Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kirby passes

Kirby (2000 - 2008)

Bill & Janel Bassett's beloved dog Kirby passed away a few days ago in Springdale, Utah. According to Bill the whole canyon community is in mourning as they lost a great friend that had acquired the nickname of the Doggie Lama due to his human-like intelligence and warm personality.

In addition to being a member of the Bassett family he also ran unsuccessfully for a Springdale town council seat in 2003 with the memorable campaign slogan: "Make no bones about it, Kirby is the best doggone candidate for Springdale."

He will be sorely missed.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Some Change!

It was quite a sickening spectacle to endure all of the sycophantic nonsense concerning the sudden messianic rise of a slick Chicago machine politician into the office of the U.S. presidency. With all of the wild and ecstatic hoo-hollering from the masses over this charlatan and his hollow sounding promises of CHANGE, even I was starting to think something really new and important was about happen.

No. I didn't really think that.

I am, though, beginning to get a better picture of what that word may actually mean to the anointed Savior of America and think that, so far, his initial moves have been quite impressive:

The first big momentous CHANGE that has occurred was his decision to bring the Clinton clan back into the Executive branch of the federal gummit. The nomination of war-hawk Hillary has drawn rave reviews from such fringe radicals as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Henry Kissinger.

Clinton era retread and political attack dog Rahm Emanuel is a nice touch for chief-of-staff as is Eric Holder (Attorney General) and John Podesta who also hail from that illustrious team of policy wonks and wise men who formerly infested the vaunted West Wing of the White House. Is James Carville not too far behind?

For Treasury Secretary we have Tim Geithner, the power-elite's flunky at the New York Federal Reserve. No surprise, since he's been touted by the likes of Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernake.

Geithner's resume is impressive: Kissinger and Associates, Council on Foreign Relations, International Monetary Fund and the G30. But he likes to fly-fish, play tennis, and surf, so I think that balances him out.

Bill Richardson, another leftover from the Clinton administration (Energy Secretary) is now going to be the Commerce Secretary. Does anybody out there know what actual duties that job entails? Or Energy for that matter? Oh, I almost forgot, he's also the most important Hispanic member of the team. Remember Roberto Gonzalez? You always gotta have at least one.

The current Bush appointed Defense Secretary Robert Gates has been invited to stay on to help keep the war machine humming as the bloody occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan continue unabated. The Messiah has hinted that he may want to attack Pakistan or Iran sometime in the near future so it's probably smart to have guys like Gates around when the need arises to implement further carnage.

So far, I'd say that's some pretty impressive CHANGE.

Can't wait to see what other NEW and exciting things unfold after the Holy Anointing on January 20th.

Is Maya Angelou going to read an Inaugural poem, again?

Monday, November 24, 2008

The holiday season has arrived in Tennessee

Happy Holidays!

Later on, when the sun set........

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thoughts of peace from the Latter Day Saints

Jeremy Ashton is a wonderful writer/essayist and proponent of Constitutional law. He is fervently anti-war, pro-free market and also happens to be a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Today he put out an essay, entitled "The Holy War", which weaves together the various strands of religious and social dogmas in his faith that confirm the view that God stands for peace and most definitely condemns involvement in aggressive war.

It is refreshing to hear this message from a contemporary Christian writer and I was elated that he used quotes from one my favorite LDS leaders Reuben Clark, who in addition to being an inspiring and dedicated church elder was politically every bit a libertarian leaning conservative of his time.

If you like this essay please check out his website:

Reuben Clark (1871 - 1961)

Monday, November 17, 2008

The kitten is still cute

The kitten has been with us for 3 weeks now and is healthy and growing.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mitch Mitchell R.I.P.

It caused a twinge of sadness when I heard the news that Mitch Mitchell had passed away at the age of 62 in Portland, Oregon on Wednesday. He was a great rock drummer who helped bring out the best in Jimi Hendrix, playing and recording with him right up until the end of his tragically short life.

One of my favorite Hendrix songs ever recorded was an instrumental piece titled "Beginnings", written by Mitch Mitchell, that is on the now long out of print record album War Heroes. (I still have the vinyl and love to turn it up and shake the walls down).

All the members of the Experience are now dead (Jimi in 1970 and Noel in 2003). I hope that they are having one helluva of a raucous reunion somewhere in the heavens above.

After all the jacks are in their boxes

And the clowns have all gone to bed

You can hear happiness staggering on down the street

Footsteps dressed in red

And the wind whispers Mary

A broom is drearily sweeping

Up the broken pieces of yesterdays life

Somewhere a queen is weeping

Somewhere a king has no wife
And the wind, it cries Mary

The traffic lights, they turn blue tomorrow

And shine their emptiness down on my bed

The tiny island sags down stream

cause the life that lived,

Is dead

And the wind screams Mary

Will the wind ever remember

The names it has blown in the past?

And with this crutch, its old age and its wisdom

It whispers no, this will be the last

And the wind cries Mary

Good night boys. Hope y'all have a good gig with lots of free drinks on the house. Say hello to Muddy and Janis for me.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Too weird to be true!

From the headlines of my local paper:

The real news is going to put The Onion out of business.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Go figure

For the third year in a row the Atlantic hurricane season was predicted to be "well above average" in the number of named storms and systems that would form over this quadrant of the planet. Instead it has, yet again, been a below average storm season with 2007-2008 marking a record of inactivity in the Northern Hemisphere not seen in some 30 years.

Now that's three years in a row that they've gotten it dead wrong. Go figure.

I often wonder if dire environmental predictions now serve a societal purpose? Are they just one more thing to add to the color-coded matrix of fear the government and the 24-hour media spin cycle can use to keep us frightened, alarmed and standing by for further developments?

Would anyone dare issue a prediction of a calm storm season these days? I sort of doubt it. It might be seen as an irresponsible act towards the security of the Homeland.

This year many meteorologists are predicting a cold winter, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. With virtually no sunspot activity this past year it seems a certainty, to me mind you, that the planet is entering a period of much cooler weather. I wouldn't bet the house on it ('cause it ain't paid for yet) but I suspect that those of you in places like Michigan and New Hampshire are in for some frigid butts come January. We'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let's hear it for Iraq!

Funeral for the victims of the recent American air strike in Syria.

An important news story was buried in today's headlines concerning the government of Iraq's condemnation of the recent U.S. air strike into Syria which killed 9 and injured 19. What stood out the most for me was this particular quote from their official statement: "The Iraqi government rejects U.S. aircraft bombarding posts inside Syria. The constitution does not allow Iraq to be used as a staging ground to attack neighboring countries." WOW! They actually follow their Constitution! Imagine that!

The U.S. government could learn a thing or two from them, don't ya think?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Georgia vs. LSU

It don't get no better than this folks, an SEC battle par excellence will occur this Saturday when the #9 Georgia Bulldogs face down the #11 LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge. This will be a crucial test that the Dawgs must pass if they are to remain in contention for a shot at the SEC East title. Alabama is the only other upper echelon opponent they have faced this season, who proceeded to demolish them before a national television audience in their own house.

I really don't like talking about it.

LSU was also embarrassed in their sole loss to the Florida Gators and will be looking for redemption as they defend their national title with an eye to repeating the feat again in January. This should be a great game that I hope Georgia can win. Predicted score: GA over LSU 34 - 30.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In the Sky

The following clip from a 1968 performance on the BBC by the Mothers is one of my all time favorite songs, even though it has always sort of perplexed me as to what the actual words are that Roy Estrada is singing. My ears come up with "Who is this guy, who is this guy, who is this guy in the sky?" but I've never been totally sure.

Now through the magic of cyberspace I'd like to see what y'all think the words are to this immortal and magically charged performance by the best damn band nobody ever listened to.

I look forward to hearing your replies. Thanks in advance.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday Drive

The weather has finally cooled off here in the Tennessee Valley so we decided to take a drive in the country this past Sunday. As always the character and culture of the rural South is consistently interesting to the curious traveler and the emerging Fall color only added to the splendor.

Cumberland Trail

Along old U.S. Hwy. 41

Tennessee - Alabama Fireworks Store

View atop Raccoon Mountain

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Buckets of Shred

It is such a privilege to live in an era when there are so many entertainment choices available via the Internet. I was recently blown away with how many different live versions of one of my favorite Buckethead songs could be found on YouTube. So I carefully played them all and picked the following one as my favorite performance of "Frozen Brains Tell No Tales", which originally appeared on the album Bucketheadland 2.

The pulsing build-up chords finally lead into a burning solo that reminds me very much of Hendrix and early seventies Zappa. Its frenzied fuzzy tonality is pure joy to my ears.

This clip is from a show at the Aggie Theatre in Ft. Collins, CO.

Shred on dudes!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Journey to Texas

As promised I am posting some photos of my recent journey to Texas where I worked on a mobile emergency kitchen in the wake of Hurricane Ike. I've chosen the images that I like best from the six rolls of 35mm film that I shot.

The world is a strange and wondrous place and the South is even more so with all of its quirky and colorful eccentricities. Every journey here is an adventure and a revelation. It's an irresistible place to point your camera and click.

Downtown Shubuta, Mississippi

Real Estate Office
Shubuta, MS

New Orleans in the early morning.

Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans

Toomey, Louisiana

Feeding line in Beaumont, Texas

Fed and happy storm victims

A worn out crew in Beaumont.

Brick wall down in Bridge City, TX

My dream come true---a genuine Texas smoker!

Ribs prepared with love and oak.

David & Nancy take a break
in Galveston, TX

The Fred Hartman Bridge
Hwy. 146 over the Houston Ship Channel

Evergreen, Alabama

Conecuh County, Alabama

Autauga County, Alabama

Monday, October 06, 2008

Home At Last

I have finally arrived back home three weeks after departing for the Gulf Coast of Texas to staff a mobile emergency kitchen for survivors of Hurricane Ike. It was a rewarding, sometimes grueling and ultimately faith testing experience which I'm still sort of recovering from. I will have some pictures to share (I used an old 35mm film camera) in an upcoming post about the entire trip.

I'd like to thank several people for helping me along on my journey to and from this disaster zone: Tricia and Justin in Ocean Springs, MS; Audie and Kim in Houston, TX; my brother-in-law Steve who's probably on the road somewhere along Interstate 10 as I write; John and Joy in League City, TX; my fellow kitchen crew members-----just us seven doing the work of twenty and last but not least the enduring support of my wife and step-daughter here in beautiful Chattanooga, TN. Y'all deserve a big round of cosmically charged applause.

Yup, it's good to be home.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hurricane Ike

I am setting out for Texas in the wake of Hurricane Ike to help staff a mobile kitchen for displaced victims of this terrible storm. I will be working with Christian Disaster Response, a non-profit disaster relief organization based in Winter Haven, Florida. I've been out with them before to work in tornado ravaged areas of Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida but have not yet been asked to respond to a hurricane. The scene I am about to confront will be on an order of magnitude many times greater than any I've experienced in the past.

Wish us luck and if you are so inclined please give generously to:

Christian Disaster Response
P.O. Box 3339
Winter Haven, FL 33885

Thanks in advance.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Land of the Free

Now come along quietly and there won't be any trouble.

In case you are still deluded into thinking that we still live in a free country I thought I'd share some headlines from today's news cycle to clue you in about what's really going down across the fruited plain:

From the Alligator Republic of Florida:

From the cradle of the Confederacy:

From the home of the Boston Tea Party:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Window on the world

Some of you have requested more landscape photos taken from the window of a jetliner, so I have finally gotten around to selecting some of my unpublished favorites. I hope you like 'em and understand why I always request a window seat.

Provo, Utah

Mississippi River

Gooseberry Mesa, Utah

Jacksonville, Florida

Colorado River, Utah

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Delta of the Mississippi River in Louisiana

Cliffs above Orderville, Utah

Rockville, Utah

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Taxes are voluntary

If you've got about five minutes to spare this snippet from an interview with U.S. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid presents a crystal clear picture how to be a consummate straight faced liar. It'll also cause you to double over in laughter (at least it did for me) as well as clue you in to what our masters in DC really think of our intelligence.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Take me out to the ballgame

Among the many wonderful amenities and pleasures of being a citizen of Chattanooga, Tennessee is the fact that I can walk to nearby AT & T Field and take in a minor league baseball game on a warm summer's night. Every Tuesday I can use my Bi-Lo grocery store discount card and get in for $2! Such a deal!

The Chattanooga Lookouts are a AA franchise of the Southern League and a farm team affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds. The stadium is situated on a bluff above the Tennessee River that affords expansive views of the surrounding mountains and ridges as well as the North Shore district of Chattanooga where we live.

The team has two, count 'em two, mascots: Lookout Looie and Slider, who regularly make the rounds in the stands and perform the Chicken Dance atop the home team dugout during the bottom of the fourth inning. What more could one ask for the price of general admission?

Lookout Looie

Last night the Lookouts pitcher Travis Wood lost his no-hit bid with two outs in the eighth inning but still prevailed with a 3-1 win over the Jacksonville Suns. A great time was had by all, including me.