Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Cat - Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup!

Well, this is the kind of cuteness that presents a real distraction when I'm trying to get work done. Alex is the worst kind of flirt! He would have his Mom wrapped around his little finger, if he had any... fingers that is.

Here, Alex does his centerfold pose, and he's got the supermodel figure to go with it. Tell me, do you think stripes go with spots?

- Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Pet's Garden Blog on Sunday - - -

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

We need more cat time

I was going to wait until Cat Friday to post anything else, but I need a little lighthearted relief and I'm sure you do too. Here's a cyber pet to play with, very therapeutic and wastes time wonderfully. He's got a little cat toy to get out in the corner. Link via my friend Jazz. Note: you may need a Flash plugin to play with him.

my pet!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Jeen Lilly, a.k.a. ev brown

I am mourning the loss of a friend today. It is Jeen Lilly of Scrumptious Monkey, a.k.a. ev brown. her previous blog was Happyland. She passed away sometime during the past week. I still don't know the cause, it is not yet determined.

She was an "online" friend most of the time I knew her, she lived in Connecticut and had never been further from home than New Jersey. She was a big fan of Eric Johnson ("Scrumptious Monkey" was the nickname he had given to an amp that he had helped design) and had become fascinated with Austin because of him ...I had fun sending her stuff that was Austin-centric... a Music Awards section of the Chronicle, a "Naked" calendar (locally produced charity project featuring naked photos of Austin musicians), a cartoonish poster map showing various landmarks, clubs, shops, etc.

She was a super-intelligent person. I told her several times that I was confident that she was Mensa material. (I've met lots of Mensans, due to the fact that I are one... I mean... I is one) There was always a skeptical response, but I still sincerely believe it. She was a wonderful writer and poet, very witty and wonderfully sarcastic. She could take aim and hit her target square in the eye every time, and using as few words as possible. Admirable! I mean that with all my heart.

She was also a very caring person. She was empathetic. It can be a curse or a gift when you soak up other people's feelings so much that you feel them as well, but that was one of her traits.

Like me, she was childfree, lost her father when she was a teenager, and was usually just the odd one out. Lots of things to mutually relate to.

I was really tickled when she declared that she was moving here, almost giggly. She was leaving an unhappy domestic situation and starting over here. I was so happy for her and couldn't wait to start showing her around. I completely understood about the fresh start and how hard it is. Austin was a fresh start for me too. Then, here comes an Eric Johnson show on the very night of her arrival! At Antone's, no less. One of the places she mentioned really wanting to see sometime (along with Whole Foods, Book People, Waterloo Records, etc.). After the show, I introduced her to Eric and they chatted for some time. I don't know what they talked about, I stepped away, it was like a little party there. I kept seeing people I knew. When the next EJ/Double Trouble show came up at Antone's, we gave her a ride to and from, she was still not too sure about some of the roads and such, and I totally sympathized, I still get lost here once in a while. Malford Milligan reached down and grabbed her hand during that show (as he will do!!) and she loved that.

We also got her started going to our UU church, something she had looked forward to and had been without in CT. She attended 2-3 times in the short 6 weeks being in Austin. She was a Pagan and was looking forward eventually to getting started with their CUUPS group. I sure seem to gravitate toward Pagans as friends for some reason. All my life it's been that way.

It seemed like things were really going to work out, she had another friend in town who was helping her out with basic needs of shelter, transportation, phone and computer (the basic geek requirements, aren't they? I am including myself in that category). She had gotten her own apartment, started a healthy diet, and was determined to make it. She had looked for work in a bookstore and gotten hired as a cake decorator. Isn't that the way life treats you sometimes?

I saw on her blog that she'd had a training day and was ready to start it the same day (It was an early morning post). That was on the 17th. I knew that her mother had died on the 11th, but she said she wasn't going to go up for the funeral, but still it entered my mind when I saw no postings for a few days that maybe she had changed her mind about that, or was just overwhelmed with the new job, etc., and we do a lot of stuff during the week of SXSW which was March 15-20 so it was busy busy for us.

On Wed. the 22nd I sent an email - just a "how's it going, how's the new job, keep in touch" intended just to get a response because she always responded to email within a day or so. Nothing. Sent another one Friday with mention of a new bookstore opening and potential non-cake-decorating job. I also poked around some and discovered she'd had no activity on various forums where she was active (and I hadn't previously noticed her absence from Eric's forum because of SXSW and lack of forum-browsing time). I tried calling, and both land and cell just kept ringing, no messaging service ever kicked in. Calling is my last resort, I am an email person, not a phone person, and I only make phone calls that I really need to make. On Saturday (yesterday) people got involved and I learned of her passing this morning (Sunday).

There is a thread going over on Eric's Forum for ev. It is there to leave comments on ev, and of course they are welcome here too.

I will miss her terribly. This is a very sad day. I do want to know what happened, but will not speculate here. We simply don't know yet.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Buck Owens

R.I.P. to the great and legendary country musician Buck Owens, who just passed away at the age 0f 76.

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Teddy Thompson

I have been listening to *lots* of this Teddy Thompson CD this week. Just what I need... another favorite artist to add to my list. I didn't just fall in love with his voice after the brief show at the No Depression Party at the Cactus last week.

That happened a few years ago. KGSR used to spin this Richard Thompson song called "Persuasion", a heart-achingly beautiful gem which features a duet with Teddy (his son), co-written with (and also recorded by) Tim Finn. To my knowledge, the duet can only be found on this CD, Action Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years. It was the main reason I bought the CD, although it's jam-packed with plenty of other tunes that are worth the rest of it all by themselves too.

But back to Teddy... you would never guess that he was the son of Richard and Linda Thompson, not based on his voice. Musical talent is obvious an inherited trait though. His voice can be compared to James Taylor's in that every note sounds perfect, like the sound of a clear bell, but TT's has got much more of an edge than JT's. It's not so sweet, bittersweet at best, with plenty of soul and just as much beauty. Also, he's a great songwriter. This CD is all keepers, no skipovers. He's got an earlier CD that I'm sure will be in my hot little collection soon. Also, if you are in Austin, Teddy has 2 shows coming up at the Cactus (solo acoustic) on April 4&5, also one in Dallas before he heads over to Europe.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Friday Kitty Cat Troll Booth

"Nobody gets by here without a donation!" say the Stair Trolls.
"pssssst... a little catnip will do fine."

- Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Scribblings on Sunday - - -

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Politics and Music

James McMurtry wrote a commentary which has just been published in Billboard Magazine called "Musicians: Keep the Politics in your Songs", and you can read it on his blog - it's a good read. (EDIT: I just found out that you have to log in to MySpace to read it, so I'm going to post it here. If you want to leave him comments, then you will have to follow the link and log in)

Mar 18 - Musicians: Keep the Politics In Your Songs (Billboard Magazine)

Once at a show of mine in Plano, Texas, a woman took it upon herself to dance around in front of the stage with a handwritten sign that read, "Keep Politics Out of Music." She had not liked the anti-Bush rant that I had inserted into the song "Levelland." I wonder what she thought of the works of Woody Guthrie, John Lennon or Bob Dylan? And would she have been equally as offended by the sentiments expressed in the songs of Merle Haggard, Toby Keith or Clint Black? Was it politics in music that she objected to, or more specifically, my politics in my music? I probably lost a fan that day, not the first or the last.

I used to try to keep politics out of my music not for fear of losing fans - I had no fans - but rather for fear that my songs would become sermons. I did not want to be seen as another mediocre folkie up there preaching with righteous conviction to mask the fact that his songs sucked.

It was a while before I realized that it is possible to write a good politically motivated song. Steve Earle's "The Ballad of Billy Austin," written from the point of view of a death-row inmate, showed me that it could be done. It is a great song first, a biting social commentary second. Kris Kristofferson's work has the same qualityit gets his point across without sacrificing his art. Oddly, when I first heard Kristofferson's songs, I did not notice the political statements in them. I was a child then, and the Vietnam War so thoroughly colored the world I came into that I could not even see it. The war was like your grandmother's kitchen wallpaper you had seen since you were 3 and no longer noticed. The sight of those glum-faced, young soldiers in the airport was perfectly normal to me.

The soldiers are back in the airports, but they are older now. I did not want my son's generation to grow numb to the sight of them, to become "blas about war," as Lennon once said. So I took a chance and put out a song called "We Can't Make It Here"put it out first as a free download. I received a lot of nasty e-mails right off the bat, but the download got more attention than anything I have put on a CD in the last 10 years.

Now, a year and a half later, WXRT Chicago, a station that has not added a James McMurtry song since the early '90s, is playing its own edit of "We Can't Make It Here" and doing quite well with it. (Yes, I am indeed blowing my own horn here. Somebody has to since my last manager threw up his hands and ran screaming back to Connecticut.)

WKIT, Stephen King's classic rock station in Bangor, Maine, was on the song as soon as it hit the Internet. Maine has lost 30,000 jobs to outsourcing, one of the facets of modern American life that the protagonist in my song complains about.

You could say that my little song became a hit in Bangor. That is good for me, but not so good for Bangor. "We Can't Make It Here" is not popular in Bangor or anywhere else by virtue of it being a great song. Its popularity, like that of most popular songs, lies in the fact that people are hearing their own lives in it. The lives they are hearing in this song cannot be much fun right now.

In a recent article in The Austin Chronicle, interviewer Andy Langer said to Kris Kristofferson, "Some people say the smart thing for folks like you and the Dixie Chicks is just to shut up and sing."

Kristofferson's response was, "I would say back, 'Shut up and listen.' "

Kristofferson is not the darling of country radio that he once was, but he has not gone away. He has continued to use his voice, and his power as a performer has only increased. Last year at South by Southwest, the Continental Club was dead silent when he sang. Even the people on the sidewalk watching through the open door were silent.

But, sadly, most of us so-called artists are afraid to use our voices, afraid to take a stand for fear of committing career suicide. We have to get over that fear because in succumbing to it we become invisible, and invisibility, for an artist, is true career death.

We cannot please everybody and we should not bother trying. It is not our job to be loved. It is our job to be remembered.


He talks about a woman who carried a sign at one of his shows that said "Keep politics out of music". hmmm. There's always been politics in music, it can't be escaped in this world. Even if you just talk about being oppressed, poor, unemployed, overemployed, owing your soul to the company store, workin' on the railroad, or the star-spangled banner by the dawn's early light there's some kind of politics in there... unless it's an instrumental [grin] and even then sometimes it shows up in the title or dedication.

Besides, if you can't speak your mind and express your opinions, then where's the freedom? The whole concept of music and art and theatre just goes to hell... it doesn't exist. That's not a world where I want to live.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

SXSW Day Show Crawl - An "In Tents" Experience

Most of my SXSW day-show crawl and occasional showcase journal is over on my website, along with over 60 pictures! Check it out over there.

Just a quick rundown of the insanity, and these are all up close and personal shows:

Wednesday: Newton Faulkner, Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Bruton, Jessi Colter, Friends of Dean Martinez, James McMurtry, Steve Wynn and the Miracle 3, Tom Freund, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Glen Phillips, Steve Wynn (again).

Thursday: Tapes N' Tapes, Nickel Creek (at Yard Dog no less), Tom Freund (again), The Greencards, Carey Ott, and RobinElla.

Friday: Big Blue Hearts, Sarah Harmer, Tres Chicas, Marty Stuart, Patterson Hood (Drive By Truckers), Teddy Thompson, and Beth Orton.

Saturday: Norah Jones, Rosanne Cash, Nic Armstrong & IV Thieves, Peter Case, Steve Wynn (again!), Grassy Knoll Boys, and Stringdusters.

Sunday: Nickel Creek, Gruene Hall (to be covered later... possibly)

Total admission paid for all Wednesday through Saturday shows: $25 each
Free drinks: more than I usually drink... and way earlier in the day too.

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Uhmmm... hey wake up dude, you're not in Kansas.

You're also not in Amarillo, Lubbock, Houston, or Crawford... and maybe it would make sense to just move to one of those places so everyone can be happy in their surroundings, and you can attend South-by-SeanHannity.
SXSW: Liberal menace - Opinion

hmmm. I wonder if this is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek... hard to tell... [snort]. If so, I totally apologize! Hey! That was pretty funny piece of satire!

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Monday, March 20, 2006

Another SXSW has come and gone

Having a recovery and catch-up day today from the whole SXSW fun week, plus a Nickel Creek show yesterday. Took tons of pictures, and will do an in-depth post on all the goings-on soon, today or tomorrow probably. I am way behind on reading everyone else's blogs too, so sorry about that and I'm getting behinder by the minute. Here's a pretty picture to have as a sampler. That's Norah Jones at Waterloo Records.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday Morning After Party Animal

Jax is attending the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival and after staying out until 2 a.m. every morning he's pretty pooped in the daylight hours, as you can see. Jax is especially relaxed now that he no longer sings the Stray Cat Blues.

- Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Music and Cats on Sunday - - -

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Cheap thrills

SXSW Music is nearly upon us, and I have been working like a fiend on my spreadsheet, trying to figure out where we can be and at what time without superpowers. We don't get wristbands, in fact we aren't going to go to more than a couple of official showcases. We do the various day shows, that are mostly free.

Like tomorrow morning, we are planning on being at the Four Seasons at about 6 a.m. (we shall see...) to see Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Bruton, Friends of Dean Martinez, and Jessi Colter. Nothing like Wednesday Mornin' Comin' Down. Lyle Lovett will probably still be sitting in with the radio crew and doing the weather reports. Last year he spent the week doing that, and has been at it since Monday of this week. It was pretty cool, he was sitting there on the couch, and I was sitting right by him on the floor while the bands played a few feet away. He looked over and smiled at me while the Greencards were playing. He was enjoying them! That did my heart good.

After the breakfast show we'll head back out in early afternoon for the Guitartown party (Steve Wynn, James McMurtry, Scrappy Jud, Jon Dee Graham, etc. I will pass on the Gourds. I'd rather not actually watch them) and the one across the street, (Glen Phillips, etc.) hop over to the Austin Music Hall to see who won the Music Awards. That should do us for Wednesday, then comes Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and collapse. Sunday is a show with Nickel Creek at Gruene Hall. There's so much to do here in March, it's just stupid.

Blogging might be light for the rest of the week with the wacko schedule, plus I still have hired work to do at home... so bizzy bizzy.

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Couldn't ugly up this weekend!

This weekend helped to smooth out my attitude, which could only have improved. Saturday we went to see the long-awaited The Libertine, the Johnny Depp feature that has been basically shelved for 2 years. I thought he was really great in it, and probably uglied up more than I've ever seen before. It got thumbs up from us, and do see it if just for him... and no... that picture's not an example of the "uglied up" version.

The weekend had really beautiful weather, so after spending part of the day indoors we went to the Nutty Brown in the evening to see the South Austin Jug Band. It was a really fine night, great temperature and a good breeze blowing, plus really good music. It's a nice venue, but I wish it weren't food oriented. Basically it's like a dinner theatre, people eat and go, but there's plenty of dancing room... just plenty of room, the place is huge.

Sunday was another beautiful day, but I spent most of it working right here on this Powerbook. No escaping that. Finished watching Jarhead on Friday, which I really liked a lot, and North Country on Sunday, thumbs up all around, but no spoilers offered here.

Friday, March 10, 2006

More than ready for the transition

I am still trying to hang in there by my fingernails, treading water without knowing how to swim, until my regular work hours are shortened to 20 per week at the D-A-Y-J-O-B by end of March. Several nice freelance projects working for people I like will be kicking in by April (I am excited and looking forward to them), and I will be able to devote more time to existing clients. It will not be a second too soon. I need more free time badly. And more sleep.

I’ve really been very fragile lately. I’m always very responsible. When I am working for others I always get the job done pronto with high quality from taking extra pains and attention to detail on my part, and that’s still in place and functioning, but it sometimes gives people the impression that I am also sturdy and stable. Not so. It was never the case under the best of conditions, but lately I have been overwhelmed by all the stuff and it’s been getting the better of my nerves. Yesterday I was near exhaustion and planned to take the evening completely off. My husband cooked his easy pasta, which accidentally got dumped in the sink when draining it (I really shouldn’t let that stress me out. I mean, who cares, really? But I am blaming myself because I was too lazy and tired to cook. When I'm stressed I can't take kitchen disasters), but we ate it anyway. What’s a few coffee grounds mixed in? Just kidding there. It tasted fine and I would have gone hungry without him or had raisins for dinner.

Then we sat down to watch a video, and were maybe half through it when my friend called and needed a therapeutic talk. She had just come from a funeral/memorial service. I am doing my best to be there for other people, but the truth is that I have a very poor shoulder right now. It will crumble under the slightest pressure. I do not intend to let my friends down and run them off. If I do that, what will be left? Besides, I do care, and was very saddened by the person’s passing too, but I was a basket case by the end of the talk, I am just not strong now. The tension headache I had been fighting all week was in full-bloom, and I was completely frazzled and starting to break out in hives. A rapid walk around the block in the fresh night air helped a little after having a tantrum, and with assistance from a Xanax, a couple of ibuprophen, and sleeping with my head on an ice-pack I was able to get up at 5 and be at work at 7:30. Things that did no good at all but were expected to help: hot bubble bath, glass of wine.

Taking life in half-hour segments.

Friday Cat Porch Sitting

Jax: You know this chair really conforms to my contour, but it's a little hard to get out of, so I think I'll just sit here and contemplate... something... maybe the fact that there are a lot more geckos outside this screened porch since I started staying in.

- Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Justin's Random Thoughts on Sunday - - -

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Good gawdamighty!!! Christmas generally starts hitting you hard right after Halloween, but it's not even St. Patrick's Day yet, and this arrives today in our company e-mail:
Happy Holidays!!

Even though it is only March, please keep Tuesday, December 5th open, for the __________ Holiday Dinner Party. Because it was so much fun last year, the dinner will again be held at the ____________ Restaurant. Please mark your calendar and save the date.

More information will be coming in the months ahead.

We look forward to seeing you on December 5.

Hold the chips

This is a link I got around a month ago about workers getting identity implants. I guess it's only a matter of time before we all have to have these "beastly" things. ;-)

But you know... what could possibly go wrong? [*snort*] I mean, right now my driver's license has the wrong address on it due to a typo. I haven't gotten it corrected because it's a big pain and costs money. This is going to be on a whole new scale of screwed-up. Not even to mention the privacy issues... oh wait... there won't be any of those because privacy will be officially gone. Never mind.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

R.I.P. Jesse Taylor

Legendary Austin Texas guitarist who came out of Lubbock, first white man to play at Stubb's in Lubbock, guitarist for Joe Ely Band and the Flatlanders. Here's a benefit show gallery from almost a year ago. Even though he was the recipient of the benefit, he played his ass off with almost every band that day.

Here he is with the Flatlanders, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock. Joe Ely is out of the shot. Here is a month old article on Jesse from the local paper. It's got some pictures of his artwork.
EDIT: March 10. Here is the obit from the Statesman:
Austin American-Statesman obituary: Jesse Taylor loved playing guitar so much it became his middle name. Jesse, who passed away at his home in Austin Tuesday at 55, first heard an electric guitar blaring from a garage band in Lubbock. Jesse 'Guitar' Taylor set out to make his life being a rock 'n' roll musician, and to the lasting enrichment of Austin and Lubbock and many points in between, he managed it with the grace of his upbringing and an uproarious roadhouse style. Jesse had some wild hairs. He once walked out of an Austin beer joint during a band break and hopped a freight, just because he missed riding the rails. He jumped off the Congress Avenue bridge one night and surfaced in Town Lake with the realization, well now, that shore there is a pretty fair swim. The goatee and tattooed forearms and booted swagger were part of his statement. But when health slowed him down, he proved himself a gifted painter. Within all that was the heart of one of the world's kindest men. Born April 10, 1950, Jesse was raised in Lubbock by a remarkable mother, Martha Fain. She came from a family of Czech cotton farmers. He spent summers on the farms of his uncles, who at their dinner tables spoke the language of the old country. Jesse's friends growing up were a constellation of talent - Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, John X. Reed, Ponty Bone, Loyd Maines, T.J. McFarland. In 1967 Jesse joined the band of another Lubbock contemporary, Angela Strehli, and they headlined with rhythm and blues shows at the Vulcan Gas Company and in holes-in-the-wall on the east side. He was bouncing between Austin, California, Colorado, and back to Lubbock. He hitchhiked to get around, and one day a black man in a Cadillac picked him up. His name was C.B. "Stubb" Stubblefield. He parked the car in front of a barbecue joint and said, "Well, this is where I'm going." Jesse said he'd always wanted to go in that place. "I'll tell you what," said Stubb. "I got a barbecue sandwich and a cold beer that's got your name on it." Which led to the storied jams that Jesse organized on Sunday afternoons, and in the general migration of those years, brought the institution of Stubb's Barbecue and music to Austin. Jesse was the guitarist in Joe Ely's band from 1975 to 1982. Bonnie Raitt tried to hire him away, but Texas was where his loves and friendships and children were. He toured with Billy Joe Shaver and Kinky Friedman and, with his old friend John X. Reed, he recorded South Side Guitar in 2001. Jesse knew he was ailing by then, but the lead instrumental he composed was as rowdy and inspired as ever. The piece was called "Don't Give Up." Jesse is survived by his sister Kathy Taylor and brother Timothy Fain; his daughters Nicole Taylor, Chelsea Taylor, and Carrie Young; his niece Cara Fain; his grandsons Taylor Peterkin and Lucas Butler; and his loving partner Kim Elaine Stewart. Visitation to be from 7:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. Thursday March 9, 2006 at Cook/Walden N. Lamar in Austin, Tex. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday March 11, 2006 in the Resthaven Abbey Chapel on W. 19th St., Lubbock, Tex. Anyone wishing to help defray funeral expenses may send contributions to Kathy Taylor, 912 Koerner Lane, Austin, TX 78721.
Published in the Austin American-Statesman on 3/9/2006.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

24 Dead Pool

In an extension of my shallow TV and movie reviews, I am making my predictions on which characters are going to survive this season of 24. I was right in predicting that we’d lose Edgar. I am sad to see him go. I liked Edgar. He’s a good guy, and like Chloe, not a “Hollywood” character… more like somebody you actually work with. I hope that Chloe makes it, really. Chloe and Jack. To the end. And Tony! Yeah!

Jack’s daughter Kim is back with a new boyfriend who is older than her Dad for chrissake. Jack and the boyfriend are not going to be friends, which means the boyfriend gets to stick around awhile while they hate each other, but I think Kim is history. One more episode.

Audrey may also get one or two more episodes. Jack does not get to keep loved ones… it’s just a matter of time. Bill is going away because he’s a dull good guy. Too regular… and now Tony is recovered and will be able to take over CTU when Bill dies.

President Logan… oh please… does anybody need killing more than this guy? The Vice President is trying to compete but still hasn’t taken the prize. I think the First Lady will probably exit before the end. She will be caught in the crossfire or something, or maybe caught in another scandalous hand-holding episode with the head of Secret Service, which means he isn’t going to make it either. The nerve! Mike is probably going to take all of them out, but only as a last resort. One thing that will never happen is that the President will be in the White House, or anywhere near Washington DC. He and his whole staff are always in California in some facility that was decorated in the seventies.

Dave Barry missed this week's double ep, but still had some hilarious observations. See the sidebar. I will make no guess on who Jack will shoot in the thigh next.

EDIT: While I'm at it, I want to add Lynn (Sean Astin) to the list. It's not going to be pretty.

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Monday, March 06, 2006

The world inside the fence

Well, Spring is here and it's time for some changes. We have been trying to attract as many birds to the yard as possible, but everything seems to be working against it. First a hawk of some kind cleared the area pretty good of all birds, one way or the other, then we cleaned out the houses to find a lot of wasp nests.

Then this de-wasped house was moved closer to the house, and right away got the wasps back again. We are officially giving up on this birdhouse. Want a free birdhouse? Scrub it down before using.

My husband's been finding these great yard art bargains. I love this!! Cheap, funky, and pre-rusted. $7 at Top Drawer Thrift.

Here's another one!

In addition to almost giving up on birds, we also lost two trees this Spring. It really hurts but they were damaged and needed to go. Also, one was a big water-sucker, and we are still in a drought. It's going to be a lot sunnier in the yard, but, hey... welcome to Texas. This is one new little addition planted near where one of the old ones stood. It's a tiny baby live oak. Get ready for shade... in about 20 years.

Here's what's in the area of the other lost tree. I call these Robo-pots. Tub-Dudes. Gotta contain that bamboo though. We don't have enough real estate for invasives. I would love it, but not sure the neighbors want a yard full of bamboo. We have to ask ourselves, "What would Hank Hill want?" Um... probably not that.

There it is, the backyard in Spring, ready for thick wildflowers which will start busting out this month and peak next month... plus tons of butterflies... and tons of mosquitoes too. It's just that time of year.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Chris Whitley Tribute Show

We saw Chris Whitley once. It was a couple of years ago at a SXSW showcase. We weren't familiar with him, but really liked his sound. Steve Barber was playing keyboards in the set. We intended to see him again sometime but never did. All the musicians playing at the Tribute show also spoke about the last time they saw him. The picture is of Dan Whitley, his brother. We went not because we were that familiar with Chris, but because there was a good lineup of musicians, and it sounded like it would be really different, plus it was a good cause, and I'm very sad that Chris is gone.

We enjoyed all the bands! Dan Whitley was good, there were a few Houston bands I didn't know. Then came Vernon Reid (from Living Color), then Charlie Sexton. He sounded really really great. He was up there with lots of seasoned Austin regulars: Steve Barber, Billy Cassis, Courtney Audain, and J.J. Johnson. The trivia that came to mind was that Vernon Reid and Charlie have both opened for the Rolling Stones. After Charlie, Shawn Colvin played, and it's probably the best performance I've ever heard from her. Most of the time, she seems to allow the kids to turn the stage into a romper room, and those shows are not so good. This was excellent, and the kids did not perform.

After Shawn was the Barbwire Project, it's always worth going to see, and you will not know exactly what to expect. Stephen Barber, Tosca Strings, Eric Johnson, Chris Maresh, [I didn't know the drummer, it wasn't Bill Maddox as advertised], and Malford Milligan singing. No matter how much I am impressed by guitarists, none can hold a candle to Eric. Such a beautiful sound from a guitar! Also it sounded pretty good with a string quartet. Malford was incredible.

Alejandro Escovedo and Stephen Bruton did not play, probably because of time constraints, but that's just a guess.

The Glenn was a nice surprise as a venue. It had really good sound and you can see the stage from everywhere. On the negative side, it is part of a "growth" project that is very sad, and some aspects of it make no sense at all. Once upon a time, The Backyard amphitheatre was a funky music venue out in the sticks with trees growing inside it (some obstructed views, yes... part of the funkiness), and a beautiful backdrop of trees for the stage. Then they bulldozed everything around there, built the whole gamut of strip mall stores (Lowe's, Michael's, you-name-it). They left The Backyard there and put in The Glenn as a separate but attached venue. for example, the toilets are at The Backyard... so it takes a long walk to get there. This could discourage beer-drinking... or encourage other behaviors... and why they need both venues is something I cannot understand. Anyway, it's there, and it's nice, not as nice as the trees that were ripped out but nicer than having an extra chain store.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Brokeback Pez

Just in time for the Oscars! This pair is up to $80 on eBay!!

Found via fark.

Post-Oscar EDIT: I am shocked! It's been awhile since I've seen such a surprise ending for the Oscars. I didn't even like Crash all that much. not saying it wasn't good, just my personal feeling.

I'm a Sphinx!

You are a Sphinx! You are mocked for your unusual appearance, but you are very loving and devoted. People just need to give you a chance!

What breed of cat are you?
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Friday Cute-a-Palooza Tabby-style

Henry is just doing what he's best at, being the cutest and sweetest cat in Texas, and most likely beyond. Without a mean bone in his body, this 14 year old snuggle machine can be fluffed up and placed in nearly any spot, and he will purr, coo, make a few biscuits, and go to sleep, which will be followed by an even cuter little snoring session.

His poor eye needs prednisone to keep it from itching and scarring, but Henry doesn't complain. He's got nuthin' but love.

- Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Catcall on Sunday - - -

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Polar Ice on The Bay

This kind of stuff gets me thinking about the monetary value of things. Take a look at the painting. Maybe it is created a little differently - by pouring thinned paint on an unprimed surface. It's pretty. I like the colors, it's very pleasant-looking. If you saw this painting in the thrift store, you might pay... what? $10? $20? Maybe $20 if it matches the sofa. At Sears you might pay $100, maybe $200 (the frame would cost that!!). This painting is valued at 1.5 million dollars. That was before a 12 year old boy stuck his wad of chewing gum on it at the Detroit Institute of Arts. It has now been stained by the gum and they are researching the proper chemicals to restore it.

What about the salaries of baseball players, managers and owners? Are they worth those salaries? Is their contribution to society worth all those millions? Well, they are bringing the money in - with all the tickets sold, here comes the pile of money - so they must be worth it since they are bringing it in.

What makes a painting worth so much money? The name on the signature? A famous artist doodles on a napkin. A rock star sweats on a towel. A movie star leaves a half-eaten sandwich. What is Picasso's toilet paper worth? I guess the answer is really simple - things are worth whatever people will pay for them.

I think that maybe they should leave the chewing gum there. We now have a physical marker of a newsworthy event where a young person was maybe making a personal statement about this art. Noooo... you aren't allowed to stick gum on or otherwise mess up other people's stuff.... but $1.5M? Interesting. Yes, I know. I'm crude and have no taste. No need to tell me.

EDIT 3/3: The name of the painting is "The Bay". Polar Ice is the gum.

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