Frankie's First Jack-o-lantern

I don't know where it came from. But for some reason, there was this really little and shabby looking pumpkin on my counter this afternoon. Even though I had never carved a pumpkin in my entire life, I thought "what the heck" and brought Frank in the kitchen and carved that sucker up. Now I know this is a really amateurish job of carving, but Frank loved it. Notice the mean face he's making. Happy Halloween!


Garcia and Grisman- "Ripple"

What a sweet song! It's definitely one of my favorite Dead tunes, performed here by Jerry and David. Of course, David actually played mandolin on the album version, featured on American Beauty. Excerpt of Robert Hunter's lyrics below.

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again,
Let it be known there is a fountain,
That was not made by the hands of men.

There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.



T for Texas, T for Tennessee

Damn a bunch of sad posts. I just got off the phone with Sanna, and she is going to allow me to pick up Frank from daycare today. Today is her day, so it's her call, you know. I get to spend a couple of hours with him, before I head out to the Flying Saucer tonight to see my old nemesis/friend Brittney.

Yesterday, when I was sad, I was sitting around playing blues music. My mom, who was still here visiting, walked in and said, you need to put on some happy music. You don't need "no BB King" right now.

I took her advice and found this gem (embedded below) from Lynyrd Skynrd. The band is playing "T for Texas, T for Tennessee", also known as "Blue Yodel Number 9". It's an old song written and recorded by Jimmy Rodgers in the twenties. Of course Rodgers' version features an acoustic guitar, his voice, and last only a couple of minutes. What Skynyrd does to this tune is pretty amazing. They turned this country tune into a rocking blues jam, running about ten minutes, with three guitarists swapping solos. The star of the jam though, in my opinion, is guitarist Steve Gaines. What a talent and what a loss he was to the guitar world. By the way, Gaines is the one with the beard and the least amount of hair. Lots of hair in this clip. Let me warn you, the sound quality is not that good, and the video quality is even worse, but the jam is awesome. For a better quality video and sound, click here. The reason I chose the black and white one over the color one is simple. In the color version, the cameraman ignores Gaines, who is jamming his butt off, and instead follows around vocalist Ronnie Van Zandt, as if he as some type of crush on Ronnie. It really pisses me off. Rock and Roll ain't about singers, as far as I concerned. Rock and Roll is guitar music. Put the camera on the guitar, you dang idiot.

Anyway, notice what Ronnie says at the beginning of the video. "These intermissions in between songs, are brought to you by Budweiser, king of beers." Then bassist Leon Wilkerson remarks, "Not to mention Acapulco Gold". Heh!


Today Is the Big Day

No I am not talking about that stupid primary election. Today is my son Frank's third birthday. It is also the fifth anniversary of my brother's death. My brother was also named Frank, as was my late father. I had made the decision to name my son after my dad and brother when we first found out the baby was going to be a boy. It's just so cool that he came into the world on the same day my brother left the world. I think about my brother a lot, and also my dad. I wish Frank could have known both of them. But he will someday.


Definitely Not That Word I Am Tired Of Hearing

This rant by Southern Beale got me to thinking that maybe its time to write about how much I love women and why. SB's feelings about what I may or may not be do not really bother me that much. It's her point of view. I respect it.

But I am the farthest thing from someone who hates or dislikes women.

Let me tell you why. Unfortunately, my father died when I was ten. At that time, my brother was finishing up High School and soon after that, he would become married and join the Navy. That left me with my Mama, my sister, and my Aunt Mae, who lived right beside us. For the longest time, through my most selfish years, they may have been the only people I really cared anything about. They most certainly cared about me. That's for sure.

My mother grew up a lot differently than I did. Her mother wasn't anything like the mother she would later be. Now don't get me wrong. I loved my grandmother. But I know for a fact that she wasn't a great mother to my mom. But Mama was a great mom. I will never forget the night that daddy died. My mother held me in her arms while I cried saying "Be strong." Throughout my teen years, she did the best she could to steer me right. Like the song "Mama Tried", she certainly did her best, but I was a wild soul, still inwardly angry about my dad dying. Being shy, I naturally turned to outside substances to get me out of my shell and help me escape. Through all of that, she never stopped loving me. A lot of people gave up on me and wrote me off, but my Mama kept praying, even visiting me in jail. I will always be grateful to her for that. I don't tell her nearly as often as I should.

I was also fortunate to have a good sister. Penny was five years older than me, so she didn't live with us too much longer after my dad died. But she was always around and always looking after me. I remember a specific incident at a football game. She was a majorette in the band and I was always getting into fights behind the bleachers. One Friday night a much older and bigger kid was getting ready to give me a whuppin'. I probably deserved it, by the way. But that didn't matter to Penny. She came out of the stands where the band was sitting and started waving that baton at the big kid's face, threatening him. I was so embarrassed that my sister had rescued me. But deep down I really appreciated it. It showed how much she loved her little brother. Like my mom, she also never gave up on me during the bad times.

Now I want to tell you all about my Aunt Mae. Last November she turned eighty-eight. She is actually my great aunt. There are probably a lot of people who would put her on a list like this. Words can't express how much I love that woman. She has always been so good to me. As a kid, I probably spent as much time at her house as I did my own. She loved and still does love to cook for me. Her and I used to pick blackberries together for blackberry cobbler and jam. She is a very religious person, though not very educated. Being born in 1919, and being poor, education wasn't a priority for her as a little girl. She always talked about how she wished she could have had the opportunities to learn that I had. More than she will ever know, she had a lot of influence in me taking advantage of those opportunities. She also taught me to love animals. She calls them "God's creatures". I am thirty-eight years old and she still sends me a check on my birthday and buys me candy on Valentines and Easter. It might sound funny, but that means so much to me. It always puts a smile on my face.

Finally, I want to talk about my wife Sanna, the most beautiful woman in the world. I really don't know why God blessed me with such a prize as Sanna. I certainly did not do anything to deserve her. She has such a sweet and caring heart. She always encourages me. When we first met, she saw something in me that I didn't know was there. She is not very materialistic at all. She doesn't care for jewelry or nice clothes. All she wants is to spend the rest of her life with me. She is also a great mother. She isn't perfect by any means and neither am I, but she is close enough for me. February will mark our fourth year as husband and wife, and I am still just as much in love with her now as I was when we first started dating. I still can't take my eyes off of her.

No I don't dislike women. I love women very much. But there is no doubt that men and women are different. If recognizing that makes me a sexist, then so be it. We are still equal though, but we are way, way different. Thank goodness for that.


The Problem with Populists

George Will on the Populists:
Like Job after losing his camels and acquiring boils, the conservative movement is in distress. Mike Huckabee shreds the compact that has held the movement's two tendencies in sometimes uneasy equipoise. Social conservatives, many of whom share Huckabee's desire to "take back this nation for Christ," have collaborated with limited-government, market-oriented, capitalism-defending conservatives who want to take back the nation for James Madison. Under the doctrine that conservatives call "fusion," each faction has respected the other's agenda. Huckabee aggressively repudiates the Madisonians.

Indeed. I highly suggest you read the rest of the article. Will nails it, and as for that shrinking middle class.
Economist Stephen Rose, defining the middle class as households with annual incomes between $30,000 and $100,000, says a smaller percentage of Americans are in that category than in 1979 -- because the percentage of Americans earning more than $100,000 has doubled from 12 to 24, while the percentage earning less than $30,000 is unchanged. "So," Rose says, "the entire 'decline' of the middle class came from people moving up the income ladder."

Heh! Reality and truth are often populisms biggest enemies.