Friday, April 20, 2007


THE GRUENE HALL IS FAMOUS. Almost every country music star or hopeful has played there at some time in their career. The place is old and storied. History is loaded onto that stage.

We are going to see Raul Malo... who used to be the lead singer of the Mavericks. I'm not sure they really ever broke up, but he's been soloing for a few years now. Think a Roy Orbison voice coming from sort of a Hispanic? Jack Black... that's the idea. Somewhere long ago in these Blog archives are some phone shots from the last concert at Antone's, here in Austin.

There's "standing only," and I expect we'll be behind many cowboy hats and raised beer bottles, so it's a listen more than a look see. If allowed, I'll try the phone camera. I don't want to bring my DSLR with a long lens only to have the lens fogged by the collective sweat of ranch hands out for a party, and their wimmin.

Last concert we stood for 5 hours. But we were touching the stage. This time, not so close!

Wish I had cowboy boots... but you know, you are what you are, and I, and the rest of the whole dang (!) world will have to live with that. I only hope the yuppie arrow over my head is dimly lit.

The picture above is facing a weekend daytime artist playing from the other end of the room.

I was thinking how cool it would be to put Terri on my shoulders - after all - she has Raul sing to her in her car quite often. But the ambulance ride would be hot and noisy, I think. And probably not covered.

Frankly, I don't know what to expect... except a cool joint full of standees and loud music around the voice of perhaps the best singer out there today. Yeah, he's that good.

Above: I actually got a thrill out of standing on the same stage where all those famous people stood. None looked as dorky as I do.

Some thoughts for self:

Don't call anyone "pard."

Don't ask big guy to remove cowboy hat.

Don't ask for a can of longneck.

Don't look at another man's woman. And if caught, think fast. Don't try to joke. "She looks like my mother!" is not funny. "Nice rack" is a bad evening in two words.

Don't call anyone "amigo," "hombre" or "muchacho."

"El Banyo" is not a tropical drink.

Don't ask for a Black Russian. Explain to Terri this could be a bad request.

When whistling approval, be careful not to shoot spit into the neck of Marlboro Man in front of me.

------------------------------ The very next day --------------------------------

It wasn't at all what I expected (or they said it would be, i.e.: most of the people were seated and it was a sellout! Only about a half dozen cowboy hats in the room. MANY wimmin - Raul has that certain something I believe.

They loved him and he was as good as the last time we saw him do virtually the same show.

Phone shot is blurred by lack of light. MANY phones lit up all night as people took pictures! Almost immediately upon walking in, some guy started talking to us - he was 65, obviously retired, drives around the country in an RV to play golf. "LOVES EVERY DAY OF HIS LIFE!" Talk about friendly! I told him we were brothers of the white beard. His goal is to play an 85 round when he's 85.

Well, that's my take on this area - friendly people. It's a good place to be!

The Gruene Hall is the coolest spot on earth too. Like being in a movie (it was: Urban Cowboy). Good sound, good sight lines, nice people, a perfect night --- perfect temperature (both side walls open to screens.)

Thursday, April 19, 2007


With new pressure being put on them, among others, Russell Simmons, Chairman, and Dr. Benjamin Chavis, President of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, issued this statement:

"Hip-hop is a worldwide cultural phenomena that transcends race and doesn't engage in racial slurs. Don Imus' racially-motivated diatribe toward the Rutgers' women's basketball team was in no way connected to hip-hop culture. As Chairman and President of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), respectively, we are concerned by the false comparisons some in the media are making between Don Imus and hip-hop. We want to clarify what we feel very strongly is an obvious difference between the two. HSAN believes in freedom of artistic expression. We also believe, with that freedom, comes responsibility. Don Imus is not a hip-hop artist or a poet. Hip-hop artists rap about what they see, hear and feel around them, their experience of the world. Like the artists throughout history, their messages are a mirror of what is right and wrong with society. Sometimes their observations or the way in which they choose to express their art may be uncomfortable for some to hear, but our job is not to silence or censor that expression. Our job is to be an inclusive voice for the hip-hop community and to help create an environment that encourages the positive growth of hip-hop. Language can be a powerful tool. That is why ones intention, when using the power of language, should be made clear. Comparing Don Imus' language with hip-hop artists' poetic expression is misguided and inaccurate and feeds into a mindset that can be a catalyst for unwarranted, rampant censorship."

Check out some of their lyrics if you want to be up-to-date on the issue. I don't think it's appropriate to spread it. Unless composted.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Over the years I've weaned myslef off of caffeine. Non-caffinated sodas, decaf coffee, little tea infrequently. Yeah, I know there's some in chocolate but I am blind to that because it's CHOCOLATE.

Today we went tot he Art Festival downtown. It's a good juried show (we even bought some art and are now culchured!) But it was windy and cool. Very windy at times. We sought warm liquid and bought regular leaded coffee.

I am fighting to keep the words true here as my buzz wants me to type faster and that leads to more mistakes and I'll just leave them for you to prove that this stuff ios the devil's brew. (Not bad, not too many misspellings.)

We stopped for lunch. I had tea. Anywhere in the South you get tea that isn't anything like the liquid they serve up north. I never could figure out why, but tea here means iced tea and it's brewed and always good. And has more caffeine to add to the coffee. I feel nervous and jittery. Like Barney Fife pointing his gun.

Anyway, whether or not it was caffeine-fueled or eye-inspired, we now have 3 pieces of cool art from an artist from Santa Fe. Here's what we got. I'd say each piece is about 8.5 inches square.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Have you seen the collection they have? Everythingin the universe is covered.

and on and on.

Terri saved me, with PHOTOSHOP FOR DUMMIES. I need it. I am so helpless, even after watching ten videos on how to do it (really: it's their special gift... ten videos... online and reasonably short.)

Meanwhile I can't help but notice that VOLVO has a new tech gadget - a heartbeat monitor for your car.

The woman approaches her car on a rooftop parking ramp, in the dark, after working late. Her Volvo sits alone. She pulls out her key chain and the key fob indicates a HEARTBEAT in her car. She smartly leaves the area.

I wonder how tuned the thing is? Say there are two teenagers in the car, making out furiously. Would the keything explode, start a fire in the owner's purse, setting off another explosion of pepper spray and aerosol perfume?

I saw another ad (not that I was looking) for a male 'ahem' stimulant. It's like a breath strip. You place it under your tongue when you are ready for action. I wonder if they backfire and can make your tongue hard and uh, elongated?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


And moved it. And man, there was a lot of it. 15 cubic yards. Gen-u-ine Revitalizer(tm) Compost, declared as Savior of Our Lawn, which till now has been a shrine to weeds.

I bit off more than I can chew. Man, that's a bad choice of words.

I knew little about compost. I know more now. I have experienced compost moments.

The dump truck driver was like a ballerina in his skill at putting it exactly where I wanted. And this was a dual-wheel big bad boy truck. Nice to see a pro do his stuff!

The compost was steaming.

It smells a little earthy, but that's it.

I shoveled, raked, and repositioned bucketsfull of this stuff from about 8:30AM till 5:30PM with only a few breaks for water or a banana. And one half hour for phone calls.

Charles Horse, the vigilante reminder of work just done, visited my body in several surprising locations. Gnarled up good a few times.

I have 'a bad back' so I realize I tempted fate. So far I can still do most things.
Some, reasonably well, but that's another story.

Will the grass edge out the weeds? Only time will tell.