August 29, 2008


I've been watching the convention from Denver every night. I'm not much of a political person but I love watching the political conventions, whether they be elephantine or mulish. I guess you could compare it to slowing down to take a good stare at a car accident. There would be ordinary people at the podium speechifying their love for Barack Obama. That takes guts to get up and
speak in front of 75,000 people. I watched Joe Biden, the Clintons, and Michelle Obama speak and they all toyed with my emotions. I felt the thrill go up my leg but when it got to my brain it seemed to die. I'll watch the Republican Convention too, much to my wife's annoyance. She'll go upstairs and watch The Young And The Restless.

August 28, 2008

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

This unlikely pair teamed up a few months ago and are now on a world wide tour (their first concert was at the Louisville Palace for two nights). They put out a CD called "Raising Sand". When I first heard that they were making a CD together, it seemed such an unlikely association. Robert Plant was lead singer for the immensely popular band, Led Zeppelin, back in the late sixties, early seventies. Alison Krauss has done nothing but Bluegrass since she started in the business. They actually sound pretty good together. Alison Krauss is a joy just to look at and listen to. Her voice is as clear as a bell. This is "Killing The Blues".

August 27, 2008

Marvin Gaye Sings The National Anthem

I was watching the Olympics one night and a VISA commercial came on. In the commercial Marvin Gaye was singing the Star Spangled Banner at some sporting event. I don't care much for our National Anthem and I've never thought it sounded good, no matter who sings it. Marvin Gaye did it his own way and I loved it. I found it on You Tube (you can find practically anything on You Tube.) He sang it at a pro basketball game back around 1983.

August 26, 2008

The Psychedelic Furs

The band with the funny name and a great sound. This "Sister Europe" from 1982.

Diane Arbus

After posting the State Fair pictures I came across another blog which posted Diane Arbus photographs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York recently had a showing of Diane Arbus photographs.

From Wikipedia....
Diane Arbus (March 14, 1923 – July 26, 1971) was an American photographer, noted for her portraits of people on the fringes of society, such as transvestites, dwarfs, giants, prostitutes and ordinary working class citizens, in unconventional poses and settings.

Her photos are might have seen some of these before as they're her more famous photos.

Pictures From The State Fair

We went to the State Fair a week ago and most of the pictures I took were not very good. These were the best.

The Colonel of
Cotton Candy

.....and his Kingdom

August 22, 2008

Mindy Smith

Mindy Smith is an American singer-songwriter. Her music has a broad appeal and can be classified as all of the following: folk, country, americana, bluegrass, pop, rock, and even alternative. Her voice and music have been compared to that of Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, Norah Jones, and Alison Krauss.

"Come To Jesus" was Smith's second single and biggest hit, receiving airplay on country music, Christian, AAA and adult contemporary radio. The song charted at #32 on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart.

This is Mindy Smith's haunting song, "Come To Jesus". They used to play this quite often on WFPK and I heard it played this morning. I guess you could call this a gospel song with a blues sound.

Fatboy Slim

This is Fatboy Slim with "Praise You".

August 20, 2008

Harry Canary's Back In Town

The last news I had heard about Harold Tabor was that he was in some Kentucky small town jail for DUI, destroying property, and grand theft auto. Ben deduced that as soon as 'ol Harold got out of prison in '07 he got drunk, stole a car, and destroyed property when he crashed the stolen auto.

Ben called after we got home from the State Fair last night. "Man, you should have ridden with me last night." Ben went on a call about a fight on Duncan Street in the land of Portland. Once there, witnesses pointed out a man who they said was wielding a bat and making threats. This man happened to be the husband of Harold Tabor's half sister who was there begging Ben not to arrest her "old man". Ben cuffed the man, put him in his cruiser, and asked if he had a brother-in-law by the name of Harold Tabor. The man said "yeah, he's sitting right there on the porch." Ben looked back and there he was, in the flesh, the terrorist of my childhood, Harold Tabor.

Ben said that he has a bunch of new charges against him and is due to appear in court this September 3rd. News of the results of his day in court will be forthcoming in a future post.

August 19, 2008

Witchita Lineman

"Wichita Lineman" is a popular song written by Jimmy Webb in 1968, first recorded by Glen Campbell and widely covered by other artists. Campbell's version, which appeared on his 1968 album of the same name, reached #3 on the U.S. pop chart, remaining in the Top 100 for 15 weeks. In addition, the song also topped the American country music chart for two weeks, and the adult contemporary chart for six weeks. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" ranked "Wichita Lineman" at #192. It has been referred to as 'the first existential country song'.

Webb was inspired to write the lyrics when he saw a solitary lineman in rural northern Oklahoma. The lyric describes the longing that a lonely telephone or electric power lineman feels for an absent lover who he imagines he can hear "singing in the wire" that he is working on.

August 18, 2008

The Staple Singers

"I'll Take You There" is one of those classic songs you never forget and never get tired of. I heard it the other day on WFPK and I had to post it. Some songs are like time machines. This time machine will take you back to 1972, the year it was released.

August 13, 2008

The Cake Walk Trail

For the last week we've been having weather to knock your eyes out. We've walked almost every evening. Yesterday we headed South, crossing Shelbyville Road to Main Street which eventually runs through the heart of old Middletown, established in 1797. A few miles to the east is where Abraham Lincoln's grandfather was killed by Indians. The Massacre Trail starts at Main Street, through Middletown and ends at Long Run Park, where the massacre took place. I hiked the twelve mile trail as a Boy Scout and thought my feet were gonna fall off. Our walk this evening will be a piece of cake at around three miles. I've lived in Middletown twenty years, Charlene, most of her life, and it's gone through alot of change in terms of population which breeds tons 'o Shelbyville Road traffic. Main Street minds it's own business at a slightly slower pace (25 to 35 mph). On Shelbyville Road its like NASCAR Sunday every day of the week.

An attorney we know works
on Main Street and we ran
into her! Such a charming

Jamie Cullum

Jamie Cullum is a British musician who mixes jazz and pop. In 2004 he came out with the album "Twentysomething". This is "All At Sea" from that album.

August 12, 2008

Paperboy's Confessional

The Beatles pulled me into conciousness, singing Let It Be on my clock radio. Even today, that song reminds me of delivering the morning newspaper as a boy. I dressed and went out on the front porch, I walked down our dark street and looked towards the eastern sky, where the comet was still visible, as if in a photo, frozen at the horizon. The air was so warm and damp, it seemed I was walking through a continous heavy curtain. The two bundles of newspapers were at their accustomed spot at the end of the island, where the street widened. I grabbed an arm load of newspapers and walked down the row of doorsteps, dropping newspapers where they belonged, by memory.

For many years after giving up the route, I would have dreams in which I would be out delivering the papers and couldn't remember who got the morning paper and who didn't, which is a common dream among ex-newspaper delivery boys. Oddly enough, this dream always involves the morning paper and never the afternoon. My father once told me he dreamt this same ex-paperboy dream when he was young.

I was back at the island to pick up the rest of the newspapers. I reached down into the large taxus where I had hid the canister of salt the night before. Off I went, dropping papers on doorsteps: the Northcut's, the Vaughn's, the Gordon's, the Martins....and Mrs. Anderson, the Mrs. Anderson who, more than once, paid for her newspaper in pennies, who wouldn't allow kids on her perfect lawn, who called our parents to report her imagined yard transgressions by us kids. The crumudgeonette who never cracked a smile and wouldn't answer her door bell on Halloween even though we knew she was there, behind drawn shades. I pulled the spout open and as I walked, poured a continuous stream of salt. I poured a large circle that curled into itself until I reached the middle and kept pouring as I walked out of her lawn and delivered the last of the papers. When I got home I threw the emptied cannister in the garbage and slept like a baby.

After about two weeks, the brown circular scars made a quite striking contrast to the rest of her deep green manicured lawn, as if an avant-garde artist were given free rein to her front yard.

I rang her doorbell and she appeared behind the glass storm door, her face a constipated grimace.
"Collecting for the newspaper?"
"Yes ma'am." I conjured a look of concern on my face.
"What happen to your front yard Mrs. Anderson?"
She didn't say a word and proceeded to pay for her week of newspapers in pennies.

August 6, 2008

One New Beck And One Old Beach Boy

Beck just released a new album called "Modern Guilt". Almost every song is heavily flavored with a Beach Boys sound. Here is "Orphans".

Speaking of the Beach Boys, this is one of my favorites. "Don't Worry Baby"

August 3, 2008

The Spirit Moves Ironic

Tristan's father's death, to Abby and to us, happened in June two years ago, when Dave decided to leave his marriage a fews days after Tristan's first birthday. It wasn't a physical death of course, but an emotional one.

Dave had grown up, but not out of the shadow and stigma of poverty it cast on his adult life. He had told the story of the cruel teasing of school children because he dressed in raggedy clothes smelling of body odor. Because of his past, as an adult, Dave was overly sensitive to what he perceived as criticism, where there was none. Dave worked hard to rise above where he came from but the past had left it's mark.

This morning at church it came time for the children's sermon which is held in the front pews of the sanctuary. There was Tristan sitting in the front pew, looking back at us occasionally. Deanna, who taught, asked them if they were looking forward to the start of school. She recounted a story from the third grade where there was a girl in her class who was made fun of because she wore dirty clothes to school, smelled, and had dirty frizzy hair. This recollection visibly upset Deanna to where she had to pause to gain control of herself. The kids were spellbound. She said that she, and other, more popular kids rubbed dirt on their faces at recess and tied their hair in knots and teased it. From that day on the other children left that girl alone. She said that she wanted all the children present that day to make a new friend at the start of the school year, especially a child who is unpopular and shunned by others. As she was telling the story I couldn't help but think of Dave, with his son paying rapt attention.

Deanna then said she was going to talk about Lazarus. She was going to relate how showing Christian love can give new life to people through the story of Lazarus, who was raised from death by Jesus.

"Does anyone here know who Lazarus is?"
Tristan raised his hand.
"Tristan, do you know who Lazarus is?"
Tristan replied, "That's me."

August 1, 2008

A Near Tragedy In Jacksonville

Some of my recollections of this story, forty years past, are distanced in a summer-like haze, but her name, I will never forget. We went to the pool today after work, which we rarely do, and the memories came back to me as I was walking around in our pool in the early twilight; the stars were just making their faint appearance.

Janet had kept that yellowed newspaper clipping for a time after that summer of 1968. Every once in awhile I would get it out of her hiding place and read it. The cut out paragraph out of a Jacksonville Florida newspaper told of an averted crisis, a little memento, which for us was a moment of first hand high drama.

We came to our annual trip to Florida by way of Hilton Head Island. We had stopped there to pick up Janet, who stayed with a high school friend the week prior. We had spent the night there and then headed to Bradenton by way of Jacksonville, where we had spent the night at a motel. I can remember the usual criteria as we passed the motels. We saw several motels with either a diving board or a pool slide; this motel had both, the perfect motel configuration for the McClain crew.

It was early evening and you could hear the tires whining from the interstate across the motel access road. The narrow motel parking lot surrounded the pool on three sides; the motel office was close by the pool. There was a sixteen-year-old girl with short blonde hair already there in the pool when the four McClain kids walked over in flip-flops and swimsuits. Her name was Becky Buncoe and she was the daughter of the owners of the motel. By such status, we were duly impressed; she could go down the slide and dive off the diving board every day if she wanted.

“You can stick your hand in the drain, it feels neat!” Becky said. She would dive off the board, go down the ten feet to the drain, stick her hand in, and then surface. We were wary of sticking our hands in a black hole at the bottom of the pool.

Janet said “She been down there too long Barry!” I dove down and I could hear Becky screaming through the water, her arm had been suctioned into the drain up to her elbow and she was furiously trying to pull herself free but could not get her legs under her. I pulled as hard as I could but it was impossible. Scared to death, I shot to the surface, ran into the motel office, and yelled that Becky was stuck in the drain at the bottom of the pool. Her father ran out, went down to the pump room next to the pool, turned off the pump, and then dove in the pool, all in a matter of seconds.

Dad helped Becky’s father pulled her limp, lifeless body out of the pool. Becky was on her stomach by the edge of the pool, her father pushing on her back while almost whispering “c’mon Becky, c’mon Becky”, over and over. We were all standing in a knot, off to the side helplessly watching. Becky started coughing and gagging while water started coming out of her lungs onto the pool deck. Her father cradled her head in his arms, she whimpering while her father openly wept. The ambulance arrived and they took her to the hospital for observation.

We saw Becky and her parents the next morning before leaving. Her father thanked us and shook my hand as if I was the one who saved her life. Becky was tired looking from being up most of the night and her freed arm was scraped up to her elbow. She begged us to stay there on the way back.

We stopped at that motel on the way back home and there was Becky, in the pool, just as it was a couple of weeks before. The only difference was the metal grate secured over the drain at the bottom of the pool. We swam, slid on the water slide, and dove off the board. Towards the end of the evening Becky said she wanted to give me a reward for saving her life and told me to go in a store room that I would find unlocked.

I was standing among the shelves of clean folded linens and towels and Becky came in. She looked me in the eyes and thanked me for saving her life and we kissed. She left just as fast as she came and after a minute I left and went to our room. I wish I could’ve seen her before we left but we started too early in the morning. The whole time we were packing the car I was looking for her. I remember looking back at the motel as we drove away, hoping to at least wave her a goodbye.