Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The House may flip but save our Dist25. Vote Doggett.

It bugs me when people put their photos on their political signs, whether I like the person or not. What are they trying to do? Show their attractiveness? That's bull, or it should be. I guess we all know that looks are enough for some voters. But when you put your picture on a huuuge political sign like this one - you are lucky if all it gets is a moustache. Ha ha!!!

She goes by the nickname "Dr. Donna," and I don't like having to think of a mean teabag instead of this awesome character when I hear "Doctor-Donna" but we are stuck with that situation for another week until the election.

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, who is a real progressive and not a Blue Dog, points out that DD is not much in favor of government-supported education - which is pretty amazing to me considering that she is a medical doctor who had to put herself through school while working other jobs.


Her spew is the carbon-copy of the Tea Party, hate and fear-mongering, and she's proud of the fact that she gets her news from Beck, Hannity and Rush. Nothing different here, it's a teabot, as far on the fringe as anybody running and that's saying a lot.

I found it amusing in a sad way that her opponent, Doggett, merely posted unaltered videos of her speaking at rallies and giving her views, then all he needed to do was tack his approval text blurb at the end. No need for him to try to spin anything or cast lights and shadows. Just look and listen. We're done. Those are posted beginning here.

Really starting to like that 'stache though!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Love this guitar-lovin' town

On Sunday from 3-8pm we went to a music show at Threadgill’s, it was the 15th birthday party for the Austin School of Music (ASM). The weather was just great and the music was too. It was free to get in with a donation to HAAM strongly encouraged.

Austin is a music town, and a music school not only provides great opportunities for students to learn from amazing teachers, but it also provides employment for great musicians as those teachers.

Highlights:
Darin Murphy
Had not seen him for years, and only knew him as a drummer who sang, and as a Beatle nut (and that is a total compliment) who got to play John Lennon on Broadway in 2005. He blogged about Lennon on HuffPost here (and I find it surreal that sooo many of us learned about Lennon's demise from Howard Cosell). Anyway, we really, really enjoyed his set with his band, which I would call pop music with Beatle flavoring. Listen on MySpace

Darin Layne
A phenomenal local guitarist who plays in many different styles. He was playing electric on Sunday, but here's a clip below where he's acoustic and more in the World Music vein. We really need to see him more often.
Check out Darin Layne on MySpace

Dave Sebree
Van Wilks

Dave is the guy who is the "CEO" of the ASM, and is one of the finest guitarists around. I was excited about his band playing because he hardly ever plays a gig! That's why we are glad we got these videos. On bass is Glenn Rexach who also played a nice set on guitar. This one I would describe as an emotional blues beauty.

Here's another Sebree band song, this one is up-tempo and infectious. I like it!

And finally, here's a powerful melodic guitar duo from Dave and (another local legend) Van Wilks. It's called "Halfway to Avalon," one they wrote together, and I know you can buy it on this collection but not sure if it's available anywhere else.

[addendum: forgot to mention Suzanna Choffel, but this post was already packed.]

Had to share...

Monday, October 25, 2010

I would notice $3,000. Pretty sure of that.

From HuffPo: How to Save $2,997 a Year on Food Without Even Noticing

Another pet peeve helpful numbered listing that I can't resist picking at. I am just hoping to find one that's really helpful to me personally someday...

1. Eat Vegetarian a Few Nights a Week
Savings: $210 per year. (Replace 1 pound of sirloin [$5.99] with a 14-ounce block of tofu [$1.96] once a week for a year.)
We eat vegetarian every night. No help here.
2. Minimize Waste
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw out more than 25 percent of the food we prepare.
...
Savings: $590 per year. (Estimated value of the food an average American household of four wastes in a year.)
25%?? We throw out almost nothing, except the broccoli stalks that MrB won't eat. And those are made into compost along with coffee grounds and empty toilet paper rolls.
3. Plug in the Slow Cooker
Savings: $78 per year. (Replace 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast [$4.99] with 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs [$3.49] once a week for a year.
Their reasoning is that the crock pot lets you use cheaper meat because of the stewing process. N/A, no help.
4. Discover Great Ways to Use Canned Fish
Savings: $224 per year. (Replace 1 pound of fresh tuna [$7.99] with 1 pound of canned tuna [$3.68] once a week for a year.)
Canned fish is cat food. N/A again.
5. Don't Order a Pizza. Make One at Home
Savings: $520 per year. (Make pizza once a week instead of ordering.)
OK, this one is debatable. The last time I created a pizza myself, it cost more than ordering it, but it was such a long time ago that there was meat on it. Any thoughts? Cheaper or not?
6. Pack a Lunch
Savings: $1,375 per year. (Replace an $8.50 lunch with a $3 lunch from home 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year.)
Now they're talking! We always pack lunches and it does save a bundle - as promised. I guess this one and #5 both have enjoyment factors to consider. Do you enjoy cooking enough to make pizza from scratch and then clean up the mess?

Do you like a social setting for lunch, something away from the office? Most people do, I think. I really don't. I have an office, so I close (and lock) my door during lunch, eat my cheapo nonfat tofu dog with lo-cal bread and fat-free condiments and garnish, plug in the earbuds and watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, or maybe Rachel or Keith, on their respective websites. So... already doing this one so adapting it wouldn't represent change.

Indeed!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Morning Honky Tonk Church

I was looking up Kitty Wells on wikipedia and realied that she was born exactly one week before my mother (in the same year). From that entry:
Her 1952 hit recording, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels", made her the first female country singer to top the U.S. country charts, and turned her into the first female country star.
Kitty's still with us and is 91 now. I was raised on her music and still have a couple of old 45s, including this song:

I've added a few studio versions of this song to my old-timey jukebox. Emmylou Harris's is pretty sweet too.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Name Dropper Meme

This meme was started by konagod and I decided to play.

Make a list of famous people you have randomly seen in public, people you have heard of but don't know. If you want to play along, do it (and let me know in comments so I can see your list).

Rules: It has to be something random and unexpected. You can't list Madonna if you paid money to see her in concert! However, if she invited you up on stage, then you can list her.

Early 1950s, when I was a baby or perhaps a toddler, our family went to see the now legendary Marty Robbins and Marty picked me up and carried me around on the stage for awhile. I don't imagine that I have ever been cuter than that in my entire life. This was before Marty had released any records. When I was a teenager my mother and I met him again, and she embarrassed me by asking him if he remembered this little girl (pointing to me) and carrying her around on stage. He politely replied that he remembered it. The video is from close to that time, a little later, and features his first hit song.

In late 1967 my mother and I took a bus trip to LA/Hollywood, Sunset Strip. I was a fangirl (teenybopper was the term in use at the time). We went to the Whisky a Go Go where I saw Stephen Stills (then of Buffalo Springfield, one of my favorite bands) in the crowd. The bands playing in the club were Steppenwolf and Iron Butterfly (pre- In-a-gadda-da-vida). Later that night we saw the now-late Gene Clark from the Byrds sitting in a diner.

In 1970 or 1971 when I was a bleached blonde teenager, Chuck Berry was playing a free concert on a big green space at SIU-C'dale IL. He was late showing up and some a-hole audience members started chanting his first name along with another word that rhymed with it. OK, that part is irrelevent... but not this. I was standing close to the stage (as I am known to do even to this day) and when he got there, he put one arm around me and another around another young girl - and he grabbed a handful of my teenaged ass cheek before letting go. In honor of that, I give you Sweet Little Sixteen from a 1972 show.

I was never a groupie or anything, so this was just a novelty occurence. Several years later, it is entirely possible that I could have been featured in Chuck Berry's Home Movies, otherwise known as the spy cameras he had installed in the women's bathroom at his Wentzville restaurant, the Southern Air, because I visited it during that time time. [second paragraph]

Within the last 10 years, Austin:
I don't really seek out sightings here, but star-spotting is certainly something you could engage in. We were at the Continental Club around the time "The Alamo" was being filmed down the road, and there, standing in the reasonably uncrowded room watching James Hand was Dennis Quaid. He had a beard for his role, but the grin is unmistakable. Nobody was pestering him and we didn't either. He is a fan of James Hand.

We were at the SW Austin Costco one day, and one of our 2 Republican Senators, John "box turtle" Cornyn walked right past us.

My fun one is from the Bruce Willis / Del Castillo / Chingón show, a.k.a Robert Rodriguez' concert at Antone's while filming for Sin City was going on. I was up next to the stage when Willis jumped down into the audience, so there we were... all pressed up against Bruce Willis. I did put my arm around him and hugged his waist, but did not pull a Chuck Berry! Rodriguez was filming the whole thing so I'm sure he's got that somewhere in his home movies (which I would vastly prefer to see rather than Chuck Berry's!!).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friday Furbabies and Mean Eyed Cats

Henry just looks like he might have some good advice. He thinks that you should take it easy, and pet him more in his new chair - or he thinks it's his chair. More about that chair later. Henry, regardless of how sensible he looks, has been very silly lately, and every morning he insists on getting in the shower with his mom. Who's bothered by a good soaking? Not this guy.
This is the next-door neighbor cat, Martin. He's been on here before, and he is still coming over for daily belly-rubbins. Go to the link above for embedded video of this silly, flippin' cat, or just click here.Martin looks mean here, but he is totally sweet. He has a black brother who is very people-shy and comes over only to poop in the yard but not for rubbins, and he is perfectly welcome to come over for any reason at all. Speaking of a mean eyed cat, we went to the Mean Eyed Cat bar tonight (which is the greatest-looking place you ever saw but is being engulfed by the surrounding stifling yuppification), we were going to see the Texas Sapphires*, but they had to cancel because the bar didn't renew its live music license. Not sure what the deal is there, but they need to fix that detail.

*Do check out the Texas Sapphires if you love real country drinkin dancin music with no plastic, and have got a couple of really good records out too. They just played a gig last week with the one and only Wanda Jackson (in Houston).

Alright everybody (cats too), let's get through Friday.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Obscure DVD review

Jimi Hendrix: Rainbow Bridge

IMDB
Wikipedia


The movie is about an outsider (Pat Hartley) visiting a religious hippie cult on Maui in 1970. It called itself (or at least its location) the “Rainbow Bridge Occult Research Meditation Center.” It’s like a 60s* version of Slacker. Her journey starts in LA with the Jesus Freaks making their pitches, then continues on to Maui with these really cosmic, beautiful people who are searching for spiritual enlightenment through any means necessary. Then Jimi Hendrix shows up, lays a cosmic rap on his hosts including something about hanging with Cleopatra, flirts with Pat a lot, then plays this outdoor show at the mercy of the winds of the volcanic landscape. They called the concert the “Rainbow Bridge Vibratory Color/Sound Experiment.”

This movie is categorized as a documentary. Not really sure if the definition holds, as there is a rough script. People are playing themselves and often (or mostly) seemingly ad-libbing – just saying whatever they, themselves, would say at that moment. The fact that they are mostly not actors and are playing themselves creates lots of unintentionally hilarious dialogue. If everybody is high and the cameras are rolling, you are bound to capture some crazy crap.

Hendrix’s manager was into this group, and invested. They decided to make a film and Chuck Wein (from Andy Warhol’s Factory bunch) got involved and brought along Pat Hartley, who was another Warhol star and all-around foxy lady.

This is not really a Jimi Hendrix concert film, but it does contain some very interesting and important footage of Hendrix, both in concert and candid. It was his second to last ever American performance (July 30, 1970**) – an outdoor show set up near a Maui volcano – but him being part of it is just a sprinkle of flavor. It’s a small piece of the whole.

This is a good article written by something who was there and involved with the film. I recommend reading that, and watching this film too - especially if you don't mind the B-movie quality and want to have a laugh or two. Very trippy. Couldn't help wondering how many of these people ended up in the Tea Party or something.

*And it’s a 60s movie even though it was shot in 1970 and released a few years later. Culturally it's definitely 60s.

** I got to see Hendrix myself just a little over 3 weeks earlier than that at the Atlanta Pop Festival.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

____tober!

Rocktober continues with the inability of Marketing to resist the October Twist. I give you

This one is hard to forgive:

But the cuteness of these cars goes a long way. Awwwwww! I want one!!

HA HA

[LINK] the Vatican seems to think that the Simpsons are Catholic. From the Vatican newspaper:
"Few people know it and he does everything to hide it but it is true: Homer J. Simpson is Catholic"
"'The Simpsons' remain among the few programs for children in which the Christian faith, religion and the question of God are recurring themes," it said. "The family recites prayers together before meals and, in its own way, believes in heaven."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

This might be as good as it gets for you, and you better get right with it

I was moved by this, have been seeing reminders lately of Austin musician, Stephen Bruton, who died in May of 2009 of his cancer. I miss his voice and his incredible way with words.
This might be as good as it gets for you, and you better get right with it, right now.

Here's a video I've had on here before, but I'm loving it again tonight. Heart of Hearts - The Resentments


e·piph·a·ny
   /ɪˈpɪfəni/
–noun, plural -nies.
  1. ( initial capital letter ) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.
  2. an appearance or manifestation, esp. of a deity.
  3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
  4. a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.

...and they appear, right on cue

See "It's UFO Day"

...or is it a Ten Thirteen Production?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

It's UFO day

Retired Air Force officer Stanley A. Fulham predicts in his book that today, Oct 13 2010, there will be a large-scale visit of Earth by extra-terrestrials. [news article] [Fulham website]

It's actually an excellent choice for an alien invasion. Today is also the birthday of "X-Files" creator Chris Carter, and he deserves a toast for creating one of my favorites TV shows ever (even though it suffered painfully through its last season or two). It is also the birthday of the show's Fox Mulder. Carter called his company "Ten Thirteen Productions" (and included the show "Millennium") and the number 1013 crops up frequently in the X-Files.

I find this to be a good excuse to post this pic of Duchovny, Anderson and Carter as they appeared inside the Rolling Stone X-Files issue.


So, happy birthday to Carter and my favorite fictional FBI agent, Mulder. Keep watching the skies, and all hail our alien overlords.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My work retreat was merely boring

HuffPo Quick Read: "Attorney Steven Eggleston was suspicious when his boss pressed him to attend a weekend male retreat, but refused to tell him what would be happening there, saying participants were sworn to secrecy.

So he did a Google search and found out why.

Men would be holding hands and walking naked, blindfolded, through a forest. Then they would sit nude in groups of 30 to 50, passing around a wooden dildo and giving lurid details of their sexual history. Eggleston said he found out that the men will grab each other's penises if they wish."

Whole article: What Do You Say to a Naked Lawyer? Here's a Suit.

He says that the retreat was optional, but not attending caused the firm to stop paying him.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Art and music: It's All Too Much

Peter Max has an exhibition going at a gallery here, and this weekend they had a couple of "meet the artist" events. I haven't attended any events like this before even though the opportunities arise. As we walked in, the crowds were still fairly light, and there he was, Peter Max, sitting right there on the window display ledge!

The entire gallery was filled with gorgeous color. He paints many very similar paintings, and the one above was there twice, both originals. I believe it is (they are) from 2007 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Summer of Love. This is the style of his that I love, the psychedelic pop art that was animated in Yellow Submarine. He also has a style that is Fauvist/Expressionist that is much more unconstructed-looking than the ones I generally associate with him, and you can see several examples of those here.

I think what really inspired me to go see his work in person was picking up the "ACL 2010" special issue of the Austin Chronicle. He created this art especially for the ACL Festival [more on that], and I really loved it. It captures a very important part of the festival experience, in that there are 2 sides to Zilker Park, each with a headlining stage, and the acts on those stages will be playing at the same time. Then there are 2 smaller but-still-pretty-big stages at each end that are going when those are not. You can stand in the middle and get a cacophony of both at any one time. (I will reserve the rest of my usual sound-bleedover rant for another time)
While we were visiting the gallery (red circle) we could easily hear the music coming from one of the big stages (larger red shape).That's OK. I love loud music. I just don't like being able to hear several bands at once (they have 8 stages, not 4, it's way too many in my opinion) [must. not. rant.]

I thought beforehand that autograph-seeking might be considered tacky, and that was so true... nobody did it, he did not really mingle while we were there (although he walked right past me at one point), and I believe that the security people would have prevented such a thing. I found out the next day that at another show he was signing copies of his coffee table book if you brought them with you. If I had known that in time, it would have happened. A Peter Max art book would be delightful to have, especially with an added doodle. I did bring my copy of the Chronicle, just in case, and hoped that they might be selling posters that could be autograph-able. As it turns out, there were posters, but the posters were there as a gift to anyone buying a piece of art. If you bought something, then he would sign a poster for you and even pose for a photo with you and your prize.

As for these prizes, they were well out of our price range. Most of the big attention-getters and ones I'd love to own were priced between $20,000 and $50,000. There was another level of much smaller or lower-profile things that you could get for about $5,000. There were many delightful things in that range, but some others that bring on a different kind of rant when it comes to art. For example, there was a series of paintings of the Texas flag, which is very simple and highly recognizable. I think that when it come to establishing the value of art, so much of it is merely the who and not the what. Here is a series of paintings depicting the Texas flag. Some of them are quite expressive. Some are less so.






One of these can be had for about $5,000, and the others, I would imagine, for quite a bit less.

Other artist links: [Timothy Raines] [Mark Merrill] [KAT]

The question of what is art/not art, and what is valuable/not valuable is a very loaded question that you can stay up all night talking about but will never resolve it. There is no right answer. Sometimes, it's just about the signature. Sometimes, it's so much more!

* title is a reference to a song from Yellow Submarine.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Get it in gear - high or low - let's go


Took this video Thursday morning, 9:30AM, at Threadgill's (Morning radio party with lots of bands). It's a laid-back pop ballad from Charlie Mars called "Listen to the Dark Side." Charlie has played here many many times but this was the first time I saw him.

ACL (Austin City Limits Music Festival) starts today (Friday) but we are not going this year. There is really a lot going on though. The side events that orbit the festival are growing every year. Lots to do and see, paid events, free events, and perfect weather predicted.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

This Week in Bugs

On Saturday, MrB saw these gorgeous moths, motionless in this position, and just an inch away was their eggs were deposited (which look like very tiny green grapes). I was very careful not to disturb anything, because I love having these creatures, they are so big and beautiful. From head to head in this picture, it measures about 2.25 inches. The next day, I noticed that they were still motionless, so I was rather touched by how they had mated, produced eggs and then died mating. Awwwww. Well, on Sunday afternoon they both moved. It was only a few inches, so at least one of them is not dead yet (I guess theoretically the live one could have nudged the other one's position). By Monday they had moved even further apart, but they are taking their time. I guess they are just hanging out with the family unit. Bugs! It will take an "insect communicator" to figure this one out. These are called "Giant Leopard Moths" (or "Great Leopard Moths") and they favor hanging out on this exact part of the porch. I'm just going to try not to disturb this little family and see what happens.

This bug scared me a little. He was over an inch long and looked intimidating. I wasn't sure if he was a giant fly, wasp, or what. Turns out, he's a "Robber Fly." It will bite you if you handle it, but apparently is is not looking to bite humans. They eat some bugs I'd like to get rid of (like wasps) but also others I want to keep, like bees and dragonflies. This fly will not get swatted, he is just part of that backyard jungle, survival of the badassedest.

(I think I just made up a word. Hey Sarah Palin, does make make me similar to Shakespeare?)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Crystal Method, Cat Version

Since Henry has asthma, I am in a Yahoo group for that ailment. There is some useful information sometimes. Asthma kitties need steroids, 2 kinds of inhaled meds, and "trigger" controls (chemicals, dust, bad cat litter, etc.).

Generally, people on these kinds of lists are pretty religious (just like the general public), and I always cringe when they insist that their deceased cats are looking down on them, and that they are angels and are now waiting for us in Heaven (so, are they watching us or waiting in Heaven, or watching us in Heaven via big brother cam?).

However, usually the people coming in with new age, homeopathic remedies, or anything that is used as an alternate to the pharms are generally firmly scolded and corrected. In the following example, though, the cat's mom is using inhalers, but also using the services of an animal communicator.

OK, I am the skeptical type but I won't say that there's no ESP because I have sort of experienced it from time to time - it's unexplained, I can leave it there - a lots of things in nature are unexplained, it doesn't mean they don't exist, doesn't mean they do either. I also always think I know what my cat and husband are thinking. Am I right? This particular cat whisperer is also doing "crystal healing." Some excerpts from one person's postings:
I've been using an animal communicator and [my cat] told her his chest feels tight all the time, even though we're giving him a lot of flovent inhaler. It occurs to me that if I gave him a little Albuterol on a regular basis that it might make him feel better.
When she does the communication she writes down everything she said, the cats response, the emotional responses, etc. This time she also did an energetic healing session and the result was DRAMATIC. I think [my cat] benefitted both by talking to her about his feelings of frustration at not feeling well as much as by the energetic healing she did.
And quoting the healer herself:
I worked on [your cat]'s energy for a few minutes. I sensed that his life force energy was degraded and low because he's been feeling badly for a long time. He didn't have any reserves left to tap into. I've been taught that our bodies have energetic crystals in a number of places, so I removed and replaced the crystals in his lungs, heartspace, and stomach, and sent soothing, healing energy to his digestive tract. OK, just going back now to send more energy and oxygen to his bronchioles and other structures inside the lungs. Low energy can come from low blood oxygen level that doesn't provide enough oxygen to the cells. I cleared out the debris from his faith, trust, hope, etc. crystals that reside in the chest area, and polished them to make them clean and sparkly. I also changed out his entire crystalline spine to uplift his life force energy, and re-oriented the crystal in his crown chakra because it seemed like his divine connection was not entirely intact. I'm not sure whether or not all of this will be enough. It feels like we will know more in the morning, after he has a chance to sleep and restore his body and spirit. I will ask angels to attend him in the night, and to stay as long as he (and you!) need them. Please let me know how he's doing when you get a chance, and we'll go from there.
(please don't itemize that stuff on the invoice. It will look silly.)

No. Really. Actually I have some friends who really believe in alternate healing methods like this, and I have to say, at least it's not dangerous (unless you go off your meds), and you aren't ingesting mega-vitamins or herbals that will have side effects. Also, I am very jealous of this cat in the video below. Can I be next in line?

Friday Java Jive

Here's what I've got stuck in my head, and I don't even want it to leave. Maybe it will improve your morning like that first slug of that wonderful mug.