Sunday, November 30, 2008

The First Signing

I did my first book signing today at the mall. It rained most of the night, but by noon the rain clouds had burned away leaving big white Rorschach clouds. As we parked, the sun felt warm on my face as I carted in books, tables and chairs.
Our first sale was to a nine year old girl. For some reason, she was drawn to our table. As we talked to her mom, the child read the first column. "She loves to read," her mom explained as she reached for her purse. She bought the book and I autographed it "To Alexsys". I had a smile on my face as they walked away. I love kids who read.
A moment later, two more young girls (ten or maybe eleven) stepped up and asked what we were doing. Jilda explained that we were setting up to sell my new book. "Is it your first?" the older girl asked. I told her it was. The younger of the two girls thrust her hand across the table to shake my hand and said "congratulation, I am happy for you." I could not believe how articulate these kids were. I was blown away.
We stayed for several hours and we did better than I imagined. We saw friends, family, and old teachers from Dora High School.
I had an opportunity to talk to a fellow writer who is on the staff of the Daily Mountain Eagle. Mandy came by to shoot a picture for the paper, but we had a chance to talk for a while about writing.
I can tell that she is a student of life. She had a class with Rick Bragg, who is one of my favorite authors today. Rick Bragg wrote a book called "It's All Over But The Shouting" that is one of the best books I have read in years. Mandy is in the planning stage of her first novel. I have a gut feeling that it will be very good.
We packed up our stuff to leave and when we got to the door, we had weather shock. The temps had dropped about fifteen degrees and a cold rain was blowing out of the northwest which made if feel much colder than 47 degrees.
We drove home slowly in the rain.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Benefits of Being an Uncle

I have several great nieces and nephews that I am crazy about. Zoe, is my sister's granddaughter and I usually see her whenever I stay with my mom. Thursday after we helped serve the Thanksgiving meal, we went to my sister's house to celebrate my mother's 84th birthday.
I got to telling Zoe, knock knock jokes. She would laugh uncontrollably. She would then run over to the table where her mom and my sister were sitting and she would retell the jokes.
It got funnier and funnier. Zoe is a delightful child.
I told her a few of the old standby jokes and Zoe brought the house down when she told them.
Knock, knock. Who's there?
Boo, who?
I'm sorry I made you cry!
And my favorite:
"Do you know the difference in snot and a bowling ball?"
"You can't eat a bowling ball!"
I think she has a future in comedy. Her mother takes a dim view, but that's the beauty of being an uncle. What's she going to do?
I love America

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

My sister and my niece Dannielle are serious shoppers. They don't play. They were heading out early this morning so I went down to stay with my mom. I was there at 4:15 a.m. and they headed out giggling like school girls.
They wanted to hit Wal-Mart and Target in rapid succession so they decided to forgo the local Wal-Mart and head out to the one about twenty miles away because both store are in close proximity. By 4:55 a.m. Dannielle had honed in on the RiteAide Mixers. Wal-Mart has a strict policy that you can put any sale item in a shopping buggy before the sale begins so Dannielle sat on the box that contained her mixer until the clock struck 5. She then snagged it up put it in the buggy then proceeded to strafe the rest of the store before heading out to Target.
They got back this afternoon just before 3 p.m. and we actually needed a llama to help pack the stuff they bought into the house.
They both pronounced it a success. What was great about this year is that there were not fist fights, no eye gouging, and very little pushing
I think my sister dozed off on the couch before I got my laptop packed up. I'm betting it will be an early night for her. I know it will be for me because it wore me out just listening to their adventures.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Every year for the last thirty-four years we have eaten Thanksgiving dinner with family. I've written extensively about this in the past. I loved those meals and the fellowship with our extended families. Many of these kinfolk we only see on holidays so spending a few hours with them was always a joy.
Today was different. Our nephew James Phillips called us a few weeks ago and asked if we would be interested in helping with a Thanksgiving meal for the community. It was not only for the needy, but for folks who had nowhere else to go. James envisioned people from all walks of life sitting down at a table together and breaking bread. He writes for the Daily Mountain Eagle and he had written a column in the paper about his Thanksgiving idea.
When he asked us to help, neither Jilda nor I hesitated...we both said we wanted to participate.
Patti, a lady from a small church near Cordova read his column for the first time that day, and was touched. She and her husband usually spend Thanksgiving at the beach, but after reading the column, she decided to stay in town and help with the community feast.
Last night, James' wife Andrea had a problem and she was admitted to the hospital this morning. James paniced. He called Patti and she swung into action and took charge of the event. It went off without a hitch.
There was enough food to feed a multitude. We had a pretty good crowd that showed up to enjoy a good hot meal. Being in the presence of a group of people who give of themselves felt 'right'.
One of the guys that showed up to eat had obviously lived hard. He was articulate and I knew at once there was more to him than met the eye.
Jilda and I sang a few songs and the guy listened respectfully. A little while later, he stood up and sang an old Gospel song a-capella. The power and quality of his voice made the hair on my arm stand up. He finished the song to rousing applause.
When he got through eating, we sent food home with him so that he could eat tomorrow. He thanked everyone and as he walked away he sang "Farther Along." I was blown away!
I am so thankful that we decided to help with the community feast. The only thing that would have made it better is if my nephew James and his family could have been there.
I am also thankful for all my family and friends. My wish for everyone is that they have a remarkable holiday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Some of My Favorite Pictures

When I thought I had several blank pages in my book to fill, I went though our pictures. Here are a few of my favorite pictures.
The picture to the left was taken in Lynchburg. Our friend Wes and his wife Deidra joined us for a BBQ Caboose radio show. Afterwards we took a tour of the Jack Daniels distillery. You can't see it in this photograph, but as we posed for the picture, tiny snowflakes fell around us.
This picture to the right is of our songwriting buddy Tracy Reynolds and her hubby Eric.
They lived in Nashville at the time and we had just chowed down on some Chinese food before we headed south.
The next picture is of our bandmate Steve, his late brother Ron, who was actually like a brother to me as well. Jilda shout this picture at Blue Mountain, Florida in early May.
We were all there to attend the wedding of an old friend. We spent the weekend playing music,
eating seafood, drinking beer and telling lies.
This is actually my favorite combination of life activities. When I retire, I plan to do this as often as possible.
This picture was taken last November when we attended the Taxi Road Rally in Los Angeles.
Kaye is one of our oldest and dearest friends. This is Jamie, her baux. He plays a mean keyboard and is a great chef.
Jilda and I have written songs with Jamie that are quite good, in my opinion.

The picture above was taken on the Warrior River.
Jilda shot this photo of our friends Terry and Tom.
Tom and his lovely wife Judy have a beautiful place on the river and a few hours at there house is equivilant to a week of vacation in most hot spots.
Hope you all have a great Turkey Day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Folkway Recordings

I discovered a great series of pod casts on iTunes. They are on the Folkway recording and they document folk music.
The creators take the broad view of music and include recordings from around the world. Many of the recordings were done in the field in remote regions of the world. They are crude by today's standards, but there is no mistaking the beauty in the music.
Today I listened to the one on Woody Guthry. What is remarkable about this particular podcast is that the programs includes commentary about the recordings which put them in context. This gives a much richer view of the music.
What's great about this is that they are free. If you have an iPod or iPhone, getting them is simple, but you can also download them and burn them onto a CD if you don't have an Apple player.
Fascinating stuff. I highly recommend checking out pod casts.

Monday, November 24, 2008


When I turned off the Interstate this evening and headed out through the country, toward home I drove into a cloud bank of fog that was as thick as gauze. We live just close enough to the Mulberry River to get the premium fog. It turned the last fifteen minutes of my drive home into about thirty minutes.
Our family had a small cabin down on the Warrior River and I've spent a many of foggy Saturday nights down there. Once the fog settled in, you could not drive out for any reason. There were several narrow wooden bridges without guard rails which made driving in fog treacherous.
What was even worse than trying to drive in fog is trying to navigate a boat through fog. You can't see any landmarks so you think you're headed in the right direction and you wind up back where you started. It really messes with your mind.
It's amazing how much you depend on your vision. This reminds me of a joke I heard once -
Stevie Wonder challenged Tiger Woods to a round of golf. The loser had to buy the winner a new Learjet. Knowing that Stevie was blind, Tiger tried without success to dissuade him from the challenge. Stevie would have none of it and persisted. Tiger finally relented and said OK, you pick the time. Stevie said, GREAT! let's play tonight at midnight.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Back To Work

Well it's back to work tomorrow. I'm guessing I'll have to be retrained. I hope I remember how to get to the building.
I find the older I get, the harder it is to go back to work after vacations. If I took two weeks at a time, I would be totally worthless. I have one more week to take before year's end and then it starts over again January 1st 2009.
I was looking back over my entries earlier in the year and I spent a great deal of time fretting about my job with EDS. Then the announcement was made and BAM! I'm back with at&t.
Not sure how the economy will affect the utility, but I have to believe that if thousands of people get out of work, it will dig into the bottom line of most companies.
I was also looking back over my goals for the year and I have made significant progress on almost everything. The one area where I have not done well is losing weight. I haven't lost any weight and if I recall, I pledged that if I didn't lose down to my target weight that I'd eat an anchovy.
I'm not looking forward to that, and I'm not discounting last minute miracles, but if I'm not at my target weight, I will eat the little fuzzy fish. It will be my luck that I'll acquire a taste for them and start eating them all the time which will probably not help with the weight.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why is it that?

Google has evolved. Not sure if you've noticed it or not but it's kind of scary. I'll start typing in a search term and all of a sudden a drop-down box appears with suggestions for things you may be thinking about. How weird is that? I know it comes in handy, but try this the next time you are online: Click on Google then type in - Why is it that and watch what comes up.
Just for curiosity, I typed in "What if men" and the two suggestions I got were:
What if men menstruated (the number out to the side was 431,000_ The second suggestion I got was
What if men had babies (82,000,000)
Those numbers to the side are the results you would get if you selected either one of those terms.
That means that there are 82,000,000 entries on the world wide web that will give you some type of information about what would happen if men had babies.
I am officially fascinated. I suggest you play with this and report your findings back to me.
This is homework and you will be graded.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Self Promotion

Me and Ol' Buddy set out today peddling books. I got a hit on my first stop. Our old friend Deb who owns Deb & Co gift shop on the Jasper Mall bought ten for her store. I also dropped off a few at Ken Glover's Pharmacy & Gift Shop in Dora.
I understood that I've got to do some point-of-purchase graphics or else the books will simply lay on a counter. Also, I realized I need to make is simple for people to reorder. I don't want them looking for my number so I had an idea.
I'm going to use 8x10 Plexiglas frames with this graphic (I'm open to suggestion here) and on the back of the frame, will be a business card with reorder information.
So far, I have lined up stories in 280 Living, and a story in The Daily Mountain Eagle. I plan to approach The Birmingham News and Black & White, which is a great Arts paper in Birmingham. A good review or mention in either of these would be huge.
What would really be good is a great review by the New York Times so if any of my blog buddies have any insight as to how I could make this happen, please advise.
Also, any advice, experience, or opinion on the best ways to self promote would be greatly appreciated.
My spouse has a knack for marketing and I've already adopted a bunch of her ideas. I also have a copy of Gorilla Marketing which has some excellent information of self promotion. So far it has been fun. I'll keep you posted and hopefully not bore you too much.
I'll get back to my old style of blog writing soon. Please bare with me in the meantime.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Book

The book wasn't supposed to be ready until next week, but I got a call from the printer last night saying I could pick them up today.
I got around this morning and headed into town. I linked up with my new friend Roxanne at the Birmingham News and she directed me to the loading dock.
I'm not sure what I imagined 2000 books would look like. I had considered driving the Volvo to pick them up but when I asked Roxanne, she said there were thirty one boxes. Thirty one boxes, I asked. "Yep, thirty one." I guess I better drive the truck.
As I backed up to the loading dock at the News, workers brought out a pallet of boxes. The pallet wouldn't fit on the back of my truck, so we had to load them by hand.
As I drove away from the loading dock and headed the truck toward the country, writer's remorse set in. I had a half a ton of books in the bed of my truck and I suddenly realized, I have no idea how I'm going to sell them.
"That was stupid," my nay-saying self chided. "what were you thinking? You'll be lucky to sell a copy to mother! People aren't going to buy this crap! Where are you going to put 2000 books in a 1500 square foot house that already packed with your furniture?"
I got a knot in my stomach. But then I remembered the advice of my spouse - just breathe. I then reflected on the encouraging words from from friends, neighbors and other folks who stumbled upon my work. I began to relax. I also realized that the fun part was over, now I've got to hone my marketing skills.
Tonight, I feel better. Local newspapers are doing stories next week and I have my first book signing scheduled for the 30th. It is my intention to put my nay-saying self back in the closet where it belongs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The War

The war in Iraq hit a milestone today. As of today we have lost 4200 soldiers. There is no telling how many have been damaged for life either physically, mentally or both.
Jilda works at a local drug and rehab center that treats returning soldiers. There is rarely a day that goes by that she doesn't shed tears for the condition of some of America's best.
I was not one of those who grew weary of the war and became vocal late in the game, I have been against it from day one...not against the troops, but against this war.
The war in Afghanistan is a different story, Al Qaeda attacked us and we went after them. I can live with that.
As these folks come back scarred, they will need a tremendous amount of care. We as a country owe these men and women a great deal and I think we should provide the best care possible. In some of the past wars, I think we allowed the government to get by doing less for our veterans.
I've heard some of the older people say, "We didn't have all these problems with the returning troops for WWII." I don't believe that's true. I don't think we were sophisticated enough to recognize the damage. I had an uncle that saw bad things in France. He arrived home damaged. A few years later, he put a 45 pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger leaving three children.
I said all that, to say this. I hope the new president can find an honorable way to get us out of this mess and I also hope that we don't sell our soldiers short when it comes to doing right by them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Daylight-Savings Time

Why is the government fooling with my alarm clock.? Can someone answer that for me? I am one of the most normal people I know, except for twice a year. In March when we go to daylight-savings time, and November when we go back to regular time. I get crazy because it messes with my internal clock and I am not happy.

Before we got all modern and what not, we woke up with the chickens and went to bed when it got too dark to work. Most of the money spent on energy, was for candles and feed for the horses. Then someone invented light bulbs and TV’s. I think the world has gone to “Arkansas in a handbasket” ever since.

I am not sure when the concept of daylight savings time was dreamed up, but I first heard of it back in 1974 when Nixon was in the White House. There was a gas shortage and long lines at the gas pumps. I’ve always believed moving the hands of the clock backwards and forwards to save energy was a big sham, dreamed up by a team of over-paid government consultants hired to "think outside the box." They must have been thinking WAY outside the box.

Suggesting that we fund alternative sources of energy, like wind or solar power, would have been a waste of time. That makes too much sense. The oil companies, which have been pulling strings in Washington since the invention of cars, would have tarred and feathered the whole kit and caboodle. “If you develop all that clean energy, there is no way we can hold Americans hostage for the next fifty years. We’d have to use something other than $100 bills to light our cigars!”

The consultants probably contemplated the challenge of how to save energy for months, with all of their ideas smelling worse than an outhouse in August.

Once they milked as much moolah as possible out of the government, one of the consultants, giddy with the lack of sleep and cranked up on high-octane coffee, came up with idea for daylight-savings time.

On a dare, they offered this idea to Nixon; "Bare with me Dick, because it gets complicated," they managed to say without spewing coffee on the Oval Office carpet. "Every year during the spring, we move the clock forward one hour, and each fall we move it back an hour. That way, the public stays disoriented and confused because they get less sleep. It will take a while to get used to the time change and therefore save money on heating and cooling,” they explained with straight faces. “When they become accustomed to the time,” they continued, “we’ll change it back." Nixon bit, and I’ve been cussing him ever since.

I bet those consultants laughed hysterically when the check from Uncle Sam cleared the bank.

I’m guessing that same firm set to work immediately on revising the U.S. tax code.

I hope the new president pulls the plug on daylight-savings time and has the really smart people come up with new, clean ways to generate energy that don’t affect my sleep!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Night Sky

The sky was blue-black tonight and the stars looked like diamonds laid out on jeweler's velvet cloth. I'm not sure what it is about the fall that makes the sky so crisp, but it is remarkable.
Jilda and I went to Sedona, Arizona for our 30th anniversary in 2004, and the thing that stands out in my mind, is the sky.
The night sky seemed larger and clearer there. There weren't as many lights at night to compete with the stars which made stargazing almost intoxicating.
You could spend a lot of money and never come close to the experience of witnessing the gifts Mother Natures offers you free of admission.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vacation week

I started my vacation out with a snore today. We visited family and when we arrived home we both laid down on our couches. The plan was to take a 20 minute nap then get up and get busy. Two hour later, I woke myself snoring and drooling on my sleeve.
Tonight I recorded a new song we wrote recently. We have a new connection to a Nashville producer so we're putting some stuff together to pitch.
Our buddy Fred has cleared his calendar and is chompin' at the bit to write some new stuff too so expect some new material soon.
I've got a lot to do this week in preparation for the release of the book. It is supposed to be ready on the 25th. I'm excited. I have to meet with the Mountain Eagle writer and photographers to put together a story about the book as well as the editor of 280 Living.
I'm also firming up dates and times for book signings. I will be a busy boy for the next few months.
Have a great week.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cold Rainy Day

It's been a cold rainy day here in Empire, Alabama. When I walked
the dogs just after morning coffee, the sun was out but the wind out of the northwest was chilly.
The dogs love this weather. When we started out they chased each other around in the back yard before jockeying for position at the back gate. When I open the gate, they are like greyhounds except they run in every direction.
I took my iPhone in case I saw something interesting. I have jumped deer and other critters on my walks, but today, I just saw the sun and the sky with some autumn leaves.
Shortly after this was taken, the rain clouds returned and what felt like small flecks of sleet fell on my face. I'm guessing it was rain, but
it felt cold enough to be sleet.
Tonight we are playing at Berkley Bob's Coffee Shop in Cullman. It is a delightful place to hunker down and spend a few hours enjoying good food, great coffee, and a relaxing atmosphere.\
Here is the address of Berkley Bob's:
304 1st Ave SE #1
Cullman, Al 35055

Get Directions
(256) 775-2944
* approximate times

Friday, November 14, 2008


Last night as I made my way home, the fog got as thick as a gauze curtain. Streetlight projected up into the low hanging clouds and it looked like a fire off in the distance. I clicked on my fog lights and slowed down to a crawl.
Not sure what it is about fog that get deer in frenzy, but it does. They will dart out in front of you before you can say holy &&&&??????????!!!!!!!!!!*&^*$#%$@ where did that thing come from?
I arrived home without incident.
Jilda had cooked chicken tortellini soup, which should in all honesty be classified as one of the Great Wonders of the World.
This morning I looked out the garden doors toward the barn and I couldn't see the apple tree. The smoke-like fog was still hovering just above ground level. It stayed that way well into the morning.
Only late this afternoon did the sun peek through the clouds.
Tomorrow night The Overalls play at Berkley Bob's Coffee Shop in Cullman. Bob is a delightful person and we are looking forward to playing there. The only thing, there are football games tomorrow evening so we may be playing to an empty house.
Y'all have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sewing and Reaping

I was struggling to come up with a topic for tonight's entry and I did what I often do, and that is to click on Stumble. It is a feature in the Firefox Browser that goes out in the vastness of cyberspace and pulls in a page at random. Sometimes it works and I will get a general idea of a topic, but tonight bingo, the first click returned the following quote.

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

-- Frank Outlaw

Habits are key to the results you get in your life. It's an old concept that's been around forever.
In the book "As a Man Thinketh," James Allen wrote "Nothing comes from corn but corn, nothing comes from nettle but nettle". Is this profound, or what? Obviously the Good Book nailed it "as you sew, so shall you reap".
The point is, when bad seeds are planted, the harvest is thin. For young folk just starting out in this world, there is no better advice than to form good habits. Good health habits, good financial habits, good relationship habits, good work habits, and good spiritual habits.
I know there are many other areas of the human existence, but if you focus on the five or six areas that make the most difference, you will do great things.
It's easy to get off track, because it's so easy to NOT do the right things. "I will study when Dancin' with the Stars goes off." or "I will walk tomorrow, but tonight, I'm going to eat this half-gallon of Rocky Road ice cream."
So, as your self-help guru, I advise you to form good habits and work hard to stamp out bad ones. The dividends you reap throughout your life will make it worth your while.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Don't Panic

I read Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" many years ago and it is classic British humor. It's about an electronic book that is a traveler's guide for traveling around the Universe. It is a scream. One of the main pieces of advice offered by the "Guide" is "Don't Panic".
I think those are words we should all live by. Things are scary now especially when you take the short view.
If I were retiring today and had to start drawing from my 401k, it would not be a pretty picture.
But if you look at the long view, this too will pass. It's just a blip on the radar.
I think this entire world crisis right now is due mostly to the fact that people are locked into the short view. Not just people, but corporations. A CEO doesn't have much time to show that he is performing. One or two quarters of lackluster performance and he's looking for a new job.
The Japanese, on the other hand, have always taken the long view. During the times when they are retooling and modernizing their technology, they may not make boatloads of money. But investors in those companies understand and are taking the long view too.
Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best when he said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
I am not afraid. I'm taking the long view. If I have to work a while longer, then so be it. I love this country and I always will. I refuse to panic.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I was poking around trying to think of something to write about and I Googled "the most Googled search term". I learned that in 2007 iPhone was the most Googled term. That's interesting. AT&T is the exclusive service provider for iPhones and this bit of news could not have gone unnoticed by the company.
When a search term beats out Paris Hilton, and college football, and college girls gone wild, it is one popular item.
I don't consider myself an "early adopter". It's not important to me to have the latest and greatest gadget, but I actually got an iPhone this past week. My niece got one and demo'd it for me a few weeks ago and I was very impressed.
Since I currently work for AT&T, I get a discount on the phone and the service so I signed up. I have not been disappointed.
Yesterday heading in to work, I clicked on the map function and the phone hooked up with a satellite that's lurking somewhere overhead just out of sight. All of a sudden a small blue dot started blinking on my screen. When you look at the map on the display, you can see the little blue dot move as you drive down the road.
That was pretty cool, but I had read something about a "live traffic" feature. As I got on the Interstate and entered Birmingham, I could see the route I was taking was solid green. That means that traffic is moving smoothly. When I looked at the interchange, that heads east through downtown, the Interstate was solid red. A few miles later when I arrived at the interchange, I could see that traffic heading downtown was almost at a stand still. Apparently a wreck out near the airport. I knew immediately that this little device would come in handy.
I get instant weather for cities I want to track, I get instant stock reports (depressing - I may turn this feature off) and a bunch of other features I have yet to discover.
The only downside that I have noticed so far is the battery life. With all those little radios doing their thing, it is hard on the battery. If you decide to get one, you will definitely want a car charger.
Didn't mean for this to turn into a sales pitch for the iPhone, but I really think I'm going to enjoy this little device.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Daylight Savings Time

Why are we on daylight savings time? I think the concept of daylight savings time is a big sham dreamed up by a team of consultants who were hired by the government to "think outside the box" to come up with ideas to save energy.
I think it started when Nixon was in the White House. They probably contemplated the problem for months, milked as much moolah out of the gov as possible and on a dare, they came up with daylight saving time. "Bare with me Dick, because it gets complicated," they managed to say without spewing coffee on the Prez. "Every year during the spring, we move the clock forward one hour, and each fall we move it back an hour. That way, the public stays disoriented enough that they will sleep longer to try and adjust to the time change and therefore save money on heating and cooling. When they become accustomed to the time, it changes again."
I bet that whole management team laugh hysterically when the check from Uncle Sam cleared.
Anyhow, I didn't mean to get on a rant, but it has been my intention to shoot some photos of the foliage on the way home from work, but thanks to those weasel consultants, it is now too dark when I leave work.
Late last week, I left a little early and capture this shot in the parking lot of the building where I work.
Hopefully I can shoot a few this weekend before the rain beats the leaves off the trees.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

First Guitar

I've written in the past about my first guitar. I got it back in 1962. It is a Teisco Del Ray that my mom bought at Sears. I wish it had some kind of playing meter on it that could document how many hours I played it.
As the years wore on, the knobs wore out, the pickup went south, and it would not stay in tune.
When I started to work, I bought better, more expensive guitars to play, so I stuck the old Teisco in the back of my closet where it has lived ever since we moved here twenty four years ago. I had considered tossing the guitar a time or two, but I could never bring myself to letting it go.
We met a guy through Steve (the third Overall), who builds Cigar Box guitars and banjos. I asked him if he would have a look at the old Teisco to see if it could be revived. He promised he'd try. He has spent months looking for old parts and this weekend, I picked it up.
I almost wept when I saw it. Aside from the scratches and the fretboard worn slick from use, it looks like it did when I first got it. This morning, I plugged it in to my Trace Elliott amp and that old $25 guitar has a sound that it unique and beautiful.
Tonight as I sit here strumming, I am a happy man.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Scheduling Snafu

The Overalls made an error in scheduling judgment. We scheduled a gig at Local Color in Springville tonight. Little did we realize back in the summer when we scheduled it that Alabama would be playing LSU today.
One thing in our favor is that the game starts now, at 2:30 and we don't play until 7 so we can wats a lot of it before having to leave for the gig.
Y'all have a great weekend. Roll Tide.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Long Day

It rained today. I was still on the outage call this morning around 8 when I could hear a gentile drone approaching from the west. I stood and looked out my office window and watched it fall.
I got a few hours sleep and when I awoke around 11, I looked down across the garden toward the barn and the color was stunning.
The sweet gum trees are such wimps. The leaves turn early and when the rain began to fall, it stripped most of the leaves off the trees. It will take a shovel to get them all off my deck.
I'm about to crash. I hope I wake up in time for our gig tomorrow night.
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tied Up

I have been on a computer outage call all night so I'll have to skip the update tonight. I'll do better over the weekend.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Being one of the few Democrats where I work has been a challenge. There is one thing for sure, if you are a blue dot in a red state, you better have a sense of humor. I get political jokes all the time. That's OK, it comes with the territory.
I was really proud last night. Our country transcended years of segregation, bigotry, racial tension, and turmoil and elected the first African American in history. I'm not sure our forefathers would have dreamed it could happen.
I had an early class this morning, but I could not tear myself away from the TV until I heard what Obama had to say. What I heard was an expression of gratitude for the service that his opponent John McCain had selflessly given to America. I share this view.
I also heard Obama tell the world that we ALL have a lot of work to do. The road will not be easy but TOGETHER, we can get America back on the right track. I was humbled and inspired.
It is not my intention to address the subject of politics on this blog very often, but I am proud of our country and excited for our future.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

I am so glad the election is finally over. I'm not sure who our new president will be but it is my intention to get behind them and try to help make our country a better place.
This is a historic day no matter how it turns out. I live is a very small precinct but when I arrived at the polling place before 7 a.m., I had to park in the grass. The poll workers were busy checking ID's and voter roles. I heard one of the poll workers say that the turnout was dramatic.
So, hopefully we'll know sometime later tonight or by early tomorrow where the chips fell.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Terror Girl Makes it Right with the Department of Homeland Security

Jilda got her corrected birth certificate this week. Back in March of 1952, a third shift nurse had misunderstood Jilda's mom when she told her the child's name. Instead of spelling the name Jilda, the nurse had written Gilda. Maybe the nurse was half asleep or maybe Ruby was into the feel good stuff but the wheel was set into motion.
This little glitch has bothered Jilda all her life. It caused her grief for years but a little snafu at the airport in Los Angeles the last time we traveled was the straw that broke the camel's back. The screeners mistook my mild mannered spouse for a terrorist. After all, most of the terrorists you see on TV have blond hair and blue eyes. I thought she was going to hit her with a tazer and strip search her right there in the middle of Concourse B for the world to see.
As it turns out, a senior screener (one that had been on the job longer than three weeks) interviewed Jilda and she was able to explain why the name on her ticket was Jilda and the name on her passport is Gilda. Terror Girl was allowed to board for Birmingham. The only catch was that her name would be entered into the Department of Homeland Security's watch list. This usually means that she would be badgered unmercifully every time she drove by an airport.
She vowed then and there to get the spelling of her name corrected legally. This week she received her new birth certificate.
She is thrilled, but I can tell you she won't be as much fun to watch navigating through security.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


I’ve let this election season get to me. There is so much misinformation and mudslinging going on that I find myself getting wound as tight as piano wire. I’ve decided to take the advice of my spouse – “when the going gets stressful, the stressed do yoga.”

Jilda is a certified yoga teacher and her day job is teaching at a local drug and rehab facility. She teaches a free class on Monday nights at the Senior Citizens Center in Sumiton.

She invites people to come to yoga all the time. Every now and then, someone new will come and give it try but a lot of people back away from us as if we were lepers. For those who want to get some gentle exercise, regain flexibility and learn to relax, they come religiously.

“I don’t think I could twist in the shape of a pretzel,” said one lady half grinning but mostly serious. “Oh, we had to stop doing the pretzel pose when someone’s leg fell off,” Jilda explained helpfully. Some people say – “I don’t want to look stupid.” I never realized that gaining weight, and having your body get so stiff you can’t bend over and tie your shoes made you look smart. Who knew?

Some people who know nothing about yoga believe it’s just strange. They imagine that we are participating in some kind of weird rituals where chickens and small goats are sacrificed to some of the lesser gods. All I can say is this; we haven’t offered up beast or fowl since I’ve been going.

You’re wasting your time inviting most men to yoga. “There ain’t no way I’m gonna dress in one of them tutu’s and go prancing around the floor making a fool of myself.” First of all, just for the record, I rarely prance. I also want to say, “Once you get used to the tutus, they are not half bad. I know they’re not Army fatigues, but I’m telling you once you get used to the wind blowing up you skirt, they are kind of nice.” I’M KIDDING!!! Here’s a newsflash for you mister macho man – you can wear camouflage sweatpants if you want to and folks at yoga class won’t bat an eye.

You can call me a wus if you like, but I will tell you this; rolling around on the floor with fifteen sweaty women is not bad for a man’s reputation when you get my age.

Men might also be interested to learn that for centuries, warriors have used yoga before conflicts to still the mind and ready their bodies for battle. Yoga is also routinely used by the military to make better soldiers. Professional sports teams use it to reduce injuries and improve mental focus.

The best reason, by far, is that you feel relaxed when you walk out of a good yoga class. So my advice to you, if the election or the holiday season is getting you down, find a yoga class and learn to relax.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Stone's Party

We need tee shirts that say "WE SURVIVED STONE'S BIRTHDAY PARTY".
We did hayrides, haunted house, haunted barns, and yard games.
We did tattoos, and pirate booty boxes. We ate hotdogs and marshmellows till we spewed.
A good time was had by all.
I'm whupped. Good night.

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