Thursday, June 30, 2011

music to my ears...

Is it the lure, the mystique, the "live music capitol of the world" rep?  Just what is it about Austin that draws untold numbers of aspiring musicians?  For how many does the dream come to fruition? How long in the  trenches, playing small clubs and to scant audiences before the dream begins to fade? How long before hope dims and being in the scene becomes all there is?

Some might tell you this naysayer can't tell shit from Shinola and they'd probably be right in most cases, but I do know what I like.  This past weekend I had occasion to hear the Coffee Sergeants.  Even to this unpracticed ear it is obvious this group has the "it factor" in spades.

As I'd not heard the Coffee Sergeants play before I was curious enough to do a bit of digging. (okay I went to their web page  It seems this group of accomplished musicians and songwriters has been hanging around the Austin scene "for decades.". The Sergeants have released a goodly number of albums, have regularly scheduled gigs and so on; it makes one wonder how it is the Sergeants have failed to make it onto the larger world stage.  They've been favorably compared to Bevis Frond, the Green Pajamas, and Ghost (all of whom I also had not heard of before reading tCS's reviews but all of whom have apparently gone on to play before larger audiences outside Austin) yet the Sergeants remain largely a local wonder.

Something I read in one review may have hit upon why they have not gone on to wider renown.  They don't tour!  Eureka!  Those singular words, "don't tour" may be the very reason many extremely talented and entertaining bands simply die on the vine. 

Most every musician in Austin has a day job, or two, or three which they endure to support their aspiration to play live music.  It  can cost a butt load of money to tour but even if the money to tour was there, most employers-- even in the "live music capitol of the world", are likely reluctant to let an employee take off for months on end in order to tour the country trying to earn a larger following.

In the case of the Coffee Sergeants, the rest of the world's loss is Austin's gain.  If, like me, you enjoy hearing talented musicians meshing like they've played together for decades (and they have), singing interesting lyrics crisply so that even the hearing challenged can understand the story their telling (and they do), the Coffee Sergeants should be on a bucket list of groups to hear before the final curtain call (theirs or yours).  You can find them at the Carousel Lounge in Austin the first Tuesday of every month from 7:00-9:00 or at the Whip-in the second Friday of every month from 8:00-10:00.  For other play dates check their web page.

The above bit is brought to you in the name of the Krewe de Coeur Maudit (but without their fore-knowledge or approval, so don't blame them).  Check them out at  aio  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

halloween 2011...

one reason for leaving little a town for big a town was to get to some cooler temps, but the main reason was to support c.'s fundraising efforts for the 5th annual                 krewe de couer maudit halloween parade (and to hear the devils play).
 it was a rawkin' good time at the red 7 club. 

those attending were treated to sets from the coffee sergeants, twin prisons and
the town hall devils. there was some great food provided by friends of the krewe, happy hour pricing at the bar-- what's not to love.

if you happen to be in our capitol city on halloween night 2011 you should take in the krewe dcm parade.  for more information check out the krewe  at--                or or

there are more pictures of the event on facebook--  like this one.  for a better idea of the fun had by one and all go to the krewe's facebook page.  see you on halloween, the march is a funtastic time. aio

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

oh, my goodness...


we ducked out of town late friday night with the thought that we wouldn't have to spend the better part of saturday driving down to big a town to see c. and c. and the animals. still it was about 2 p.m.  when we pulled up at 1514 cattle trail. 

in a post last year i commented on our grand state being green from top to bottom and east to west.  fast forward to 2011.  as brown and sere as it has been 'round these parts i expected to see a sea of tinder dryness from here all the way to there. 

conditions have been dry all over the state but about as soon as we dropped off the caprock, at Post, things started greening up some; the further south we got, the better things looked.  the hill country south of Goldwaithe was mighty close to pleasing to the eyes.  in point of fact, c. related that big a town had received 21/2 inches from one system that moved through there recently.  life, and the fickle weather, is just not fair.

in another post last year i opined as to how the key to getting rain around here was for us to leave town.  if i recall, the night before we got back from that trip there was generalized flooding as a system dropped 61/2 inches in a short time. 

we just pulled in the drive from making our way back to little a town.  as luck would have it, we got rain early this morning.  not a flood like last year, and for sure the drought is not broken, but we are grateful to have received .49 inches to bring the total for the year to 1.15.  winds were reported at 59 gusting to 70 mph with the system.  i believe it, the front yard is littered with limbs and leaves.

i'll be interested to see where channel 10's rain gauge shoot out stands after this latest addition to the totals. normal rainfall for june is 3.25 inches.  at 1.15 inches we are well behind the average for june, and so far from the average rainfall to date of 9.25 inches we may not see that much for the whole year.

i'll leave town every weekend from now on if that's what it takes to get some significant moisture in here.  whatever the sacrifice, i'm up for it.  aio  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

fading past...


picking up on the thread of monday's post at the monkey heart discourses, "not fade away", the monkey heart mentioned my growing up south of lubbock, tx-- the hometown of buddy holly.  buddy holly and the crickets were nowhere on my radar screen at the passing of my 10th birthday.  i'm not sure we even had a radio in those days. probably we did, but if so it would have been tuned in to a country station of my daddy's choosing.
somewhere into the 60's i got my first pocket transistor radio.  i remember trying to listen to it while i was riding tractor but the noise of that old poppin' johnny was too loud to make that very practical.

as i recall there was a single ear bud in those days. alkaline batteries were still 25 or 30 years away.  the fact that batteries in those days lost their charge quickly and money to buy them was scarce meant that the hours in the hot sun dragged on forever as the fireball crawled lazily across the sky.

such was the life of a dry land cotton farmer's kid.  as the days crept into august, this boy couldn't help but start wishing for the school year to begin.  there was always plenty of heat left as the days slipped into september.  windows in the classroom would be wide open in case some errant breeze decided to favor us with it's passing.  those classrooms were anything but cool, still the kids who'd spent their summer out in the fields were glad to be indoors.  as hot as it was inside, at least it was out of the blazing sun. 

ah, yes the good old days; or were they, really?  maybe not so much, take it from me. aio

Monday, June 20, 2011

say, what???...

i read with some interest each day a column by Dr. Gott re: medical questions.  often his piece is about alternative treatments for common maladies.  the topic for today was warts.  the first suggested solution for warts-- chalk.  for you younger ones who only know chalk in the form of colored sidewalk chalk, i'm referring to the white sticks of calcium carbonate teachers used to write on the board at the front of the classroom before the advent of dry erase boards and markers. dr. gott opined that the chalk acted as a drying agent, causing the wart to drop off after some time.

he went on to review some other "home remedy" type treatments for removing warts.  one method included involved mixing a small bit of "tang" (orange drink of the astronauts) with a bit of water, placing the "tang" poultice on the wart and covering it with a band-aid.

that seems a bit odd to me but my question is this.  how does one decide that using "tang" and a band-aid is going to be an ideal remedy for removing warts?  i admit to having less than a scientific mind. but still, "tang"?

i spent a good part of my youth growing up in the 50's.  modern medicine was still out there on the horizon.  i do remember my granny mac "mopping" my sore throat with a mixture of turpentine, coal-oil and grease.  whoever hatched up that nasty remedy was just a tad this side of demented.  yuck!  i think the idea might have been that i'd find the treatment so bad i'd stop whining about how much my throat hurt. 

back in the time my dad was coming up doctor's were few and folks were forced to come up with their own answers to vexing problems.  it was a process of trial and error i'm assuming.  here, let's try this.  well that didn't do any good, how about we do this, and on and on until some concoction seemed to ease the pain, redness, swelling-- whatever the complaint might be.

the human body is resilient and able to absorb tremendous insult.  grandma's throat mop or a "tang" poultice register barely a blip on the radar screen of healing.  still, what kind of mind conjures up "tang" and a band-aid as a remedy for warts.  maybe it's me who is lacking the vision for dreaming up such a novel approach to common problems like a sore throat or an unsightly wart.  maybe it's just me. aio

Sunday, June 19, 2011

remembering camp kowakani...

i somehow let myself be talked into serving as "camp nurse" starting with the second year my baby girl signed up for Camp Fire's "Camp Kowakani".  my first morning on the job was uneventful but as the temp climbed toward the 100's i racked my brain for an idea as to how i could get the campers to drink lots of water, thus staving off potential heat related problems.

the "brilliant" idea i hatched was this.  i'd re-word familiar songs with the theme being, "kids drink your water".  i don't recall what that first song was, but i do remember the boos from the campers when i was called to stage for the second.  and so it went for the rest of the camp, they would boo, i would "sing".  something must have clicked, we had no heat related issues to deal with.

fast forward to year two as camp nurse.  i about dropped my teeth when as i was called to the stage to be introduced. a  resounding chorus rang up from the campers... "song, song, song, song. and thus a tradition was born. i became part of what made "camp kowakani" a fun (and safe) experience.  i even went to camp for a couple of years after my daughter had lost interest in the camp fire experience.

comments after the latest posting at suggested i should sing some of those songs to share.  I even went as far as downloading a voice recording program onto my computer and "singing" my campy version of marty robbin's, "streets of laredo".  shall we say, i soon realized why the campers were booing.  there'll be no posting of my singing onto the world wide web to be available via the ethernet forever and ever, amen. no, thank your very much.

i will venture to share my bastardization of marty's famous tune and lyrics.

as i walked out on the streets of kow'kani
as i walked out in kow'kani today
i saw some young campers, they looked mighty thirsty
they looked mighty thirsty, their tongues like baked clay

i told those young campers that they should drink water
i told those young campers they looked awful dry
and most of those campers, they did as i'd asked them
they drank all their water and so weren't so dry...

on hot, dry and windy days like we're having here in the texas panhandle it's important to stay hydrated. remember this, if you wait until you're thirsty to start drinking, you've waited too long. hydrate early and hydrate all day long. water is the best-- even cacti need a drink now and then. don't make me torture you with another cheesy camp song.  aio    

Saturday, June 18, 2011

better than any old tie, father's day gift...

have you ever given any thought to whether any of the wisdoms you flung against the wall that is your child as it grows actually stuck or made any impression at all?  were they even listening to, much less retaining, your efforts at passing along the benefit of your experience?

at least in the case of my youngest, i think she was listening, at least part of the time. 

i received an early father's day present in the form of her latest posting on her blog.( ) her posting may well be the best pap's day gift ever. 

my take on child rearing has much to do with growing up the son of a hard drinking, dry land cotton farmer.  it was rare that i ever saw any hint of affection from him.  i don't recall ever hearing an "i love you son" from him, or from my mother, for that matter.  being raised in an affection vacuum can have a positive affect, even if the benefit is to the next generation.

the years of my youth were without the pleasantries my children enjoyed. they suffered the unfortunate circumstance of being born into a middle class family, to a dad who grew up in the meanest of situations.  given that happenstance their appeals for this, that or the other thing "all the other kids had" often fell on unsympathetic ears. there is a difference between "wants" and "needs", after all.  attempts to impress upon them how good they had it at 7420 were met with poorly concealed skepticism.

while they may not have been granted every wish, they did grow up in a home where affection-- hugs, kisses and "i love yous" were common.

i'm sure they all grew tired of hearing me harp on ad nauseum about how good they had it.  still, it appears my favorite daughter retained some of my tired truisms and she made the old man cry in the remembering of those good old days.

thank you, baby! XOXOXO. i love you. aio

Friday, June 17, 2011

the human brain, such a delicate flower...

the human being and all that is involved in making each of just that, human, is for most of us never given the slightest, most fleeting, even casual, thought.  we just are. no consideration given to the intricate and complicated blend of cosmic plasma that's involved in making each of us tick.  not a whit of worry given to-- are things are running as they should, until something goes amiss, that is.

consider for instance the human brain, the computer system of our being. it hums along without missing a beat until catastrophe happens. 

a motorcycle rider speeds along, not a care in the world, sans helmet-- the wind blowing through what's left of a now balding pate, not a care in the world-- that is until a car stops unexpectedly in front of the rider and without any other viable option the biker lays his machine down. bike and rider are propelled ahead at the speed of the bike, by forward momentum, into certain injury the result of which is most certainly an uncertain and possibly altered future.

it is not my intent to pick on bike riders.  it is their right to straddle that crotch rocket and without the protection of a car's exterior to carom along at, or above the speed limits innocently assuming home will see their return. sometimes fate has other plans. 

the human brain is such a delicate organ and even a minor bump can upset the apple cart resulting in a bleed into the brain; or, after 60 years of pork sausage every morning for breakfast that final smidgen of plaque seals off the pinhole of circulation remaining, resulting in an embolic stroke of potentially massive proportions.

brain injuries of any source are not something i'd wish on my worst enemy. in the blink of an eye what was a heartbeat beforehand a perfectly capable and functioning specimen from the top of the food chain, can in an instant be reduced to a mute, confused and slobbering wreck, left unable to eat or bathe unaided and without the ability to preclude pissing or shitting himself. catastrophe neglects no race, gender or socio-economic strata, dealing misery without discretion across the board.

it is human nature to live in a state of denial, denying to the very end that any  untoward thing will ever visit itself upon you.  take it from me, it can happen, and does to some unsuspecting soul with every tick of the clock, here, there and all around the world forever and ever, amen. bad things could be coming to a neighborhood called you at anytime and when you would least expect it. on that note, i'll climb off the soap box, at least for now.

ya'll be careful out there, ya' here me? aio   

Monday, June 13, 2011

oh baby, it's hot outside....

It was a balmy 99, panhandle of texas, degrees as i finished up jog-walking 4 miles at noon today.  As the day progressed into mid-afternoon, the temp topped out at a scorching 105.                                                             

All this heat and not a rain cloud, or an oasis for that matter, in sight.  the weather gurus bravely hang their hats on a 20% chance of rain in parts of the area.  kenemac translation = "it ain't gonna rain here today."

i paid the water bill today, which was knocking on the door of a c-note, and it's barely the middle of june.  yikes, something's gotta give, but it doesn't look like the sun is gonna be the one cryin' "uncle" any time soon. 
i'm almost afraid to get the electric bill, there's no telling how much it might be. whatever it is, i guess i'll pay the piper.  after all it was 105 out there today and the a/c is doing it's thing to keep it from being that hot inside. what ever the cost, it'll be a small price to pay. i do like me some cool. aio                                                                                                                                               


Sunday, June 12, 2011

a wider audience....

deluding myself is what i do best. birthing "pearls" of wisdom on whatever piques my interest sometimes seems a waste of my time and that of the handful of faithful readers of this space. nothing very deep or especially erudite will be found within these confines.

i suppose i'm carping about my limited readership; however any words you find here that perhaps bring a smile or causes one to pause a moment, to ponder, i hope are not a total waste.

the agn printed an appeal for opinions about banning the sale of fireworks this 4th of july holiday.  i submitted my last post, called "ban the bomb", for possible inclusion on the op ed page.

today's page included that piece as the lead opinion on the subject.  it saddens me somewhat to think that more people will likely read in one day those words, first posted here, than will have read all the words posted at kidsdonegone since it's inception. still, i can't help feeling just a little bit proud that the opinions page editor found those words worthy of inclusion.

a senior (aged) blogger has to take his victories as they come. aio

Sunday, June 5, 2011

ban the bomb...

five days into june, hot, dry and extremely windy continues to be the norm around these parts.  most every day is a "red flag" day and this far into the year, 2011 remains the driest since 1956.

with the heat, wind and multiple "wildfires" seen around here this year the "hot topic" in view of the current conditions, and the fast approaching 4th of july, is whether to ban the sale of fireworks.

it seems like a no-brainer to me. the area grasses are more than tinder dry and can burst into flame at the smallest spark; whipped by the pugnacious panhandle winds, that hint of a spark can be fanned into a massive wildfire, racing ahead of the wind, leaving fear, danger and destruction in it's path .


tens of thousands of acres have burned, scores of homes and other properties have been consumed.  firefighters have lost their lives.

banning the sale of fireworks for this fourth of july is the right decision. failing to step up, to make that hard choice, would be irresponsible.  deciding authorities, do the right thing, for the good of all. aio