Saturday, July 30, 2005

Kind of... Posted by Picasa


Oh yeah, I have this blog thing. I've been lost in the sauce for a while, but one thing I'm pretty sure of is the fact that most blogs truly suck. Add that to the fact that there are so dang many of them and you've got one big, nasty mess. The worst of them all are the ones that document the minutiae of some (usually boring) fools life, and I guess the second worst are the ones that simply parrot other sites for news, or links in lieu of any real content. I won't even touch on the half-assed attempts by teens, children, businessmen, or religious zealots. About the only ones I've been able to tolerate are the cream of the crop of the underground music blogs, and photo blogs. Some folks seem to view their blog as the new milennium's answer to the "family newsletter". Every family has at least one relative(usually that oddly chipper aunt) that compiles an all-encompassing list of the activities and major events in their clan, right? Blogs and this type of document share the following attributes:

1. They often blather on and on about insignificant information.(Lil' Timmy took his first poo today, etc.)
2. They gloat about personal accomplishments.
3. The information is generally about people and activities that
are either unknown or irrelevant.

That being said here are some links to a few blogs that seem to have some merit. At least they post easily downloadable mp3's of music I actually enjoy...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Musklat Rove... Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 15, 2005

Willis Alan Ramsey, and Jim Lauderdale.

I had a lucky birthday yesterday. It started off well when I awoke to a lovely hand made card ftom Kara, and then received a free breakfast-pizza(?) from some poor Papa John's guy when I was getting gas on the way to work.(?) I then proceeded to get a free lunch consisiting of a steak, baked potato, green beans, Texas toast, and iced tea. The best part was getting free tickets to see two of the most talented singer-songwriter's alive today at the Granada Theatre. The Granada is one of the nicest, if not THE nicest venue in Dallas and if they would book a more diverse group of bands I'd gladly go there more often.

Bob and I walked in just after Jim Lauderdale's set had begun and though I was familiar with the name from KHYI (95.3-The Range) and the paper I was hesitant at first. I was completely mesmerized within minutes. This Nashville based(go figure) musician is extremely talented and has a long list of accomplishments including having songs recorded by George Jones, and making records with bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley(made really famous by the O' Brother Where Art Though? soundtrack.) As I listened I realized that I already really liked a few of these songs as I had heard them repeatedly on The Range and I had no idea who they were done by. If you like Gram Parsons, Gene Clark, George Jones, Johhny Cash and others I suggest checking him out. I need to buy some of this stuff.

Willis Alan Ramsey took the stage with all the stage prescence of somebodys stoned uncle wipping out his guitar at a barbecue to play some Skynnard, Dylan or some such fare. But after a bit of a rough start he proceeded to blow minds. I won't go into too much detail here but Willis Alan Ramsey(WAR) is one of those legendary artists that is very well known, and loved amongst Americana/Country/Folk/Blues musicians and the die-hard fans but otherwise completely unknown. He released ONE self-titled album in 1972 that was met with much acclaim. Apparently it was too much acclaim for the young WAR to handle so he backed off from the whole affair, WAY off. As far as I know he hadn't performed at all until the last year or so since the mid-seventies but that didn't stop him from influencing virtually every artist that could fall under the nebulous Progressive Country/Americana/Alt-Country(eww!)/Outlaw/yadda,yadda umbrella. Lyle Lovett is perhaps the most obvious example of this and WAR even co-wrote some of Lyle's songs including "That's right you're not from Texas". The crowd of mostly grey-haired folks knew all the words and get very excited when WAR played the hits, so it made for a great time.

I'll have to admit that I was a bit let down that he didn't play his best known song "Muskrat Candlight", renamed "Muskrat Love" and made famous by The Captain and Tennille, but at the same time I can undertand his aversion to the song. WAR is releasing a new album and I hope for his sake that it catapults him to the level of fame and fortune he so greatly deserves.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Shriners. NOT Oddfellows. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 08, 2005

I.O.O.F. and the proposed Freedom Tower.

I don't believe I've mentioned this before but I am a member of a secret society. That's right, it's SO secret that I'll tell you (almost) all about it and our members are proud to display related emblems, and symbols on their bodies, cars, and clothing among other things. There are secret rituals, signs, and grips that can't be revealed to a non-member but the wacky, mystical incantations and human/animal sacrifice are kept to a minimum. I've been a member of the International Order of Oddfellows(I.O.O.F) , Waxahachie Lodge # 80 for more than a year now and I'm currently trying to interest a few friends in the group.

The Oddfellows are referred to as "a friendly society" meaning that membership is open to anyone, and this goes along with the strong themes of socialization and helping one another out. The motto is Fellowship( or Friendship), Love, and Truth or F.L.T. for short and is most often represented within three links of chain. In some ways it is not so different from the Mason's parody on the Simpson's where the "Stonecutters" are wearing cloaks and other ritualistic garb and then someone screams, "Now let's get drunk and play ping-pong!!", but it's more serious than that and we do more than our share of charity work.

This might sound like something your grandpa would be into, and if it weren't for the extremely diverse make-up of our lodge you might be right. There is a core group of gentlemen in their 60's and above that have been members for many years but there is a larger group of younger men that have such disparate professions as gallery owner, artist( tattoo, fine art, graphic-design, etc.), software developer, contractor, teacher, musician, etc. Many of these individuals own their own successful businesses as well. It's been a worthwhile experience and I plan to get more involved as time permits.

The following is from David Byrnes journal NOT blog. It's about the proposed replacement for the Twin Towers and I thought it was pretty dead-on:

"The new proposal is a glass tower on a massive fortified concrete base. 20 stories (!!) high almost windowless concrete. Basically, a fortress. Or a prison. It wouldn’t look out of place to have a gun turret or anti-aircraft weaponry on the roof. My daddy’s reaction was, “this says: ‘we have no faith in the future.’” I think he’s right. The site could have stood for all that is good and open and innovative about the United States. The can-do spirit, the possibility of re-invention, tolerance of all kinds of weirdos, mixtures of a multitude of races and creeds, all living together. Sometimes the U.S. is like that anyway. And the site could be a way of saying THIS is what we believe in and what we stand for.
This instead is a big fuck you to the rest of the world at the entrance of NY harbor, it says we are isolationist, protectionist and closed. As dad suggests it says we don’t think things will get better, we don’t believe good will triumph; instead we think things will get a lot worse. It’s back to medieval days for us..."

"On a purely practical level, what kind of attack are the people who thought of this expecting? A car bomb that could somehow get across a well-protected plaza? Didn’t the previous attack come from the air?
I think it’s not really about the practicalities of security or protection, but about symbolizing an attitude, a climate of fear and of a walled-in nation."

I couldn't agree more with Mr. Big Suit. This sums up the overall mood that hangs over our lives right now, one of apprehension, fear, and confusion. But what's with a grown man referring to his father as "daddy"? Creepy! The challenge is balancing awareness of the trouble in the world with a complete disregard for the same. It seems that distancing ones self, or desensitizing to some degree is appropriate. I plan to immerse myself even further in my obsessions.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The namesake of one of my favorite breakfast sandwiches. Posted by Picasa

Juan Epstein...Ubu...Wiki-Wiki-Wiki!

That might be the most non-sensical title for one of these here posts yet but it is based in reality, and here's how. Kara and I are switching gears yet again but I'll get into that soon enough. We made our traditional weekend breakfast of scrambled eggs, cheese, and salsa on a bagel a couple of times over the holiday. I decided that as they are a sort of combination of two very different cultures cuisines a fitting name was in order, and from now on they shall be known as Juan Epsteins after the character from the TV show WELCOME BACK KOTTER. For those of you not in the know he was the self-described "Puerto Rican Jew".

The UBU part refers to the web site which is temporarily down except for the bit I'm about to talk about). From what I remember the site usually covers avant-garde and experimental music leaning towards performance art. I believe they had some footage of Joseph Beuys, and Michael Peppe among others and the Ubu may refer to the band Pere Ubu but I digress. In 2003 they embarked on the ambitious project of posting one mp3 by an Outsider Musican a day for a year, thus THE 356 DAYS PROJECT.

I've only scratched the surface with these songs but I can say that the version of Kenny Roger's "Lady" by Wooshie Spkamoto now ranks among my all-time favorite songs. Even those familiar with the genre known as Outsider Music will find a lot to take in. The conspicuous absence of the usual suspects (Wesley Willis, Hasil Adkins, Mrs. Miller, Daniel Johnston, etc, etc.) makes one realize that we are in the midst of the TRUE devotees and obsessives of this stuff. WFMU dj Irwin Chusid is represented along with The Hoof & Mouth Sinfonia and the track "Next", and the selections were curated by a looong list of folks including musician R. Stevie Moore. RSM brings me to my next subject, the website WIKIPEDIA.COM the free and interactive encyclopedia. Here's the entry I made for him yesterday which some kind soul already took the time to expand, and improve upon...

I found the site when it kept popping up while I was Googling various subjects. I finally gave in and it's pretty amazing just for the sheer amount of information it contains and for the revolutionary hands on feel. I felt honored that my entry wasn't just automatically deleted, and I just felt Mr. Moore deserved a mention.