Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Safe and Dry

Just a quick note, we're in Tennessee safe and dry. No internet connection where we're staying. I'm at the local library trying to find a way back into the city. I'll post more when I get a chance. Thanks for all the good thoughts.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Out of Town

Well, I guess I've decided to leave. Katrina is a cat 5 hurricane now, with gusts of 180 mphs. So I don't think I want to be around when it hits New Orleans. I may not be online for a few days (or more, who knows?), depending where I end up. Gotta go pack up the car and get Buffy ready to move.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Here we go again. We just went through this not very long ago. Luckily the hurricane did not hit us than, this time who knows?

The path that everyone is giving Katrina is putting it heading directly towards New Orleans. It hasn't started its move towards the north yet, it's still heading west. That could be good or bad. If it just keeps heading west that would be great, at least for us, not so good for Texas. But if it starts turning north, which everyone is expecting it to do, it will either hit us directly, or we'll be on the right side, which is not the side you want to be on for a hurricane. So a lot depends on when it turns north.

Today was supposed to be my day off, but I've spent most of it at the store, getting it ready for the hurricane. We had to board up the windows and all that good stuff. We're still open, we'll open tommorrow and see how the hurricane goes.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do. The last time I stayed home, I remember one moment thinking I had made a mistake when they announced something on the news about where I live being about to get some really bad weather. That time I got lucky. I've actually thought of staying in the store, it's a big building, little glass, probably better than staying where I am.

So no decisions yet. It'll probably be late tonight or tommorrow before we know anything real definite about its path. Anyone got a spare room?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Where are the Anti-War Songs of Today?

I was listening to Air America on the way home from work this afternoon.  Randi Rhodes was on.  She was talking about how to change the culture of a people.  You can't change the culture of a people with a war.  You change a culture with music.  With books.  With movies. 
She was talking about the sixites and the anti war songs from that time.  And how in the 80s and 90s there were no anti war songs.  I don't know if I'd completely agree with that, I'm sure if I think hard enough there were some, but they were on the fringes, nothing mainstream.  In the sixties you had acts like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Dylan, Lennon, all in the mainstream and singing songs of opposition.
So where are the anti war songs of today?  I think there are quite a few out there.  They may not be quite as main stream as the sixties, but they're not quite hidden either.  Steve Earle's The Revolution Starts Here is one.  So what are some others?  See if you can come up with an anti war song from today, from someone that is singing today.  I think it might be a pretty interesting list.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Camel In Meridan Mississippi

Ok, this one might take some background, but there is only so much I can explain about this picture, basically it is a mystery to me.

Years ago, back in the olden days, when I was working for the at the time still in business Service Merchandise, I got a call from my district manager one day. I was the assistant manager for one of the stores in Tallahassee Florida at the time. They had just announced some store closing the day before. One of the stores was the store in Meridan Mississippi.

My district manager went on to inform me that he had just fired the store manager and the assistant store manager at said location in Meridan Mississippi and would I be willing to go up there for the next three months and close it down. This was during the time when I pretty much went and did whatever was needed of me, so of course I said yes.

After I got there one of the first things I did was go through the ex manager's office and desk, cleaning it out. I've found whenever I go to a new store I can clean out a lot of clutter and junk that I don't think I need. And even less now that the store was closing. In one of the drawers to his desk I found this picture. It shows the back of the store and a camel. Where did the camel come from? Why was it wandering around free? These are questions that have plaqued me since...but I thought it was such an unusual, neat picture I managed to hold on to it since.

(Meridan Mississippi is the home city of actress Selna Ward and country music legend Jimmie Rodgers.)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Houston Bound

For the next two days I will be in Houston for work.  Fly in for meetings and than fly out late the next day and don't get home till nine and than I have an hour's drive from the airport, no make that more than an hour, because I just remembered they're closing the interstate at night to do work on it, so I'll have to go the long way home.  Can you tell how excited I am to be going?
I should be more excited, the meetings could have a big impact on my career, as far as promotion and more money go, but to tell the truth I'm not too sure about the whole thing yet.  I don't mind the promotion and the money thing, but if I take it it means a move and that I'm not 100% behind yet.
But than again I could suck at these meetings and not even have the option to worry about these choices.

Capote In Kansas

Billed as a drawn novel, written by Ande Parks and drawn by Chris Samnee, this is what a graphic novel should be.
This is the story of Truman Capote's writing of IN COLD BLOOD.  It shows the writer traveling to Kansas and his failed attempts to talk to the townspeople where the tragedy occured and his eventual success. 
IN COLD BLOOD was a true crime novel, telling the story of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock and the brutal slayings of the Clutter family. 
Truman is not always a sympathic character in this story, from the telling Truman is not always a very likable character, but Parks makes you care about his struggle to tell this story.  And the art is wonderful, the black and white artwork brings the story to life. 
All this and there's a ghost too.  You might think that throwing a ghost into this mix might be too much, but the use of the ghost actually gives this tale a certain closure.
CAPOTE IN KANSAS is written by Ande Parks and drawn by Chris Samne and published by Oni Press.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Phone Call From Iraq

The other day, it was one day last week, I was paged for a phone call at work.  This is not unususal, I get lots of calls from customers and associates calling in sick and lots of other reasons.  So I didnt' think much of it.  I was surprised with I answered it and heard Jerry on the other end.  Jerry is an old friend from my Service Merchandise days.  I worked with him there for quite a few years.  Jerry and I haven't talked in awhile.  The last time we had talked he had called me wanting to know if it was allright to use me as a reference, he was looking for a job.  I was glad to let him.  There are few harder working people in the world than Jerry. 
When I first answered the phone there was a pause after I said hello.  I thought no one was there and was just about to hang up when I heard Jerry's voice.  He was calling from Iraq. 
He said he had been over there for a year now and was getting ready to come home in another month or so.  We talked for a little while.  I could tell that things weren't that great.  He told me that he had lost some friends over there.   It had not been a happy experience.
So his phone call makes me wonder.  President Bush doesn't want to talk to Cindy Sheenan and explain to her why we're over there.  Than explain it to me.  Explain it to all of us.   And explain it without falling back on your ususal blah blah blah.  We have our men and women dying over there, we have men and women from Iraq dying over there....for what? 
Can someone explain it to me?

Monday, August 15, 2005

New Orleans Pics (All by Larry)

And finally...

Even though it might not look like it I was having a great time!

Assorted Pictures from Satchmo Fest

All pictures were taken by Larry.

More Satchmo Fest Pics

Trombone Shorty

Donald Harrison, Jr. (His father was one of the Mardi Gras Indians.)

Satchmo Fest Pics

Philip Maunel (who did a great version of Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World"

Sharon Martin and First Take

The stage as seen from our spot under the tree

Shannon McNally

These are the pictures that Larry took from Shannon McNally's instore performance at the Louisiana Music Factory. He took a lot of pictures, but I'll only post a few. He took a bunch of pictures from Satchmo Fest too that I'll be posting.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Skeleton Key

Just got back from the movies with Heather and Ashley(a different one from those who know anything about that whole episode).  Saw Skeleton Key (big surprise with that heading, huh?)  It was.....ok.
It wasn't a bad movie.  What did I like about it?  For a horror movie it didn't try to gross the auidence out.  There was no gore in it.  It was set in New Orleans.  It's heroine wasn't a total fool, she actually had a brain.  Kate Hudson.  She is soooo cute.  (Don't get me started on the bathroom scene with her, I think I'm in love.)
What didn't work quite so well?  Well, for a horror movie I didn't find it all that scary.  I am so tired of the scene in the movie where the hero or heroine is walking through the house, you're waiting for something to jump them, and sudddenly they are surprised by....just a normal person or something, you know where they build the suspense up and than surprise you by it not being anything bad.  Just so later they can try and do the opposite.  And the music in these movies, just is so cliched now.  (In this movie I'm not talking about the soundtrack, the actually used good songs, old blues, they even used Robert Johnson.)   I'm talking about the background music that is supposed to set the scene.  It trys to steer your emotions as it builds to a climax.
It actually had a decent storyline.  Kate Hudson was good in it.  It told the story in a nice, slow build up.  It wasn't a bad movie, but it just didn't quite work for me.  And the big surprise ending, well I won't say I saw it coming, but it still didnt' work out as a big surprise for me. 
Than again maybe I just didn't like it cause of all the talking going on during the movie. Jeez, this isn't your living room, if you go out to the movies can you please shut up! 

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Quote of the day

"When you breath, you inspire. When you do not breath, you expire."
I got this quote from Greg's blog.  It was listed among a list of real sayings from 11 year olds.  All the sayings are great, but for some reason this one stuck with me.  Can an 11 year old be that wise?  This quote just seems to bring feelings up in me and I wanted to pull it out of all those others and highlight it.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Jon Sable

Back than there was mainly Marvel and DC. If comics were published it was by one of these two giants. Sure there were some other companies, but none that really gave them a run for their money. Especially with superheroes, action, adventure type comics. Than came the direct market, a subject for another day, and suddenly there were all these other comic companies...Eclipse, Pacific, First, Comico. It seemed everyday there was a new comic company starting up. And they published superheroes, action, adventure...the stuff that was the blood of Marvel and DC.

They also published a lot of different material. Suddenly there were a lot of other genres in comics. Suddenly a lot of writers and artists had other places to bring their creations to. Places that let them own their creations and didn't take them lock, stock and barrel.

One of these companies was First Comics out of Chicago. They didn't put out as much as some of the other companies like Eclipse or Pacific, which seemed ready to publish just about anything. But almost every comic they published was good.

Now IDW Comics is brining back these comics. They're reprinting the old stories in trade paperback and creating new stories. New stories with the creators. Grimjack was the first to come back. Now Jon Sable. Mars is coming. We can only hope that they plan to reprint the Nexus saga by Mike Baron and Steve Rude.

Years back I sold most of my comics. When this comic boom was going on I bought just about everything that came out. I spent way way too much money on comics. But I had just about every comic published by Eclipse, Pacific, First, Comico and a bunch more. Now I have almost none. So IDW's plans to reprint these comics is great news to me. It means I have a chance to get these stories back.

Even better is the fact that they're publishing new stories. I knew Jon Sable was coming back, somehow I missed it. I just picked up the third issue today. I've got my comic shop, hopefully, getting the first two issues for me. I've also got to get the first two reprint volumes.

Is the new Jon Sable as good as the original? Reading the new issue it was like reading an issue from back than. The art, the story is just as good as I remembered from before.

Next up is Mars, a series I remember with a lot of fondness. I can't wait to see it. I dont' think they're doing new stories of Mars but they are reprinting the original.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I Hate Seinfeld

I can hear the collective intake of breath now.  How can I hate this show?  Every critic worth their title list this show as one of the top five comedy shows ever made.  It was the darling of the public. 
Ok, I'm not sure what made me go off on this rant.  I think I just saw the name Seinfeld in some article about something else entirely and it made me go off.  I really do hate this show.  I know it's not healthy to hate.  And I shouldn't get worked up over a television show.  But I can't help it.
All the characters in this show were obnoxious, mean spirited and worse of all, not funny.  I couldn't stand the characters in the show.  I didn't want to watch thirty minutes of them doing nothing.  I didn't want to watch thirty minutes of them doing something.  And the worst sin of all, the most unforgiving one for a comedy show, I just didn't find it funny. 
When it was on in prime time I may have watched parts of a few eposides.   In syndication I've watched a few more bits an pieces.  But I just can't watch an entire show.  If I don't like a show I can just ususally ignore it, but for some reason this show grates on my nerves.  It's like sticking bambo shoots under my fingernails....
You get the point.  I really don't like this show.

The best magazine

Now I won't always consider Oxford American the best magazine out there, but this issue I do. It's their annual music issue. It comes with some of the best writing about music and it comes with a cd. It talks about and showcases on the cd some southern music that you might not ever hear, and it mixes all genres together. Where else would you hear artists such as Howard Tate, Erma Franklin, The Wilburn Brothers, Moondog, Blind Tom, Sammi Smith with such artists as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Loretta Lynn and Ricky Skaggs. And for every song and artist on the cd there is an article about them in the magazine. I love it. For someone like me, who thinks they know so much about this type of music, it's a learning experience. I always learn something I didn't know when I read this issue of the magazine.

This is the fourth music issue. They've missed at least a year, probably two, due to almost being canceled, changing owners and generally having a hard time of surviving as a magazine. Buy this magazine, if nothing it's worth buying just to make sure that the music issue comes out every year.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Satchmo Fest Day 2

Almost forgot to post about the second day of the fest.  (Which reminds me I have a bunch of pics and stuff to finish about Bonnaroo.)
For a weekend that was supposed to be cloudy and rainy it sure was beautiful.  We never got a drop of rain.  The sun was out and if anything it was too hot.  But we had a spot off to the side of the stage and under a tree.  It was very relaxing, almost too much so.  A few times I found myself drifting off to sleep as I listened to the music.
Today's fare was a bit more low key than the first days.  The first day the bands were loud and could have competed with a lot of rock bands.  They all had vocals and did a lot of pop and r&b songs as well as jazz songs.  Today's were all what I think of jazz when I think of jazz, no vocals or very little vocals.
The line up for today started with the Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp Band.  This was a band made up of a bunch of kids, ranging in age from around 8 to teenager.  These kids were pretty good.   It was interesting to see kids up on stage playing and obviously interested in jazz and not rap or hip hop or even rock music.  That is the future of any style of music, getting the kids interested in it.
The next acts up were the Bradfor Truby Trio, New Orleans Vipers and Maurice Brown.  All good acts.  If I had to chose I would pick the previous day, but these groups all had talent and showed me a side of music that I normally ignore.
The last act was even someone that knows next to nothing about jazz knew.  There are very few people in any category that can be called a legend, but this man is one of them.  Ellis Marsalis, father of Wynton and Branford and more, all expanding the field of jazz.  Mr. Marsalis has to be up there in years, as he climbed the stage he did so slowly and with a little difficulty.  He walked over to his piano and sat down.  Than like when I saw Fats Domino, who had to be helped to his piano stool and looked too old and infirm to play, when he sat down and started playing he could have put a much younger man to shame.  His fingers flew over the keys.  In his music he found his youth. 
After that it was time to go home.  It was an enjoyable day and I got to listen to some music that I normally would not have listened to.  And I even liked it.

Amercian Gods

I'm reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman again. His new novel Anasi Boys, a sequel of sorts to this one will be out in September. If you've never read anything by Neil you should give it a try. Neil's one of those writers who seems to be able to write nothing bad. His Sandman comic book series was one of the finest comic series ever. I've actually met and talked with Neil a few times, nothing that he would remember me from, but Sam Kieth, the first artist on the Sandman, and I were friends and I introduced myself to Neil at a San Diego convention. I think I even gave him a copy of Diebold. But Neil was very nice and didn't seem to be in a rush to get rid of all the fans trying to talk to him. This was before he became even bigger, but it was at the start of his upward spirial, Sandman was out and was hot, so was he. Wonder if he ever read Diebold and what he thought of it if he did?

Successful Mission

Back Home!

IPod Blues

I knew it was going to happen and it did.  For some reason my IPod wasn't letting me add any new songs to its playlist.  It was far from full.  Something in its tiny little ipod brain just ignored my old list.  If I added new songs it would come up on its own list and ask if I wanted to go to this new list.  I knew if I did it was going to erase my old list, I just knew it.  So I kept saying no and not getting any new songs added.  It was ok, I mean I had over 1500 songs on my Ipod already, but I did want to add some new stuff.
So yesterday I finally did it.  I said yes.  And it was like I thought.  It erased all 1500+ songs from my ipod.  Now I've got about two hundred songs in there.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Miracle Mile

Gonna sing it like a song
Gonna sing it mountain high
Gonna sing it river flow
I‘ve been thinking bout it in my thoughts alone
when I hear that voice it’s like soup to the hungry
wanna be the teacher, gonna be the kid
I’m gonna get inside and find out where it’s hid

cause this is it baby
we’re on the miracle mile
trying to give it up and do it with a smile
cause I’m not alone and I’m not giving in
till I find out where this miracle begins

Somedays i get so mad still i get out of bed
put my shoes on and push on ahead
l Iook for something good to say
and gone are the days that i’m surprised or bewildered
by what they’re calling quality
most of it sounds like bullshit to me

Someday is here and tomorrow never comes.

Cause this is it baby
we’re on the miracle mile
trying to give it up and do it with a smile
cause I’m not alone and I’m not giving in
till I find out where this miracle begins

Throw your old skin to the curb
go and get a match
it’s time to light it up and let it burn

Bet you got a woman to keep you warm
don’t mind me I’m over here trying not to do anything wrong
my enthusiasm tends to come on too strong
everybody’s shakin’ it for the camera
yeah you’re beautiful but isn’t there anything else to say uh
like how does it feel now?

cause this is it baby
we’re on the miracle mile
trying to give it up and do it with a smile
cause I’m not alone and I’m not giving in
till I find out where this miracle begins

oh we’re on the miracle,
we’re on the miracle mile...


copyright by Shannon McNally

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Satchmo Fest Day 1

Wow, it's been a long day.  But a fun day. 
Today I went to the French Quarter for the annual Satchmo Fest, a music fest devoted to the memory of Louis Armstrong.  It's mainly a jazz thing and I'm actually not that familar with jazz, but my friend Larry is and goes every year, so this year I decided to go along.  Also in the middle of the day Shannon McNalley was doing a free concert at the Louisiana Music Factory.
The first act was Sharon Martin and First Take.  She was a very good and powerful singer.  She did some takes on more pop tunes, including a good but different version of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive.
The next act up was Philip Manuel.  While he may be jazz he tended to drift into R & B as well as some pop.  He did an amazing version of Carol King's You've Got A Friend.  He had two female back up singers (sorry I don't remember their names) and they did such a great job of this song.  They broke this song down and built it back up, they made it their own.  Every now and than you hear a song live that just is so amazing, so wonderful that you'll never forget it, that was this song.
After Philip Manuel we had to get to the Louisiana Music Factory to see Shannon McNally.  Shannon is a fairly new singer, her second cd, Gernomio just came out.  She is from New York but makes New Orleans her home now.  Her music is, well she had something to say about that today, she calls her music "North American Ghost Music."  She says evertime she reads a review of her work they classify her as roots, blues, americana, country rock....on and on until there is no classification.  To me it all goes back to the problem of having to pigeonhold everything.  Every singer or band has to fit into a certain niche, why can't they just be singers and enjoy their music?
There couldn't have been more than a hundred people there.  Larry and I were front and center.  Shannon is amazing.  Her new cd is fast becoming one of my favorite cds.  She is fast becoming one of my favorite singers. 
After Shannon's show we went back to the Old Mint, where the Fest was.   We got back just after the start of Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and Orleans Ave.  They mixed everything up in their act.  Trombone Shorty just came off touring with Lenny Kravtiz.  They really worked up the auidence.
The final act was Donald Harrison Jr.  Another good show.
You know, you gotta love this city.  There's so much music going on around here.  Two full days of free music, what a weekend!

Sorry no pictures, I forgot my camera, but Larry did bring his, so hopefully I'll have some pictures to post soon.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


Repairing the space shuttle. Can you imagine having to go out into space and fix your shuttle? Makes changing your flat tire seem really routine, doesn't it? Posted by Picasa


After talking about Northern Exposure recently I have to mention another great tv show.  Homicide.  I love the fact that so many tv shows are coming out on dvd.  I spend too much money on these things.  Of course I have the complete Buffy and Angel series on dvd.  (Would you have thought otherwise?)
Homicide was another one of those shows that I thought was so great.  I just got the last two seasons on dvd.  Actually I didn't get them...Heather got them for me for my birthday.  She's such a great friend!  I kind of expected season six from here, in fact except for the first season she's gotten every season for me for either my birthday or christmas, but I didnt' expect her to get both seasons for me.  :)
I know I was just saying that I thought Northern Exposure was the best show on tv, but I would have to say that Homicide could give it a run for its money. 

XM Satellite Radio

I was at Compusa with my brother this weekend.  He needed to buy something for a computer he got from work.  I wasn't planning on buying anything.  But as I walked by an endcap I saw it was advertising XM satellite radio.  It was all the hardware you needed to install so you could subscribe to the programmnig.    The way this works is you buy the hardware, a receiver to attach to your radio, an antenna and all the wiring.  Than you have to pay a monthly fee to the radio, XM or Siruis and you get the progamming.   I've thought of buying one, I've got some friends that swear by their satellite radio, but everyone outfit I've seen costs at least a hundred dollars or more.  Just more money than I want to spend on one for now.
Well this setup was on sale for fifty dollars with a fifty dollar rebate.  Hmmmm, I say.  I stand there and look at it for a few minutes.  Math has never been my strong suit, but even my poor math dumb brian can figure this out...fifty minus fifty equals zero.  Now that is my kind of price. 
So I ended up buying it. 
And I have to say it, I love it.  No commericals.  And everytype of music you can think of, with a station geared just to it.  A station just for 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, alls sorts.  My favorite station so far is the progressive country station, more of an americana station than anything.  They played the set of the Drive by Truckers from Bonnaroo that I went to this year.  It was awesome.
I'm going to try to put a listing of the stations on here after this post. 

XM Station Listing

This is the station list. Hopefully it's readable. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

I Want to Teach the World to Sing...

First off let me say I'm looking forward to the new Johnny Cash bio coming out this November, Walk the Line.  I like the fact that it's taking just part of Johnny Cash's life and filming it, not trying to fit his whole life in a ninety minute movie.  But I have a question:  why do movies about singers not use the singer's music and voice, it seems the star always wants to sing the songs.
Kevin Spacey has admited to being a huge fan of Bobby Darin.  So big a fan that he wrote, directed and starred in a movie based on the life of Bobby Darin.  Now isn't doing all this enough, why would he want to sing in it too? 
It doesn't make sense to me.  The voice, the sound, is what draws most of these performers to want to film these movies, so what is the first thing they do.  Not use the singer's voice in the movie.  They use their own.  Now I don't care how good you are, you're not the singer.  You're not Johnny Cash.  You're not Bobby Darin. 
Some times they do it right.  Jamie Fox didn't sing the Ray Charles songs.  Ray sang them.  Why would I want to hear Jamie Fox sing Ray Charles?  I want to see Jamie Fox act, not sing.  Let Ray sing.
And than these actors aren't just content to sing in the movie, what do they do?  They put out the movie cd, with their singing on it.  Why would I buy a cd of Kevin Spacey singing Bobby Darin, when I can buy the real thing?  Bring the character to life with your acting, but leave the singing to those that we want to hear sing.

The Boss

The head of Two Penguins comics and stories hard at work. Posted by Picasa

The Last Supper of Darth Vader

I meant to post this awhile back, when the movie came out. Kind of a humorous look at the Star Wars saga I think. Posted by Picasa

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