heart.

Not for the proud man apart

From the raging moon I write

On these spindrift pages

Nor for the towering dead

With their nightingales and psalms

But for the lovers, their arms

Round the griefs of the ages,

Who pay no praise or wages

Nor heed my craft or art.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cisco Calderon

Joining in on Andy's fun...This is definitely below the belt border.

C: Hey Pancho!
P: Hey Ceesco! Whachyu wanta?
C: Mount Loco quickly. We must ride South as quick as the wind!
P: But Ceesco, I habba headache.
C: You poor dear. We'll rest in AZ for the night.

Pic of Mohammered the Aztek

Here's my contribution to yesterday's draw Mohammered fun. It's not a drawing, it's a pic, and you kinda have to be a car guy to get this. I call this "Mohammered the Aztek."

If you don't get it, I'm sorry. It's not really that subtle.

Here's a quotation from Business Week to help:

The Aztek has been the poster-car for GM’s canny ability over the last decade to survey the marketplace, poll consumers, anticipate style trends and come up with something so wrong-headed as to make Sony’s commitment to Beta look like marketing genius. My sister-in-law once called me on the phone, having just picked up an Aztek from Avis, asking, “What the hell am I driving here? It looks like a giant grasshopper wrapped up in caution tape (it was a bad shade of yellow.) GM product boss Bob Lutz has quipped, “We’d fire the guy who greenlighted the Aztek if we could find anyone willing to admit it.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Draw Mohammered Links

Not being an artiste, but desirous of getting in on the fun, I'm going to direct my six regular readers to these two great entries in the Draw Mohammed contest: Andy, Paul.

And you can follow their links to other great drawings. Enjoy.

The Source Waters of the Mighty River of Modern Day Liberalism

I probably shouldn't do this. But it's my blog and I can cry if I want to. Actually, I'm not going to cry, I'm going to post something from Liberalstein, a self published satirical novel I wrote four years ago. It's that book over there in the left column. You can still buy it from iUniverse, but I'm not trying to hawk the book here. As a matter of fact, if you're a regular reader of my blog, I'll send you one free if you want it. I've got 4 or 5 extra copies of my own that are collecting dust. Just let me know by email where to send them.

Why post anything from the book now? Well, here's the deal. I'm no political prognosticator or anything, but a lot of what I wrote in 2006 has happened. Don't get me wrong. I made plenty of mistaken predictions. For example, I had the Hillary candidacy defused by offering her VP on the ticket. But I got a lot right too.

The book originated in my speculations about the kind of candidate this generation of Democrats would pick in 2008. Anyone who looked at the past history of this current crop of libDems (they got their first taste of power and came of age in the turbulent 60's and early 70's) would have easily been able to make the same prediction.

They wanted someone like Obama. Someone who was racially mixed in order to pull votes from all the various minority groups, someone who was a brilliant orator so he could mask his extreme socialist agenda and win the general election, and someone who would take full advantage of the suckup media once he began to implement that agenda.

I think many people also knew that such a candidate like Obama would turn out to be a disaster. An extreme liberal socialist monster.  Anyway, I took this speculation based on history, fictionalized it, and used the famous Mary Shelley Frankenstein story as a framework.

The main character in the book is a mad liberal scientist named Victor Liberalstein. He's hired by Howard Steam (yuk!) chair of the DNC to clone the perfect candidate so the Dems can capture the White House in 2008. Victor has been busy in lab for a few months trying to activate a clone and to give it the genetic makeup he knows will be the kind of candidate Steam and all Dems will love.

The scene is election night 2004. Victor has just learned that George W. Bash has been reelected for a second term. In this excerpt, you can see from his collection of memorabilia that Victor understands the libDem history perfectly. He knows what kind of candidate will make them happy. Extremely depressed because of the election results and his own lack of success thus far, he sends his midget assistant Albore, an earlier clone failure, to get a bottle of wine to help him forget his misery. Victor wanders into his lab.

As he waited on Albore to bring the wine, Victor walked slowly down the aisle between the lab’s ten top secret hyper-genesis tanks. The stainless steel containers with partial plexiglass lids each contained a single dummy clone which floated in a glowing green activation solution. He paused momentarily to examine the blank clone labeled X-1, which, like the others in the X series, was custom designed to accept multiple donor genes. Staring into the clone’s dead, lifeless pupils, Victor shook his head in dismay. Still no signs of elemental biological activity.

As a lightning flash illuminated the dimly lit lab, Victor glanced at the shelf above X-1. His keen eyes scanned the display case containing his esoteric collection of sixties and seventies liberal memorabilia. He smiled. Even in the worst times, looking at his collection always made him feel better. To him, the items represented the origin, the source waters of the mighty river of modern day liberalism. He switched on the small display lamp, removed the case lid and looked at his treasures – personal items from four liberal icons of the sixties and seventies.

 13 LSD laced brownies baked by Timothy Bleary in 1964
 12 vomit spattered ties owned by gay poet and pederasty supporter Allen Ginsbugger (worn while he delivered marijuana fueled howls to the Yippies at the 1968 Democratic convention)
 25 twisty hairs from the Afro of black activist Demona Davis in 1970 when she was a Communist and on the FBI’s most wanted list
 A locked, hand carved mahogany box containing Victor’s most coveted possession...

He turned the key on the box, slid open the top, and stared in awe at ten pairs of panties worn by Jane Fondue during her trip to Hanoi in 1972.

The sacred underwear was in varied colors: red, pink, black, green, white, silver. And Victor’s tests had later confirmed what the souvenir salesman had claimed – Ho Chi Minh’s DNA was on all the panties as well as Jane’s and Tom’s. Victor held up a single pair of the panties, a green bikini style confection. He sniffed the silk. After all these years, there was still a faint whiff of perfume.

As he carefully laid the panties back in the box, Victor rubbed his finger tips lightly over the silk. The pleasurable tactile sensation triggered his favorite fantasy, winging him all the way back to those golden days – that exciting and chaotic time at the dawning of Postmodern Liberalism, a wild time of uninhibited self indulgence and total rejection of all authority.

Woodstock. Free Love. Flower Power. Black Power. Dope Power. Sex Power. Student Power. The Viet Cong. 1972. Hanoi. Jane and Tom. He gave himself over now, losing himself in the dream. He was in a Russian airliner beside Jane, flying to visit the wartime enemies of the US. Tom for some unforseen reason had been unable to make the trip and Victor had been selected as his last minute replacement. As the plane touched down in Hanoi, Jane leaned into him to help with his seatbelt and he felt her hair on his face and smelled her perfume. “You’re replacing Tom,” she whispered huskily, “in matters sexual as well as political....”

A bolt of lightning and a loud crash of thunder startled Victor out of his reverie.

Okay. That's enough. What do you think? Am I right about those symbolic items I used to represent what Victor calls "the source waters of the might river of modern day liberalism? Here are those items stripped of their symbolism, straight up, no ice:

*radicalize the culture by legitimizing drugs, destigmatizing gays, etc.(Bleary, Ginsbugger),

*introduce identity politics portraying blacks and other minorities as victims of oppression (Davis),

*popularize socialist/marxist ideas among young Americans (Davis, Fondue),

*glamorize pro communist, anti-war and anti-American activities (Davis, Fondue).

By the way, can you guess what will happen to those memorabilia items positioned just over the hypergenesis tanks? 

A Dobro Virtuoso for the Show

First day of sunshine in a month of sundays, so we took advantage of it to catch up on some yard work. It's too late and I'm too tired to do much with this now, but I'll add to this copy throughout the day.

Right now, just listen to a true dobro virtuoso. I know, you don't usually hear the term "virtuoso" in the same sentence with the word "dobro." But with Jerry Douglas, the two words go together like beans and taters. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Important Video: Nashville Flood, May 1-3, 2010

Some have said that the Nashville Flood is the U.S.'s greatest non-hurricane disaster in history. Because of thin media coverage, many Americans are not aware of the devastation that occured or how Nashville's citizens have dealt with the disaster.

This morning, my friend Jeanne sent me a link to a youtube video about the flood, which I think is a must see. The video was posted by ExpressionsbyMisti and it gives the viewer a sense of what happened during and after the flood. The written commentary the video poster uses (not her own, but Patten Fuqua's) is excellent as well.

As always, comments are welcome.

Guitar Show: Christopher Parkening and David Brandon

I have an old vinyl of Christopher Parkening from the 80's. He's a ridiculously good guitarist in the classical mode. On this youtube he plays a duet of "Spanish Dance No. 1" with David Brandon. Are these guys in sync or what? Tight.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My First Car: 1941 Chevrolet Coupe, AKA the Monster

My first car, purchased for $50.00 cash in 1957, was a 1941 Chevrolet Coupe. Needless to say, it didn't look like the fine example in the photo. The 16 year old car's body was in fairly good shape with faded black paint but very little rust.  I found the car in the backyard of a neighbor of my high school friend, Doug. The grass was grown up around it and the motor would not run. But I had plans for this car. Big plans.

I had a job after school at Eagle Cleaners (no we didn't clean Eagles) and had saved a total of $90 over the previous six months. It seemed like a fortune in those days of $.28 cent gas. After the car's purchase, $40 remained most of which I used to buy a used, late 40's GMC truck engine at the junkyard. The car's engine had 217 cubic inches and produced around 80 horsepower. The truck engine was larger, 235 cubic inches with 90 horsepower. I imagined that the made over Chevy would be a hotrod.

My friend Bill Jenkins' father offered to let us use an old garage in back of their house for the work. Bill's father letting use that garage was a godsend, as my parents had no space and weren't too keen on the whole idea.

Bill, Wynn, and later George Jr. pitched in and we started work sometime in late October of 1957. We worked on it through Christmas and into February of 1958. We pulled the old Chevy motor and dropped in the larger GMC. That sounds a lot easier than it was. Bill wrote a note in my high school annual about it. Here are his exact words as he reminded me of the experience:
"'Hey man, watch out for that #!*%*+#! firewall' (puttin' the jimmy in the chevy). 'Be careful with that motor. Hurry up and let it down. The garage is falling down on top of us!"
I loved cars. But I was no mechanic. I liked to draw them and model them, but other than knowing a little of the hotrod lingo (two four barrels, three deuces, Isky cams, Hurst shifters, etc.), I knew nothing about actually doing what I was trying to do. I could do the grunt work but I had to have someone tell me what needed to be done. Luckily, Wynn, and later George Jr. handled that chore.

We labored on through that winter, scraping our knuckles and learning a new vocabulary of curse words, some of which we invented on the spot. At some point in the Fall, I bought a couple of cans of grey primer and brush painted the Chevy. That's me when it comes to cars. I've always liked style over substance. You'll see that tendency crop up in another later unfortunate car I bought. But, at the time, I saw lots of rods running around East Nashville in just a primer coat. It was the style Daddy-o. With it's new primer coat, the Chevy looked like it was ready to join the upper echelon of the hot rod ranks.

The main problem we encountered sometime in January was in trying to hook up the transmission to the engine. As Johnny Cash says in that famous "one piece at a time" tune about the Cadillac, we didn't have no adapter plate. My money was gone and my frustration was building. But fate intervened. Another guy at school, Gary, a hotrodder himself, heard about what I was doing. He said he'd trade cars with me if I could get the Chevy/Jimmy to run. That's when I called in George Junior who lived up the street from me. Junior said, "have no fear, I'll get the damn thing running."

If I remember correctly, George Junior's Dad had a stock car at the Nashville Speedway, and Junior had grown up around motors. He knew how they worked. He came over one weekend and within a day, we had the thing cranked up and running. Without an adapter plate, he had somehow managed to get the thing connected so that it was continuously in second gear. No low. No high. No reverse. With exhaust coming straight out of the manifold the thing sounded like a Monster.

We towed it over to Double Drive around midnight that night and tried it out. Gary came along to see if he wanted to complete the trade. He liked what he saw. Correction, liked what he heard. The people in the houses along that section of Double Drive didn't though. A couple came out on the porches and waved their finger at us. I forgot which finger. Figuring the cops were coming, we only made one run. But that was enough for Gary. He liked the Chevy/Jimmy Monster and the next weekend we traded cars.

Gary,  got the Monster and I got his 48 Chevy Fleetline Aerosedan. It was a damn good trade. Gary got the Monster running. He had the mechanical knowledge and the cash to make it what I'd planned to. I heard he raced it at the drags and did pretty well. As for my side of the trade, the Aero actually ran and I could drive it to school, to work, and use it for dates. I found out later that it had been Chevy's most popular model that year; over 210,000 were produced.

I'll tell more about it in another post at a later date. But here's a pic. Wrong colors though. Mine was solid black and had side pipes that came just in front of the rear wheels.

 (BTW, my friend Bill Jenkins, who was a DJ on a Nashville radio station in his last semester of high school went on to become a local TV personality in the 60's and 70's. I saw him once at Christmas during my first year in college. What we did for fun that night is a story in itself, which I'll maybe do a post about sometime. After that I didn't run into him much. But I heard about his successes. He even got in a movie once. I remember going to the big theater at Hundred Oaks Mall to see Altman's Nashville and at some point in the script a country music character arrives at the airport. There on the giant screen to interview the character was my old friend Bill. He had a part in an Altman movie. Cool. I lost track of him until a couple of years ago. I learned he had passed away. I'm really sorry I didn't get to reconnect with him. We had so much fun in those glory days.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Miscellany

It's been raining steady all day long. Flash flood warnings are out again for my county (Sumner) and Nashville/Davidson county as well. Looks like we've had 1-2 inches already and another 1-2 inches are expected tonight. Keeps this up, we may need to build an ark.

Some stories you just can't believe. The American Society for Muslim Advancement is building a giant mosque very close to Ground Zero in NYC. The mosque's planned opening: September 11, 2011!

Locally, people are hard at work cleaning up after the flood. Some people often wonder why Tennessee is called the Volunteer state. The moniker dates back to the War of 1812 when Andrew Jackson led a ragtag group of 2000 Tennessee volunteers who defeated the elite British Army at the Battle of New Orleans (the actual battle took place in 1815). "A generation later, the U. S. Secretary of War requested 2,800 infantrymen to fight a war against Mexico. Thirty thousand men volunteered."
These are examples of Tennesseeans who volunteered in wartime. But there are other kinds of TN Vols...From WKRN, this story, "1,200 volunteers jump start Hendersonville park clean-up."

"HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. - Drake's Creek Park was especially hard hit by the flood, with nearly all of the popular recreational area underwater.  Damage costs are expected to reach into the millions of dollars, but the city of Hendersonville got a jump start on the clean-up effort on Saturday, thanks to the help of volunteers. 'They did things that our maintenance crew wouldn't have been able to do for months,' said Parks and Recreation supervisor David LeMarbre, 'it would have been this time next year before we would have been in this shape.'"
From the Tennesseean, "CoreLogic, which sells information about flood risks to insurance companies, estimates that more than 60 percent of flood-damaged buildings along the main Cumberland River didn't have flood insurance."

Update: The Cubs won today, 4-3 over the Pirates. Finally. So I gotta give 'em a little love. How about some of the late Steve Goodman's "The Cubs Are Gonna Win Today."

Original Cubs Post:

The Chicago Cubs, who are stinking up the National League Central (they've lost 8 of the last 10), are now facing a new challenge. A group of fans is arguing that the team should move Spring Training from Mesa, Arizona, to Florida as a way of protesting Arizona's new law aimed at stopping an ILLEGAL immigrant crime tsunami.

Huh? Chicagoans meddling in another state's business? I can't believe it. Other than posting this video, I'm not even going to comment.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Del McCoury's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning"

Buck had a post a few days ago featuring a couple of songs written and performed by British folk rock singer Richard Thompson. One of these Thompson songs was "1952 Vincent Black Lightning."

This song, on a great CD by a different artist and given to me by my wife on my birthday several years ago, has become a favorite of mine. Although I'm not a motorcycle nut and have ridden them very little, I understand the appeal. (I'm thinking of motorcycle movies and TV shows now: The Wild One with Brando making a case for being a rebel while riding a Triumph, and Michael Parks' Then Came Bronson in which his pacifist character rides a Harley Sportster on his search for the meaning of Life.)

Thompson's song captures that appeal. Here's a pic of the special bike this song is about.

If you want more info on this legendary bike, talk to biker Buck whose current motorcycle is one he lovingly calls Ms. Zusuki (I think that's right--Buck, if I got her name wrong I apologize). You could also check out Dave Wade's blog. Dave has a video from Jay Leno's Garage where Leno talks about and rides a Black Shadow--a bike that looks like the Lightning (but was quite a bit faster I believe) and was also made by the Vincent Company.

Thompson wrote "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" in 1991 and it appeared on his album "Rumor and Sigh" (along with the other song Buck posted, "I Misunderstood") in that same year.

The following paragraph is what happens to me when I do research for a post. I get lost in all of the fun stuff I remember or run across as I go through the process. I go off on about a hundred tangents. Does anybody else have this problem? Anyway, Thompson's song is written in the form of a traditional ballad. Here's some information on the traditional ballad if you want to take time to read it.  When I taught a sophomore general education Poetry course we always read a ballad, and most of the time I could easily "sell" the assignment to the class by mentioning that ballads usually involved sex and murder. Heh. Teachers are probably worse than ad copywriters in terms of what they might use to arouse just a little bit of interest in a class. The ballads we read over the years were "Sir Patrick Spens," "Lord Randall," and the famous "Barbara Allen."

I sometimes tried to supplement things a bit by adding U.S. written ballads by American folksingers. I often used "Banks of the Ohio," and "Otto Wood," the latter written by Walter Smith of the Carolina Buddies. I think I had the Baez version of "Ohio" and I'm certain I used Doc Watson's version of "Otto Wood," which isn't available on youtube. This ballad is an example of the type that is based on a real person or event(s). The notorious bandit and killer Otto Wood is such an interesting a character, I may do another post about him later. His funeral drew 60,000 people according to the liner notes on Doc's album!

Now back to the ballad in question, Del McCoury's bluegrass take on Thompson's "1952 Vincent Black Lightning." Except for the bluegrass approach and one signicant word change (Box Hill is changed to Knoxville), McCoury left Thompson's song as it was written. Thompson apparently liked McCoury's take on the song since he makes a positive reference to it on his website. BTW, this youtube version includes another song which you don't necessarily have to listen to. I chose this take of "Black Lightning," however, because it's the best one available on youtube and is a professionally shot video of a live performance.

Like I said earlier, I get carried away in my research. I spent an hour last night looking at a site featuring traditional music. It's Gadaya and this guy is amazing. He's not a great singer, but he has a deep love of old traditional music (which you can tell from his performances and judge from the long list of old tunes he plays on his youtube channel) and he plays so many instruments (and plays them all very well). This one is for my friend Ed, who plays a mean banjo. This is a clawhammer style banjo rendition of "1952 Vincent Black Lightning." Strange, I know. But I like it.

The Great Guitar Show: Earl Klugh and George Benson with "Dreamin"

Both Andy and Buck have raised questions about the initial "war" metaphor we've been using in this series. I too am tiring of it. Not the guitar posts. The metaphor. I'm really enjoying the posts that we're all putting up and I'm learning about many new guitarists that I haven't heard of before. As Buck says, we're all winning. I'd like to keep this going awhile longer if everyone agrees. But suppose we change the metaphor.

In writing about baseball, reporters refer to the major leagues as "The Show." It's the supreme entertainment showcase for all the high level skills that each player possesses. Sure, there's competition, and it can be fierce, almost like war at times, but even the losing teams have players that exhibit tremendous skills worth watching. And in the history of baseball there have been many odd and unusual quirks as well, players that drew fans in for reasons not necessarily related to their skills. I'm thinking here of the midget (not PC I know) Eddie Gaedel who pinch hit for the St. Louis Browns in a major league game against the Detroit Tigers in 1951...
Browns owner Bill Veeck was a showman who enjoyed staging publicity stunts. He found Eddie Gaedel through a booking agency. Due to his size, Gaedel had worked as a riveter during World War II. Gaedel was able to crawl inside the wings of airplanes.
With Bob Cain on the mound - laughing at the absurdity that he actually had to pitch to Gaedel[7] - and catcher Bob Swift catching on his knees, Gaedel crouched with bat in hand. Veeck later wrote in his autobiography that he'd measured Gaedel's strike zone in this position before the appearance, and that it was just one and a half inches. The Tigers catcher offered his pitcher a piece of strategy: "Keep it low." Cain delivered four consecutive balls, all high (the first two pitches were legitimate attempts at strikes; the last two were half-speed tosses). Gaedel took his base (stopping twice during his trot to bow to the crowd) and was replaced by pinch-runner Jim Delsing. The 18,369 fans gave Gaedel a standing ovation.
I mention this story to support my contention that "The Great Guitar Show" would be a good name for our series. Andy's already thrown out a couple of surprises including a child prodigy on the guitar. So there's plenty of room for that kind of thing in our series.

Guitar playing isn't exactly a team sport, but the skilled and talented musicians who play this instrument are in the truest sense of the word putting on a tremendous Show. So, suppose we call this series The Great Guitar Show. And whenever you feel like it, post someone you think is at the major league level.  Like these two guys...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Guitar Wars: SRV and Jordan vs. Paul, Atkins, and Garland

My opponents in this war, Andy and Buck, have recently brought some powerful generals to the battlefield. To wit: Stevie Ray Vaughn and Stanley Jordan. I knew at some point SRV was coming. But Buck's unexpected and excellent song choice threw me completely off balance. And Andy's Stanley Jordan was a total shock. Jordan's relentless performance made me feel like Butch and Sundance when they keep saying "who are those guys?"

So, today, instead of a major offensive, I'm basically trying a holding action. I think it will take at least three major players to stop SRV and Jordan. Two of my guys have considerable name recognition outside the country field (Ford and Atkins). The other's rep is pretty much country only, but it is very strong. Can these three guys stop the advance of SRV and Jordan? You be the judge.

First, the internationally known Guitar Masters--Ford and Atkins...

And here's the "golden fingers" of Hank Garland on his famous "Sugarfoot Rag"...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy...

I read the news today, oh boy. And I wanted to board the "Dixie Clipper" and fly away somewhere.

Unfortunately these glamorous flying boats are all gone now. So, I'll just try a funny pic fix instead. Again, thanks to Big Ed, my "source" for these fabulous funnies.

This guy cured one problem but began another.


How men screw up romance...

And...Golf for beginners...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blackberry Winter

The blackberries are blooming in the fence row. It's been 20 degrees colder for the last few days. Thus, Blackberry Winter.

While taking the pic of the blackberries I also saw the honeysuckle beginning to bloom.

And some Irises. The Iris is the Tennessee state flower; although no color is specified, purple is the color usually identified. This one, given to us by a neighbor, is a mix of purple and white.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Happy Mom's Day.

My Mom's been gone now about 14 months. But she always liked a good laugh.

Here' s a few political cartoons that my friend Ed sent me; I think they'd definitely give Mom a chuckle.

What Do Retired People Do?

From my cousin Vicki,

Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting. Well, for example, the other day my wife and I went into town and went into a shop. We were only in there for about 5 minutes. When we came out, there was a cop writing out a parking ticket. We went up to him and said, "Come on man, how about giving a senior citizen a break?"

He ignored us and continued writing the ticket. I called him a turd. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires. So my wife called him a sh..-head. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes… The more we abused him, the more tickets he wrote... Personally, we didn't care. We came into town by bus and saw the car had an Obama sticker... We try to have a little fun each day now that we're retired... It's important at our age.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Cleaning Windows

After two days of raking some new dirt (and rocks!) and feeling like a "working man in my prime," I cleaned a couple of storm windows yesterday. The top part worked out okay, but bending over to take a swipe at the lowdown glass, my two herniated discs suddenly said "Whoa!" I felt a twinge, the dreaded spasm, and then turned into the crooked man (if you know what I mean).

I'm a little better today, but still fuzzy from one hydrocodone pill yesterday. Yeah, just one. I'm a wuss when it comes to medicine. So just this post today, maybe two or three later on if I feel up to it. I've found a John Hammond, John Lee Hooker jam which I might post as another salvo in the guitar war. For some funny, I've also got a few great cartoons my friend Ed sent me and a good Obama joke from my cousin Vicki.

In my hydro reverie, I remembered that old Van Morrison tune "Cleaning Windows." "What's my line, I'm out there cleaning windows, Take my time, I'll see you when my love grows..." Couldn't find Van's version, so here's a Saul Rayo substitute. Not too shabby either. This song makes me want to get up and boogie. And I ain't known for my boogie-ing. Later...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Guitar Wars: Not That "Bad Blake" Plus a Secret Weapon

The Guitar War has not gone as I planned. When I launched the Doc Watson preemptive strike a few days ago, there were plenty who advised against it. Now these softie liberal chickenshits are leading the protests against me, calling this war "Dapper Dan's Folly" and marching in the streets with placards that read "Where Are the WMD's?" and "Give Peace a Chance."

But there were WMD's. Any fool can see that. They were used against our Doc Watson on the very first day. Exhibit "A." If Andy's Roy Clark "Maleguena" isn't a WMD, then what is? Just look at the video of Clark and you'll see the ferocity and hatred on his face as he really cranks up that 12 string near the end.  That's right. I said 12 string. 12 to Doc's measley 6. War is war and Andy definitely means business. If you want further proof that our intelligence was good on the WMD's, I give you exhibit "B." Buck's massive retaliation took the form of a Leo Kottke 12 string with a bunker busting evil slide. And Buck didn't just use any old WMD in his arsenal, he whipped out Kottke's "Vaseline Machine Gun," a terror inducing weapon of the first magnitude.

Purely as a defensive measure, I resisted those counterstrikes with Doc Watson and Tony Rice cavalry charges. That stopped their onslaught momentarily. But today I go back on the offensive. Another flatpicker. And still only six strings. Even in war, there are some things we just won't do. But these six strings have what might be called stealth power. And this warrior's licks are so clean, you won't know you're dead until you are. This is the original Bad Blake. Not the one in the Jeff Bridges movie "Crazy Heart." I'm talking about Norman Blake.

You may have heard about Blake providing some of the music for "O Brother." But he goes back much further than that. A student told me about him in the late 70's and then we saw him in person at the old Nashville Lights Festival held in early June each year (they killed the festival a few years ago). This was in the late 80's. It was 10:00 p.m. There were only a few people left on the streets and most of them were at the courthouse watching Eddie Rabbit on the main stage. Blake was on a lesser stage on Deadrick I believe. We were sitting on the curb sipping suds with about 8 or 10 other people. Blake put on a show that knocked us out. That knockout power and those clean licks are in evidence here on "Nashville Blues."

But that's not all soldiers. The Dapper has some secret weapons in his arsenal as well. Some non flat pickers.

Yes, I've used the red phone. ICBM Segovia playing Bach is in the air. Targets: the Shreveport area and Portales, NM.

Many critics have said that Segovia was the greatest classical guitar player in the world. Note to Andy and Buck: Surrender now or there's more where that came from.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Musical Break from the Guitar War

UPDATE May 7, 2010: I told you it was lunch time yesterday when I posted this. I obviously did it too fast and didn't pay close enough attention to what I was doing. (That meat loaf sandwich was calling me.) I was reading The Conservative Lady's blog and clicked a link she had to another site, the New Zeal blog spot. That's where I found the super funny, satirical interlude posted below. But I stand by what I said about The Conservative Lady's site; it's great. And really so is New Zeal. I have both in my favorites now. Check them out when you have time.

It's lunch time and as I checked in on some blogs, I found this at The Conservative Lady's place. Check out her blog; it's a great read. This little musical interlude is probably a few months old, but I didn't see it the first go round. It still rocks! Stay until the end to see the singers identify themselves and their mission.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Guitar Wars: Part Deux

Here's two more by Doc, the gospel song "You Must Come in at the Door," and "Dear Old Sunny South by the Sea."

Tony Rice is one of the greatest bluegrass guitarists ever. I understand he had some problems with drugs over the years but I saw a youtube of him playing great at Bonaroo in 2009 so he must be sober now. This youtube is older, back when he was in his prime. He's with his group The Tony Rice Unit and the song is "Tipper."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Great Guitar War

I know three or four chords on a guitar (everyone in Nashville does, it's a requirement enforced by the Chamber of Commerce). And long ago I wrote some songs (that's a CC requirement too). But I use my old 1967 Silvertone guitar mainly for therapy. Truth is, I'm not very good. Not very good at all. But I do enjoy banging around on the old 6 string from time to time.

Andy has a post up this morning on the great guitarist and entertainer, Jerry Reed. The video is of Reed's great country song, "Amos Moses." Andy ranks Mr. Reed very high up on the guitar playing chart.

Buck also has a music post up today featuring a guitarist named Armik who plays in what could be called a neo-flamenco style. Buck doesn't make any claims about Armik's greatness, but he does say that Armik's performance makes for "damned fine listening."

I agree with both Andy and Buck. Reed is great. And so is Armik. But, this morning's Cumberland Post music post features legendary blind guitarist Doc Watson. I will put Doc up against any and all comers in the Great Guitar War. What war you ask? The one declared here and now.

So come on Andy. Come on Buck. And anyone else who might be reading this blog. Give it your best shot. Let's see who you can put up to match Doc on "Black Mountain Rag." Stay with this video till the end or you'll miss it when he shifts his guitar into 6th gear and the turbo cuts in.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Flood Waters in Tennessee

The Tennesseean reports that five people in the state have died in flood related accidents.

Nashville has received nearly 15 inches of rain in the last day and a half and it's still coming down.

I snitched these reader taken photos from the newspaper. The first two show Mansker Creek flooding over Long Hollow Pike about two miles from our home. The actual bridge over the creek is up the road just beyond where that SUV is parked crossways, but the water is flooding over the road at the intersection of North Creek Blvd and Long Hollow. We do some grocery shopping at this Kroger (not shown) which is probably partly under water as is our favorite Subway in the same shopping center.

Before they passed away, my parents lived in a new subdivision one block from the intersection pictured below. It's further down toward Mansker Creek, so my guess is that the house they used to live in is flooded.

Here's a Tennesseean photo (below) taken downtown at Riverfront Park looking across the flooding Cumberland toward LP stadium where the Titans play.

And this is I-40 in Jackson, TN, yesterday (Saturday, May 1).  

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Chickens Are Sleepin' in the Willow Trees

Gray rainy day. Flash flood warnings all over Tennessee. I-40 is closed in both directions at the 147 mile marker in Hickman county and I-65 is closed both ways at mile marker 68 in Williamson county. I-24 toward Chattanooga is closed at mile marker 64 in Rutherford County. More rain and storms forecast for tomorrow.

I'm glad we live half way up a hill. Wherever you are, I hope you stay safe and dry. Photo (by dyunker) taken today on I-65 at the highway 96 interchange near Franklin, TN...

The title of this post is a line from Johnny Cash's "Five Foot High and Risin.'" I like this old video of a very young Cash in 1959.