Ramblin’ 5/10/17

I’m currently working on a Dum Dum. The sucker! Some call these tasty treats lollipops. We did not refer to them as such in Lower Alabama when I was growing up, We called them suckers. That’s what they shall remain in my frame of reference.

We did not call our tasty carbonated beverages soda or, God forbid, pop, either. They were “Co-Colas.” It didn’t matter if the drink was a Pepsi, RC, Dr. Pepper, or “Big” Orange. It was a “Co-Cola.” I will have to admit that I picked up on the term soda while we were residing in the beautiful Hudson Valley area of Upstate New York. My fellow Southerners can penalize me for that.

Speaking of colloquialisms, as some of you know, I have immersed myself in the crime mystery novels of the incomparable James Lee Burke. And I will continue to lavish praise on his brilliant prose and stunning imagery every chance I get. “Hit” don’t get no better.

Anyway, the Louisiana and Cajun colloquialisms I’ve learned in his Dave Robicheaux series are just wonderful. “Podna,” “Cher,” “Making groceries,” “Dat,” “Dem,”  “Neutral ground,” and “Fais do do” among them. (Look, ’em up, you!)

The omission of the letter “H” in Cajun speech is something I love. Thing becomes “t’ing” and mouth becomes “mout’,” for instance.

And now we have Canned Heat’s “Goin’ Up the Country” playing on this setlist composed by Apple Music.

It takes me back to an early scene in the Woodstock movie. When that song comes on  my mind immediately see’s  thousands of hippies descending on Max Yasgur’s farm in New Bethel/White Lake, New York. Volkswagen vans, peace signs, tie dyes, head bands, joints, and nuns flashing peace signs.

The power of association.

By the way, BTW in today’s texting/desrtuction of the King’s English world, the setlist is entitled “What are Earth’s Favorite Songs?” Some of its features… “Mother Nature’s Son,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Green River,” “After the Gold Rush,” and “Paradise.”

The one that really struck me, thus far, is one by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. It is a medley of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” with “When You Wish Upon a Star” and some other stuff thrown in there. He plays the ukulele. And it brought tears to my eyes.

The power of association. Words. Tunes. Sounds. Smells.

Let’s play some “first word(s) that come to your mind.”

Okay! I’ll provide the words and you make the association.

Music… Love… Hate… Sucker… Rain… Work… Bun… Peace… God.

How’d you do wid dat, you?

Is it summer at your locale yet? It is here at 116 Sundown Way in beautiful Acworth, Gawja. The high is expected to hit around 86 today and 89 tomorrow. 80% chance of rain Thursday, though.

And last weekend? The most miserable night I’ve ever attempted to spend outdoors at an event. And it wasn’t Legion Field in December. It was Hotlanta in MAY!

A dear friend came up from Alabammy, got the four of us a driver for the evening, an Escalade SUV, and took us to see Chris Stapleton. It was 40 something degrees (don’t know what it was with wind chill) with swirling winds and rain that cut us down to the bone!

We got there at the end of the second opening act’s last couple of songs and could only make it through one song by Chris and his band. “Might As Well Get Stoned.” Tell me about it.

But, we wound up at Wild Wing Cafe, in Alpharetta, and then back to 116. A good time was had by all in spite of the brutal “cold and damp” ($1 to Simon and Garfunkel).

Wow! There’s a song I wouldn’t have necessarily thought I would like. It was will. i. am’s “S.O.S.”

And now here’s one by the Friends of Distinction! For all of you out there in radioland. “Grazing in the Grass!” Can you dig it?

That’s my last one for you good folks!

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Peace out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramblin’ 4/20/17 (And the Summer of ’73)

Have mercy! It’s been far too long since we rambled! The truth of the matter is that I have been doing a whole lot of reading (James Lee Burke) and very little writing. I need to do both. We shall strive to do better.

It’s April 20th or 4/20. 4/20 is a huge day for many who partake of cannabis sativa. Here is an article that seeks to trace the origins of  this “high” holy day.

*Disclaimer*  The editorial staff at Ramblin’ in no way condones the use of mind altering substances. But if one chooses to do so… be cool. My apologies to Jeff Sessions.

And what has Apple Music conjured up for us today? Rock Hits: 1973.

1973. Whew! That was the year that was. It started with my second attempt to master an academic agenda at Auburn University, which also failed for a second time, and ended with the University of Alabama being upset by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the Sugar Bowl on 12/31. Yes, the Tide was a 7-point-favorite and there were many of us in Wilcox County who lost a goodly sum of money on that contest. I won’t name names but you know who you are.

Sigh.

From mid-March through mid-September of ’73 I was a disc jockey at WMFC AM radio in the “Hub of Southwest Alabama”, Monroeville. Six days a week. Sunday through Friday. I went on the air at 6AM and completed my shift at “high” noon.

We opened with gospel music and a Church of Christ preacher and then news, weather, and sports. At 7:08 AM we went to pop music. Suffice it to say, the powers-that-be did not care for Led Zeppelin at 7:08. Fine. Next day, ‘Shout Bamalama’ by Wet Willie. They didn’t like that either.

They also didn’t like me smoking cigarettes in the control room, speeding away, while I drummed my fingers and waited for the preachers to conclude their devotionals. There was also a Southern Baptist minister at 9 AM. I don’t think he liked me. His daughter did, though.

I was summarily dismissed from my position in September. I won’t go into details. You’ll have to speak to me personally about that little “misunderstanding.”

Sigh.

To my knowledge there was no official “4/20” celebration in the “Hub City.” If you came to 328 Lazenby St. during those days I can assure you there was one. There would have been on 4/21, 6/22 and 7/23, as well.

Also there were cattle owners in Peterman and Tunnel Springs that were puzzled by a few “long hairs” so interested in their pastures in those times.

Again, details will have to be obtained form moi.

The Psychedelic Summer of ’73 she was.

*See disclaimer above*

Some of those songs from that eventful time? Money, Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting, We’re an American Band, Kodachrome, Live and Let Die, Tie a Yellow Ribbon, and Stuck in the Middle With You.

And so, late September found me running hard on my $35 per week unemployment check, falling for a young lady down there, and, then, back to Camden, AL and reuniting with my homies. As one, now prominent citizen, said as we were riding around and sipping Schlitz one October afternoon, “Welcome back to society.”

Auburn went 6-5 that fall. It was the year they went to an 11 game schedule. It was also the first year that freshman began to play, again, on the varsity. I attended the Chattanooga, Ole Miss, LSU, Houston, and Florida games. They went 3-2 with the losses coming to LSU and Florida.

My mother talked me into going back to school at Troy and I applied there and was accepted late that autumn.

It was there, in the dog days of the summer of ’75 (which was becoming far too similar to the summer of ’73) that I found myself, late on the night of August 1, prostrate at the altar of the Episcopal church in Troy begging God to forgive me and come into my life.

He did.

I was, five years later, ordained as a Southern Baptist minister. As one of my fraternity brothers told me several years after the ‘event’, “Bird, they still talk about it down in Troy.” I wonder what those long-suffering preachers who, patiently, tolerated my presence in the WMFC control room would think about that. God bless them.

Amazing Grace… truly.

May that same grace be yours today.

 

 

 

 

Time to Let It Ramble

Sit down, turn on the computer, and write. That’s the system today. I have no preconceived course, agenda, or axe to grind.

Just be.

“Let it grow, let it grow,
Let it blossom, let it flow
In the sun, the rain, the snow,
Love is lovely, let it grow”

This from the Eric Clapton ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’ album. ‘Let It Grow’.

That record released in 1974. Great record. ‘I Shot The Sheriff’, the Bob Marley song, was my intro to it.

And this train of thought leads me to, ‘Let It Be’.

“When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be”

We, too often, want to force the action don’t we? Push, shove, cajole, manipulate, etc. We generally see time or a timetable as liner. That is a Western concept. Eastern thought sees time as cyclical.

But, what is time? Here you go.

Ecclesiastes has this to say.

War Eagle! I like that!

And how about this one from Chicago?

“As I was walking down the street one day

A man came up to me and asked me what the time was that was on my watch, yeah
And I said

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to cry

And I was walking down the street one day
A pretty lady looked at me and said her diamond watch had stopped cold dead
And I said

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to cry

And I was walking down the street one day (people runnin’ everywhere)
Being pushed and shoved by people (don’t know where to go)
Trying to beat the clock, oh, no I just don’t know (don’t know where I am)
I don’t know, I dont know, oh (don’t have time to think past the last mile)
(Have no time to look around) And I said, yes I said (run around and think why)

Does anybody really know what time it is (I don’t)
Does anybody really care (care about time)
If so I can’t imagine why (no, no)
We’ve all got time enough to die

Everybody’s working (I don’t care)
I don’t care (about time)
About time (no, no)
I don’t care”

Let it grow. Let it be. Let it all hang out. Let it go. Let go and let God.

let1
let/
verb
  1. not prevent or forbid; allow.
    “my boss let me leave early”
    synonyms: allow to, permit to, give permission to, give leave to, authorize to, sanction to, grant the right to, license to, empower to, enable to, entitle to;

    archaic suffer to
    “let him sleep for now”

I would love to stay here and chew the fat with you this afternoon, but, “Time won’t let me.”

Grace and peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ramblin’ 1/19/17

I found myself “Googling” the nutrition information of Krystal products the other day. And AFTER my next round of blood work was completed, yesterday, I stopped by one of those franchises to chow down on two or three of those 130 calorie, 2 grams of saturated fat babies. It would have been my first “cheating” episode since our trip to the Big Easy.

As fate would have it, they were still in breakfast mode and it would have taken too long to put together those little square devils to suit me. Solution? Down the street to Hardee’s and a smoked sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit combo. War Eagle!

Back to being “good” last night, split pea soup courtesy of our dear daughter, Leah.

And this AM? Multi grain toast with a bit of honey cinnamon spread.

The life of a heart patient, should be impatient, wrestling with food demons.

Funny, today’s scripture passage was from Luke 4. Jesus was just beginning his ministry and was in Capernaum casting out demons and healing folks, droves of folks.

Come out of there you mean ole Krystal demon! Come out of there potato chips, hot dogs, rib-eyes, pizza, and fried chicken! Come out! (In my best Ernest Angley).

In the verses prior to his work in Capernaum, Jesus preached his first sermon in Nazareth and was run out of town on a rail. The “church people” even tried to throw him off a cliff. You don’t hear about that one too often.

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga on Apple Music. “Anything Goes” “Cheek to Cheek” “Let’s Face the Music and Dance”, etc.

Music recommendations. Margo Price, Maren Morris, Iry LeJeune’s cajun music, Lukas Nelson (yes, Willie’s boy) and The Promise of Real, and Doug Sahm.

I’ve mentioned it before on Facebook but’s it’s worth another promo. James Lee Burke’s series of Dave Robicheaux novels. I’m on number seven and I can’t stop. Latest obsession. Seriously considering attending the Dave Robicheaux Literary Festival In New Iberia, LA (where most of these books are set) on March 31-April 2.

Gobble gobble, yum yum, slurrrrrrrrp! Eat everything on your plate. Listen to John Prine’s “Fish and Whistle” for more on that.

Follow the thread, exhaust your possibilities, retain or summon your curiosities, and follow them wherever they may lead. God is in the little things. You are you for a reason.

National Signing Day for college football is February 1.

Also on 2/1… In 1861, Texas voted to secede from the Union. Puccini’s opera “La Boheme” premiered in Turin in 1896. 1900, Eastman Kodak introduced the $1 Brownie camera box. And Grand Central Station Opened in New York City in 1913.

Birthdays on 2/1 include Ronda Rousey, Clark Gable, and Lisa Marie Presley.

Setlist change. ‘Inspired by Beatlemania’. “I’m a Believer,” The Monkees, was first up. Mercy! I love that song! Do you know who wrote it? Jeopardy theme song. Time’s up! Neil Diamond. Neil is embarking on his 50th Anniversary Tour. Go if you’ve never seen him. Red, Red Wine is my favorite of his.

Mony Mony was just on. I saw Tommy James and The Shondells at the Big Bam Summer Spectacular back in the late 60’s. Neil Diamond was also there, oddly enough. I miss those shows. Lightnin’ Lou Christie, The Beach Boys, Tony Joe White, Boyce and Hart, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Porter Wagoner were just a smidgen of other acts I caught there in the Garrett Coliseum. Saw a few rodeos and the circus there too. Also Disney on Ice.

64° here in beautiful Acworth, GA. temperatures are expected to rise to 69 with mostly cloudy skies. A l0w of 58 tonight. The chance of rain rises to 85% at 11 PM. Winds SE at 8 MPH.

I’ll never stop my DJ and play-by-play yammerings. Melodye is one patient soul. And my breaking into a song and/or dance with no perceptible provocation. God bless her sweet soul.

And now Nirvana’s “About a Girl.” Sweet!

Their “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is an all-time favorite. What genius lyrics!

Well, I’ve got a column I’m struggling to get completed due to technical difficulties. It’ll publish next Friday. ‘The Best and Worst of 2016 – SEC Edition.’

Lunch? Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt. Wheeeeeee…

Reading Buddies at 2:30 today.  There is not much that warms the heart like Josue, pronounced Ho-sway, running across the library, with his arms outstretched, yelling, “Mr. Bird!!!!”

Yes, God is in the little things.

Grace and peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November Rain

Weep, oh weep November Sky

December darkens and earth doth lust for thee,

Parched land and blades of grass

Now lift brittle arms to thy blessed plenty.

Sing sweet droplets upon this hallowed home

Cleanse our hearts and souls,

Winds to follow usher forth winter,

Frigid frost our companion,

Thoughts then shift to Spring’s resurrection.

Bowl Wrap-up and Clemson vs. Alabama

The 2016 college football postseason is now all but completed. Only one game remains and you don’t need me to enlighten you as to which game that is. As far as the FBS is concerned, this king of the mountain game is all but done and only two teams stand at the point of the peak.

Every conference, except for two, has completed the four-month march toward the summit. The SEC and the ACC are left standing and ready to do battle. One more time.

I’ll get to that shortly. In the interim, let’s take a gander at how every FBS conference fared in postseason play. We will start at the bottom and work our way to the top.

The Mid-American Conference, or MAC, was the biggest loser with an 0-6 record. It’s crown jewel, Western Michigan, couldn’t even bring home a trophy. That boat did not row.

The Big 10 strutted its stuff from September through November but went as cold as the approaching winds of December when all was said and done. 3-7. O(hio State), where art thou?

The American Athletic Conference (2-5). South Florida was bullish on the SEC’s South Carolina and Tulsa’s Golden Hurricane blew through Central Michigan, and that was it.

The PAC-12? 3-3. Top dog Washington could not mush its way through a Crimson flood. Upstarts Colorado and Washington State were put in their place. That left Utah, Stanford, and Southern Cal upholding the left coast’s honor.

I am concerned with the SEC in, this, my weekly slot. I am even more concerned after its 6-6 performance in bowl games. It took 5-7 Mississippi State, and its APR, to give the conference a break even finish.

Mountain West (4-3). I’ll wager that that even the least informed college football fan is familiar with the highest profile team in the aggregation. Yes, it’s the Boise State Broncos. But Baylor was its prickly opposition in the Cactus Bowl, winning 31-12.

Conference USA also wound up with a 4-3 record in bowls. If anyone can name all seven of the postseason participants, I will reward them with a ticket to its championship game. No Googling!

Things were brighter in the Sun Belt Conference. It went 4-2. Troy, Appalachian State, Arkansas State, and Idaho were your winners. Louisiana-Lafayette and South Alabama did not keep it on the sunny side.

Also with a 4-2 record was the much-maligned Big 12. Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and (cough cough) Oklahoma won big indeed. West Virginia and TCU. Nope!

And the conference with the most wins and best winning percentage (.727) in all of FBS football? The Atlantic Coast Conference! This gang of eastern USA squads stands at 8-3.

Here are the complete bowl results.

One more game is left to be played, and I absolutely will not buy a ducat for anyone who can name the two teams that will wage war in the finale.

Prediction momentarily!

But first we will tie a nice bow onto the concluded package of the great gift of games played to this point.

Say what? Yes, the nation’s independents were 100% in the slate of 41 bowl extravaganzas.

BYU and Army were victors over the Wyoming Cowboys and the Mean Green of North Texas State, respectively.

And now, finally! Our SEC will conclude its 2016-17 college football season in the College Football Playoff Championship game!

The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers will face off in a rematch of last season’s inaugural event.

There are places that you can go to get plethora upon plethora of information and analysis on this uber-event. I will only offer you a humble and simple opinion on the outcome.

All things equal, it all boils down to, for me, one final, and ever-important, thing.

Pat Dye once said that, “It all starts at quarterback.” And that is where it both starts and ends in this game.

Deshaun Watson and Jalen Hurts. The seasoned and smooth veteran versus the talented and terrific freshman.

This, from what I can discern, is what Clemson wanted, and this is what it got.

The Clemson Tigers, and Dabo Swinney, will manage, somehow, to defeat the Alabama Crimson Tide, and Nick Saban.

Clemson 28, Alabama 24

 

Tampa photo courtesy of Wikipedia

 

Ramblin’ with Neil Young

I was listening to a podcast, today on my walk, of Marc Maron interviewing Neil Young. It was great hearing Neil again. Like an old friend you haven’t seen or heard from in years. And Neil is still Neil. Thank God. He continues to rail against corporate farming, Monsanto, and the pillaging and plundering of Mother Earth in general.

Give ’em hell, Neil!

Since I sat down here and began to write, I’ve been sweeping away at a dusty corner of my mind in an attempt to recall my first memory of Neil and/or his music. I’m pretty sure it would be from the CSN&Y album Deja Vu. That record came to me from the old Columbia Record Club, as did many other great records of that day.

Helpless was on Deja Vu and it remains near the top of my favorite tunes of Neil’s. A great song.

His After The Gold Rush album was back somewhere in that time frame, as well. Another good one. What lyrics on that title cut.

Please click here to read them.

Whew! Man! And the french horn on there!

Takes me back to 332 W. Glenn St. in Auburn and the fall of 1970. But I won’t bore you with  any nostalgic ramblings of my freshman year at Auburn again. Not right now at least.
It wasn’t until 2003 that I saw Neil in concert for the first time. I missed catching him in Tuscaloosa in 1973. Some friends of mine were going to make the trek over there from Auburn. I think this was the Harvest tour. I thought I had to study for mid-terms so I declined the invite. Dumb, as I flunked out anyway. And I didn’t do a whole lot of studying that week. For the most part I was amped up on speed and cannabis, and chain smoking cigarettes. I went from Tuesday to Friday without sleeping a wink.
I’ll leave it at that other than to say,  *WARNING! DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!*
Back to the first time I saw Neil. 2003. Bonnaroo. Neil closed the festivities that opening evening. And that set, that he and Crazy Horse did, sits at the very top of Bonnaroo shows that I’ve seen. I mean they rocked! In the free world as a matter-of-fact.
The second time Me & Paul saw Neil was later that summer at a Willie Nelson Picnic.This was in Willie’s back yard, literally, about 30 minutes outside of Austin in Spicewood, TX . That was a wonderful two days of music. A few of the other acts beside Neil and Willie? The Dead, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Pat Green, Leon Russell (RIP), Billy Bob Thornton, and Los Lonely Boys.
That brings me to our last encounter with Neil in a live setting. It was at Radio City Music Hall in the spring of 2004. The day before Melodye’s birthday. March 18th. I think she turned 35 that year. Wink wink, nod nod, know what I mean?
Neil and Crazy Horse performed his Greendale album, all of it, as a stage play. They then did about another 1 1/2 hours of Crazy Horse music including Powderfinger (another favorite), Rockin’ In The Free World, Cortez the Killer, All Along The Watchtower, Cowgirl in the Sand, and a couple of others.
Yes ma’am!
The next night, on Mel’s birthday, and the following night we caught shows by the Allman Brothers Band at The Beacon Theater.
Friday morning followed the Thursday night Neil & Crazy Horse show. We were staying at the Hotel Le Parker Meridien about three blocks from Central Park, and about a five minute walk from the Museum of Modern Art. We did  them both.
The walk in Central Park was especially memorable as it began snowing before we departed our room and it evolved into one of those special moments. All of it was really. The entire three day trip. The time we spent at Strawberry Fields was a highlight. We miss you, John.
I better call it quits for today. Gotta shower, get the dogs, and our, dinner ready.
I am very, very fortunate. I feel the word blessed has become a bit cliche, but that is certainly the case with me and my dear running mate. Blessed beyond comprehension.  I cannot imagine any life other than the one we have spent together, thus far.
I say thus far, because we ain’t done yet. Not by a long shot.
Peace.