Sunday, September 30, 2007

Frederick Law Olmstead -- You Rock!

This is the intro. There really is no intro. I'm typing nothing. Obviously these words are something but really this is nothing. Yada yada yada. Uh huh.

Unconscious Mutterings

a free association game -- I say :: and you think ... ?

1. Crook :: Thief

2. Career :: Job

3. Freckles :: Fraggle Rock... I have no idea why, I guess just 'cause Fraggle sounds similar to Freckle.

4. Scramble :: The Ramble -- with lots of trees and rocks, ponds and a stream, and meandering paths here and there, it's a spot you'd just about never know you're in the greatest city on Earth ... New York City, of course. And the park? Duh -- Central Park, where else!? (and again, I guess I was doing a sound-alike. Obviously, huh?)

5. Mistake :: By The Lake... the nickname of the Cleveland Browns & Indians old home: Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

6. Telephone ::
Should be connected to the wall with what's commonly called the phone cord. Should NEVER be brought with you in your car... unless you're moving somewhere and it's in a box being brought to your new home. DEFINITELY should NEVER be brought with you to a restaurant, the store, the mall, the movie theater, the Broadway theater, on an airplane, to the pool, to a concert, to the park, to the symphony, to school, or basically ANYWHERE off your property or outside of where you live.

7. Thank You :: When telling someone on their cell phone to SHUT THE HECK UP!! and/or LEAVE YOUR PHONE AT HOME!!! you should always politely add, "Thank you."

8. Obstruction :: What you don't want to have in your windpipe! Otherwise it'll be time to be Paging Dr. Heimlich, paging Dr. Heimlich, choking person needs possibly life-saving assistance!

9. 24/7 :: 7-11 ... Slurpee!!!

10. Sci-Fi :: Channel ... they produce some of the very worst Made-for-TV movies. Some are eh, others completely bite. Thankfully I haven't watched one in a very long time. One of these days I'll check out their recent offerings, see if they've improved at all. At least it's a good place to catch The X-Files... which I also haven't seen in a very long time but maybe I'll check it out again one of these days. When there's a TV show you really like, a long layoff from it (like over a year) will make it fresh again!

The Ramble

from this meme is called: Unconscious Mutterings


Yesterday evening was my first run since fracturing my tibia. Finally. I have been so apprehensive about it. To live this life without any fear is something I strive for. To run again is something that I may have been a little scared of. So easy it would have been to just not care and get fat, get diabetes, live an unhealthy existence like so many of my fellow Americans. That ain't right. Then again, if Democrats have their way, we'll move a step or two closer to becoming a Socialist nation and I won't have to worry about working to pay for my medical bills. Everyone who pays taxes will pay for me! YAYYYY!!!!

I'd rather not go down that path -- having others pay for my medical bills or even getting to a point where I would need to go to a doctor because I gave up doing anything seriously positive for my good health. So I run... or more accurately, I've started running again.

The few minutes between walkin' out the door and stepping foot on the trail, I was jacked up and ready to go right away. Felt really good. Felt right.

First I needed a short walk for a warm-up and then some stretching at a spot where I'd start my run. Two consecutive songs I had picked out that would help me along with a nice, slow pace... and off I was.

Total Trail Time: 51 minutes
Running Time: only 5 minutes & 38 seconds

Yeah, twas a very short run. It couldn't really be much longer than that because I had to start small to get a feel of how my tibia would feel the following day. And now that it is the following day: tibia feels fine.

Also had to start with a very short running time because of my lungs. They've gone through a seriously extended period of time without any strenuous use whatsoever. My cardiovascular system has fallen into a sad state of not-so-well-being. At around four minutes into my run, all I wanted was for it to be over! I did not quit. My legs felt fine. Feet, ankles, hips, head, everything felt fine... except for my lungs. They weren't burning on fire killing me... but I wasn't exactly loving life. When the second song came to an end and I pulled up and finished running, I had to stop in my tracks with hands on knees, taking some deep breaths, trying to get back to some sort of normal. Didn't happen anytime soon. I walked for a few minutes, turned around and hiked back all the while feeling GREAT that I just made that run, but not feeling so wonderful physically.

The good news is today I feel like I'm ready for a hike or even another run... but I'm gonna have a day of rest and then get back out there tomorrow.

Trail Tunes...

Mark Chesnutt

Heard It In A Love Song


Heard It In A Love Song
Dreaming My Dreams With You
That Good That Bad
A Hard Secret To Keep
A Day In The Life Of A Fool
You Can't Find Many Kissers
Apartment #9
A Shoulder To Cry On
Goodbye Comes Hard For Me
Lost Highway

Excellent country tunes. This is good stuff. There might only be one original here while the rest of the material is tunes that've done by others in the past. Beaumont, Texas native Mark Chesnutt puts forth a collection of tunes that feels like he's playin' in a honky tonk country bar far away from suburban sprawldivisions and starbucks. Each song is handled in such a fine Texas manner, crafted to sound not at all typical of what the 21st century Nashville country music industry churns out on a weekly basis. If Chesnutt ever decides to end his Nash-Vegas existence and become an independent Texas country singer, he'd do just fine.

256 kbps dload found @ DE's Variety

Tag, I'm It

Alright, I've been tagged by the splendidly loud and loquacious yet rose-smelling (so she claims) Erica from
Erica's Blog. She's discovered I dig music and I bet we could enjoy a beer or two together while groovin' on all sorts of cool tunes... so I will oblige and dive in to attempt the task of filling this out. I know it's gonna be friggin' impossible but methinks I might be able to have some fun with it. Me likey music mucho but these q's actually aren't easy for me to definitively answer. Let's see what happens, k?

What music are you currently grooving to?

(I started this yesterday just before noon...) Right now? At this very moment? The sweet sounds of the washing machine. Whirrrr whirrrr whirrrr whirrrr. That'll be playin' for awhile but in a few minutes from when I'm typin' this, the Cubs game'll be on with Len and Bob at the mic. The Cubbies've already clinched their division but no other game is on. I'm prolly gonna go for a run this afternoon, might Press Play on some country today. My musical tastes are crazily (almost) all over the place. Mostly I groove on the good ol' Grateful Dead and pretty much anything immediately related i.e. Phil Lesh & Friends, Ratdoggie dog, other Bob Weir stuff, some Hornsby, Mickey, of course Jerry Garcia Band plus other projects he's done... and a bunch more. There's really no other specific band that I'm lovin' or spinnin' often... 'cept maybe Vedder's Into The Wild soundtrack lately. I almost can't get enough of that! I'm not the hugest Pearl Jam fan, but this new material from Mr. Seattle is pretty cool stuff!! (I didn't actually think that in an exclamatory kind of way, but I'm addicted to exclamation marks. Sue me.)

What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favourite album?

What's with the "ou" in favorite? Whoever originally wrote this must hate America.* I need to re-state that question in proper American:

What, if push comes to shove, is your all-time favOrite album?

Now that's more like it. One album? 1 as in 1? As in less than 2 and more than 0? Get out of town, Jack, seriously? Hands down -- Osama bin Laden and His Sexy Taliban Lesbian Bikini Honeys Live at CBGB's Tel Aviv is pretty good... actually it's good because bin Laden sucks so badly that it's fun to laugh at and make fun of. He probably listens to 'N Sync's Greatest Hits. OH, or Michael's Jackson's Thriller. (Isn't The Gloved One such a great role model!) They'd make a great duo, no wait, the Osama Trio with Michael Jackson & Lance Bass with special guests Melissa Etheridge & Elton John.

A real answer you want? See, there is no any easy answer spilling forth from brain to fingers to keyboard to screen. I'm not a Favorites/Best Of list person. What's that? If I had a gun to my head name one or else I'll be worm food? Studio album or can it be a box set? Two or 3-cd live show? Okay, I'll just stick with studio albums...

Grateful Dead: American Beauty.
Non-dead? U2's The Joshua Tree it seems I can never get tired of, great from first note to last.

What was the first record you ever bought? And where did you buy it?

I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday. Whatever my first LP was, I'm sure I bought it at Sam Goody's in the Preakness Shopping Center in Wayne, New Jersey. A few firsts of mine way back when, but not in order:
The Police: Ghost In The Machine
Foreigner: Four
Yes: 90215
Van Halen: Diver Down
Rush: Moving Pictures

Which musician have you ever wanted to be?

Kenny G.

What do you sing in the shower?

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.

What is your favourite Saturday night record?

Wait a minute, this is a socialist sponsored meme 'cause there's that pesky "ou" again. Well, in any case, how's this for an answer...
Bob Weir: Ace. (It has the song
One More Saturday Night on it.)

And your Sunday morning record?

Sunday is the Lord's Day so obviously anything by Megadeath. Or maybe Slayer. Ha, I kid Jesus. He's a good guy, we're pretty tight... so I kid the Savior. He knows it.... right, big guy??? Sunday morning? Who actually has a "favorite Saturday night record" and the same for Sunday morning? "Hey, it's Saturday night, time to play my favorite Saturday night record." Uhhh??? How many people even have records anymore? I sure don't. I've got albums, they're on CD or mp3, but sorry, no vinyl... except for my playtime clothes but that's between me and Mistress Nightwitch. You can find us in Tomkins Square Park each Tuesday and Thursday night between 2 and 4 a.m. ... bark 4 times and meow once and we'll know you'd like to join in. Whoops, definitely not Sunday morning material! But hmmm... Sunday morning.... really any morning deserves something really freakin' LOUD to shake the windows and wake up the neighbors, or the moose and bear if you're in Alaska. LOUD, I say, like... well, Kenny G! or maybe Van Halen. Either one.

* I don't truly believe the non-American who wrote this really hates America... I have good reason to assume it, but I don't really go around assuming that about everybody not from here. We are the Great Satan, Ahmadinejad says, so maybe we are to be hated?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Da Bullz, Da Bearz, Da CUBZ?! ... Da Dead in Seattle 30 Years Ago Today

When it comes to baseball, loyalty is highly approved of. When you're a Mets fan, you're a Mets fan. No one else. Just the Mets. But I've got a special place in my heart for the "Loveable Losers" -- the Chicago Cubs. My dad was born in the northside suburb of Lake Forest. He grew up there and in nearby Highland Park. Northsiders are Cubs fans. My dad's a Cubs fan. Because of that, I didn't adopt one of Chicago's two baseball teams as my favorite, nope, I chose between the Mets and Yankees... but I turned my back on the two football teams local to where I grew up in Northern New Jersey and I adopted the Chicago Bears as my favorite football team and when Michael Jordan was playing, the Chicago Bulls as my favorite basketball team. Da Bullz! Da Bearz! Ditka!

In baseball, my loyalty's always been with the Mets but over the years I've grown to... sort of cheer for the Cubs, at least wish them well. Mets are and always will be, even in their humiliating pathetic despair, #1. But the Cubs deserve to win. Their last World Series championship was quite a few years ago -- 1908 to be exact.

So now ya gotta hand it to the Chicago Cubs for bein' one of the best teams in baseball this year. At the end of the San Diego-Milwaukee game on ESPN earlier tonight, the very first thing the announcer said was along the lines of -- "And the Chicago Cubs have clinched the National League Eastern Division Title." Dude, it was a Padres-Brewers game. But it had implications. Right after that last out was made, I had the idea for some reason to flip over to WGN, the Chicago TV station that the Cubs are often on nationally. Low and behold, instead of regular programming, onto the screen came came the graphic with a voice saying --"This is a WGN News Special" Had a plane crashed? Did the mayor have a fatal heart attack? No... Cubs Clinch! Pretty wild seein' the champagne a flowin' in the Cubs clubhouse. After their game in Cincinatti against the Reds, they had to wait around for about an hour and watch the end of the Brewers game to see if they could celebrate. Yup. Lots of bubbly and beer and even shaving cream. WGN's main sports guy was there for interviews plus there were many reporters on camera for interviews in and around Chicago, from Harry Carey's Restaurant up to Wrigleyville and the Cubby Bear. Best baseball fans in the game, hands down.

Now with 2 games left, the NY Mets have collapsed into 2nd place, a game behind Philly. Oh joy. They've sucked completely and utterly horrendously for the past couple weeks especially. A monumental collapse from their perch atop their division. Fallen from 1st they have and now it looks like no playoffs for them unless somehow they can pull out a freakin' miracle and a half. Even if they win both of their remaining games -- Phillies have to lose at least one. Yay. Mets suck.

Well, thank God there's great music to make the crappy times better! From Wrigleyville to Shea to Seattle 30 Years Ago Tonight... Ladies & Gentlemen, the Dead du Jour...

Is it Phil who mentions the NFL? It was never explained why.  Was this the year the Seahawks came into the league?  Beats me.  No, I just checked.  The Seahawks were starting their 2nd season.  First season they were an awesome 2-12.  And when the Dead were in Seattle for this and the next night, the new season was just underway.  But why the NFL was mentioned, it's still not clear.  In any case, Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Brent Mydland, Donna Godchaux, Keith Godchaux, Ron McKernan a.k.a. Pigpen, Bruce Hornsby, Mickey Hart, Billy Kreutzmann, Vince Welnick, they put on a great show this night in Seattle.  Only, wait, Vince wasn't there.  Neither was Pigpen.  Nope, Hornsby wasn't either.  But the rest were there.  What's that?  Brent was absent, too?  Why, yes, you are correct!  Pretty good show, though.  So sweet!

Grateful Dead -- 9/28/77
Paramount Northwest Theatre
Seattle, Washington

1st Set
(missing first 5 songs)

Tennessee Jed, Passenger, Peggy-O,
Me & My Uncle, Friend Of The Devil,
The Music Never Stopped

2nd Set
Bertha Good Lovin', Dire Wolf,
Estimated Prophet
Eyes Of The World
Not Fade Away Wharf Rat
Around And Around

U.S. Blues

It used to be for me that with shows missing songs like this, I'd just pass them right over. Afterall, there are so many dates with every song or just missing only the encore, why spend time listening to just a partial show? Maybe I'd get to those someday, savin' 'em for last. Well, these days I've decided to just let 'er rip, meanin' I'm gonna sample 'em all, no matter freakin' what. Glad I am! Even though the first five songs are missing, that's no reason to not give this a listen. And what I need to do is step in front of a swiftly moving train as punishment for not listening to 1977 in so long. Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. Dumb.

Before this two night stand in Seattle, the boys had taken somewhat of a break from touring. Only five shows they played in those entire four months. But here they're back and rolling full steam ahead. Near perfection is a great way to describe the show on this night. There's truly no sense in writing any kind of proper review because it would be repetitious constantly repeating the same thing, over and over and over, repetitious saying great great great, just completely repeating the same thing again and again, over and over completely repetitious. Catch my drift?

There are a few words messed up in the lyrics here and there but each instance is so minor and forgotten quicker than it happens. The music is played so well that it completely makes up for those small mistakes. Dire Wolf makes an appearance for the first time in almost 3 years. One favorite moment, I think, is when NFA completely devolves and then evolves into what could really be called Space. The transition into Wharf Rat is, well, perfect.

Is this year truly the pinnacle of the Grateful Dead? That's for each person to decide on his or her own. My opinion? There are unbelievably amazing shows in pretty much every year from '66 to '95... but 1977 has quite a few. This one, man I dunno... I haven't heard 'em all from '77 but as I sit and listen to this show for the second time today, I'm astounded at how perfect the band sounds. Gorgeous. On a Scale of 0 to 10, 0 being Never Worth Listening To Again, 10 being Please Just Kill Me Now, Life Is Complete, this is a very solid 9 to 9.4 or so. Yes, to be precise, that's about right, by my estimation. I've said gorgeous already but I'm sayin' it again -- gorgeous.

Sound Quality -- Gorgeous. (Hmmm, there's that word again!)
How about a new word -- superexcellentedelicious.
There's some very minor and very brief static a time or three,
some tiny pops here and there, so this isn't perfect...
but it's oh so sweet!

9/28/77 is @ for listening only
Dload the Soundboard right here!

One Heckuva Romantic Hike, I Tell Ya What

Short Hike
Total Trail Time -- 1 Hour & 31 Minutes

What a difference a big sleep can have. This hike was yesterday evening. Normally I post my hikes and runs within a few hours of getting back in the door. But this one, though short, wiped me out.

Twas a beautifully warm 50-ish degrees Fahrenheit (or about 10C for those who hate America) when I hit the trail. Shorts weather all the way! The only bad thing with this temp is a long sleeve shirt is completely wanted at the beginning... and then after warming up from movement I'm ready for a short sleeve. Ahh well.

Motorin' along at a fast pace, my boots were pounding the trail and that resulted in pounding my body. Man, I felt great out there. My overall distance was about a mere 5½-6 miles or so (around 9-9.5 km) and the last mile of that, I was mildly struggling. Very easily I could've walked for hours on end, but all I wanted was to collapse and be off my feet.

After getting in the door and cleaning up, I was fast asleep, passed out cold... I might as well've had a fifth of Jack, holy cow.

Getting outta bed today -- whoa, not easy. Creeky, almost, as in bones and joints and muscles all rusty and difficult to move. Oi! My hips hurt the most. After makin' coffee and movin' around a little, everything got better... 'cept for the hips which are still a little achy.

The very worst thing is the hike was only an hour and a half long. But the deal with the aches and pains is this -- when was my last hike? Over the past 3 months, how many times have I been out there? Last hike: well over a week ago. Last 3 months, just a handful of times on the trail.

My tibia, I am 99.9% certain, is 100% healed now. The whole time I was on trail, even during the last mile, I kept thinkin' -- tomorrow I'm doin' this again! Or tomorrow rather than hike, I'm gonna start running again, finally. Not sure that's goin' down today afterall due to my condition here, but maybe. Bottomline is -- while physically I don't feel like the 6 Million Dollar Man, mentally I'm Sittin' On Top of The World!

Some Trail Tunes...

The Romantics

self-titled debut


When I Look In Your Eyes
Tell It To Carrie
First In Line
Keep In Touch
Girl Next Door
What I Like About You
She's Got Everything
Till I See You Again
Hung On You
Little White Lies
Gimme One More Chance

This is a fun album. Almost everyone in the world not Amish or affiliated with the Taliban or brainwashed in some polygamist Mormon-like cult in Utah knows one song here, and knows it really well. I'm sure Rolling Stone or Billboard or somebody out there in the music industry has ranked What I Like About You as one of the most popular songs ever. It's currently featured in TV commercials for some car insurance company so I hear an ultra-condensed version of it just about everyday... and I'm sure it's been featured on other commercials in the past many years, as well. Yeah, yeah, that's all well and good but what else is there on this album? A bunch of pretty cool power pop early 80's rock 'n' roll, that's what. None of this music is outstanding by any measure. It feels like The Romantics are a great Detroit bar band who happened to just barely sneak inside that elusive realm of commercial success. But it's fun. Do ya really need any other reason to listen to something?

320 kbps dload right here
The Romantics

For the record, also on my hike...
I gave another listen to Eddie Vedder's Into The Wild soundtrack. There is no better hiking in Alaska music than that. It's perfect!! That album is incredible and has quickly skyrocketed to the top of my non-existent list of Favorite Non-Dead Albums Of All Time.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oh, big ol' jet airliner, carry me to my home...

The Thursday Threesome

::The Dentist or Flying?::

Onesome: The Dentist? -- ...a bigger 'scary factor' than than flying? What do you think?

I'm not sure why either would be scary to an adult. The dentist could hurt so that would have to win. Does flying physically hurt? Probably only if you crash and don't die. A person should truly be more scared to get in the car, leave your driveway, and drive to the local store for a quart of milk. The number of people who die in a car accident a very short distance from home is MUCH LARGER than the number of people who die from flying in an airplane.

Twosome: or -- maybe you have coping skills to handle dental visits? Would you care to share any of them?

Last time I was there, quite awhile ago as I don't go for regular visits every year, I had my wisdom teeth yanked out. They gave me nitrous oxide for the pain and I coped VERY well. YAYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!! So I have no coping skills to share... just ask for nitrous!

Threesome: Flying --
has received a really bad rap this year. Deserved? ...or is all sweetness and light now?

The commercial airline industry is essentially overall a tragedy. Anyone who flies from any significant city is brave to deal with the potentially horrendous service from lost baggage to lines at security to tarmac delays long enough to drive someone to want to commit mass murder. It's pathetic and deserved and then some.

On the other hand, flying ain't all that bad within Alaska... which is a country in itself. Small airlines, no lost baggage, no insane delays... when you are delayed by weather, you're not forced to sit in an airplane for hours on end with no answers. And when you fly yourself, like so many in Alaska do, that's just joy compounded. You can come and go at your pleasure. I highly recommend getting your own plane!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I like a good zombie flick but...


Positively scary is not how anyone on Earth could describe this zombie flick. This is low-budget cheapo B-movie making at some of its cheesiest.

A crew of treasure hunters arrives on the African coast to hunt down some diamonds. The loot is in a sunken ship that went down decades before and is being protected by the crew of that ship. The diamonds were actually stolen from a tribe on the mainland and now the thieves are zombies. Not seemingly interested in wandering aimlessly killing humans for food, nope, none of that, these zombies are only protecting the diamonds from anyone who comes to find them. The team hoping to recover the diamonds learns of the danger but, of course, proceeds anyway and that just results in the demise of most of them.

I can't say this is one of the worst movies ever. It held my interest and moved along at a decent pace. It's just so cheesy and lacks anything substantial enough to make it worth watching.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

U.S.: HANDS OFF IRAN!!!!! (?)

Being one who writes, and often a lot, I could very, very easily take some significant time and do 5,000 words on the president of Iran, Ahmadinejad, as well as those who support the U.S. butting out of Iran's business.

However, I'm not gonna type so much on that jerk or his misguided minions. I should. The reason is because it's always a good thing to have yet another voice speak out so strongly against Iran's despicable exteme Islamist government, from the Ayatollah on down. But even though this'll be brief, that doesn't mean Iran doesn't make my blood boil.

I feel good that the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, slammed Ahmadinejad in his opening statement to him... but Ahmadinejad should never have been invited to speak there yesterday. I don't equate Ahmadinejad to Hitler... not yet but close. He should be spoken down to and laughed at and NOT applauded, and not given the respect a world leader normally should get. He most definitely should answer to the human rights abuses in his country. But my primary objection to his being here is he is arming terrorists who have killed American soldiers.

Now, some might not really say that's a bad thing, and they'll be dodgy about it, because they don't wanna show themselves as supporting the killing of American soldiers. But to some people it's right because afterall, the Americans are illegal occupiers, right? They're the real enemy so fighting the enemy is the right thing to do. Correct? No. Taking that position is just wrong. Look, it does not matter whether you want the U.S. to have victory somehow defeating the terrorists in Iraq and giving that nation a chance for democracy... or if you want them to come home now in defeat. It doesn't matter if you were for or against the war -- Arming men to kill Americans is something Ahmadinejad does and for that reason alone he does not deserve a forum to speak... anywhere.

Oh boy, so much to say and I've already typed more than I planned to.

Anyway... my favorite quote from President Dillhole speaking at Columbia yesterday is the following:

"Freedoms in Iran are genuine, true freedoms. Iranian people are free. Women in Iran enjoy the highest levels of freedom."

Hmmm... he's a world leader, the President of his nation. I guess we should leave Iran alone and let them go about their lives however they wish.

Do your own research: Iran rights of women

Iran "human rights abuses"

Wow, and I haven't even gotten into Iran's desire to build a nuclear weapon. Nuclear weapons? Why have just one?! Amadinejad said on 60 Minutes Sunday night, I don't wanna use exact quotes 'cause I didn't see it and I'm not gonna take a moment to look up a transcript, but he said -- Iran doesn't need a nuclear weapon.

I don't "need" ice cream or cookies. I want them, though.
They're a nice addition to life.

Maybe Iran doesn't "need" a nuclear weapon.
But wanting one would sure help to annihilate Israel.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Phil & Friends are playing the second show of a brand spanking new Fall Tour tonight in Berzerkeley, Northern California. I think they're gonna be on the road right up through Halloweeny time, finishing things up well into November in Times Square. And why they're playing like 13 shows rather than maybe a 2 or 3 night stand at good ol' Madison Square Garden or maybe 1 at MSG, 1 in the Meadowlands and perhaps 1 on Long Island, I do not know. Makes no sense to me. The intimate atmosphere inside the [corporately named] Theater might make up for that.

Anyway... I'll be hitting their shows here in Alaska. Oh wait. Nope, he's not coming up here. Maybe next lifetime, eh, Phil? Yup, there are tradeoffs of living in The Last Frontier. I've swapped a show-less life over the past several years since coming up here, for some of the greatest territory in North America... and a whole lot less suburban sprawl and overall disgusting hectic crazy commercialized crapness that the Lower 48 has overwhelmingly become and is further disintigrating into. Yay America. Ahh well. I still do love my country, very much so, even more than I hate it.

In any case, (even though it seems they're not coming up here any time this century) I've chosen to honor the start of the tour by also going to Berzerkeley tonight. Sort of. Technically I decided on this Dead date about a week ago before I realized tonight was the P&F show at the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre... so this is actually coincidental.

Shall we go, you and I while we can...

Ahh, yes, the Grateful Dead from San Francisco, California.  Jerry Garcia.  Phil Lesh.  Bob Weir. Mickey Hart.  Billy Kreutzmann.  Brent Mydland.  Robert Hunter.  Pigpen Ron McKernan.  Vince Welnick.  Bruce Hornsby.  710 Ashbury Street in the Haight.  Summer of Love and all that good stuff.  Yes, this is a shameless way to inject some exact names that I might not otherwise type in this post.  ha ha.

Grateful Dead -- 3/9/85
Berkeley Community Theatre
Berzerkely, California

1st Set
Bertha, One More Saturday Night
Sugaree, It's All Over Now,
Row Jimmy, Let It Grow

2nd Set
China Cat Sunflower Cumberland Blues,
I Need A Miracle Eyes Of The World
Drums, Space* The Other One*
The Wheel Sugar Magnolia

It's All Over Now Baby Blue

* with very special guest...

To kick off this four night stand at the BCT in early 1985, the boys came ready to play. Each show was a benefit for the Rex Foundation and I wonder if that gave them any extra inspiration. The case could be made, that's for sure.

Out of the chute they stomped through a rockin' and rollin' Bertha. I hate to do this but I've gotta mention that there was one minor blown lyric in there from Jerry but other than that, this was 99.9% a crowd pleaser to get things started. Mmmm. There was no segue into the next song but at Bertha's end, they clearly had the decision made to immediately launch, or everyone acted lickedly split as Bobby told them -- One More Saturday Night. What? What? Let me repeat myself: What? Bertha, One More Saturday Night? Not normal and very cool! Checking the stats & stuff afterwards, they've played Bertha close to 300 times up until this point and this was the first ever with Saturday Night following. So what. So what? No, it's not that big of a deal but I dig setlist anomolies like that, a small part of what made this band so dang interesting.

Sugaree slowed things down a bit and again here's a case where there's one minor lyric flub but the song is still played so nicely. Jerry's guitar work isn't on fire by any means but he's front and center at all the right times. Everyone together is playing in perfect unison. Ahhhh, what a sweet three song start to this show.

To close the first set, Let It Grow really gets smokin'. I got into such a groove as the band did. Brent & Phil were both really wailin' away, quite noticeable for the first time in this recording. Just freakin' excellent perfectamundo delicious so sweet!

Set 2 starts off routinely enough, a nice China Cat Sunflower winds its way down and into... and this is why it kind of stinks to know setlists ahead of time 'cause when they don't go into I Know You Rider, hey, that's interesting and different. Tonight -- wow. China->Rider? Nope! China->Cumberland!
What?!? Again a little more fact checking and up to this point, after something like 400 China Cat Sunflowers, this is the very first China->Cumberland. It wasn't the smoothest transition in the world, happened rather quickly. If the rest of the band had no idea, they clearly heard Jerry starting up the first notes of Cumberland, for whatever reason, and immediately followed. Now this wasn't the most monumental happening in the history of Dead setlists, but the crowd seemed a little stunned. Happy but making sure this wasn't a dream. Miracle woke 'em up, that's for sure, 'cause it was time to turn the dance speed up a notch or three. Then Eyes was just icing on the cake. I can make split second life-saving medical decisions in my wandered into profession, but I can't choose a favorite Grateful Dead song... but Eyes just might be it. Even though I knew it was coming, and even though this is the 2nd time I'm listening to this show in a few days time, Eyes brought the biggest smile to my face so far A few lines partially messed up, again, but thankfully, for me, that barely diminished the greatness here. The jam at the end almost feels like they're exploring somewhere else to go with the song, into another tune maybe, but they melt it down and Mickey & Billy take over.

After the Rhythm Devils are out of the spotlight, the other guys come out along with a very Special Guest, one Mr. Merl Saunders. (If you listen carefully at the begining of Space, you can hear someone in the crowd yell out his name. Thanks, Spotter Dude!) Deadbase IX says that in Space they do a Twilight Zone theme. Do they? All I hear is Space and what sounds like Hollyweird sound effects guys tweaking noises to use in sci-fi film production... but maybe elements of the Merl & The Dead's collaboration on that theme music is indeed in there.

Eventually they launch into The Other One, also with Merl on keyboards. He was more prevalent and relevant than Brent was. With his improvised notes perfectly placed it was pretty cool what he added to the song. Unfortunately it was a measly under 5 minute version which is just soooo too bad. Man, I don't wanna dwell on the "What if" but What if they'd gone longer with Merl out there, 10 minutes, even 12 or 15? Damn! Oh well. Off the stage he went and Merl's third and last live guest appearance with the boys was recorded history.
Was nice while it lasted... and nice still even today!

The rest of the set closes out nicely enough, on a nice high all the way through. To wrap the whole sucker up, a nice slow Jerry encore, leaving the crowd with a nice feeling of "Ahhhhhh."

Wow. On the grand scale of things, hardly a bad show, hardly even an average show. An interesting night to say the least, and with Merl! and some nicely played tunes.

Rex Foundation
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Sound Quality: not bad for an Audience recording.
Minor hiss heard only during D/S and between a few songs.
I wish it was a soundboard but then again, because it's an Aud,
you can, if you wish, get a better feeling of being there which sbd's,
as gorgeous as they most often sound, don't allow that.

3-9-85 Berkeley is @ for
downloading and/or listening...


"Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold."

I'm not sure what happened yesterday -- no listening to music. It's not that odd. Like 27 times I saw my mp3 player sittin' there, loaded up and ready to go... but I was too busy around town, busy sleepin', busy watchin' some baseball, busy not watching little girls play their horrible college football, busy for awhile on the internet, busy cookin' some dinner, busy wondering why I was putting off going for a hike, busy with my plans to take over not only the world but the entire universe as well, busy with this, busy with that. Oi vay.

And yesterday morning at dawn: 25°F (-4°C) !!!

Just perfect, excellent, deliciously frosty and cold!
Freakin' sweet!
I almost slept right through it
which would have been a tragedy, yes, a tragedy indeed.

The day that Fall started...
and the temperature never got above 45°F (22°C.) That's just heaven to me. Well, a slice of heaven on Earth, more appropriately. No snow yet. Maybe by October 1st. Moose Mountain won't open until at least Thanksgiving for skiing or snowboarding, not that I regularly waste money by going and doing either, but with the snow, dog sledders and nordic skiers can start going wheel-less, instead utilizing the white stuff on the ground.

And now at this very early hour of the morning, it's almost down to Freezing. Almost there. And here I am, quite tired, probably needing sleep... but I'm not missing dawn again today just in case it dips into the 20's. Hmmm... perhaps a hike at dawn on the first full day of Fall with a sub-freezing temperature? We shall see. But for now.... [drum roll, please] .....

Unconscious Mutterings

a free association game -- I say ... and you think ... ?

1. Singles :: movie, directed by... that dude... his name is? Ahh, i forget, I could look it up, tis on the tip o' me tongue, I tell ya, but anyway, the movie stars my one time favorite actress, Bridget Fonda... and the film has a GREAT soundtrack!

2. Blaze
:: Starr, a movie was made about her, with the great Paul Newman playing a Louisiana politician.

3. Sandwich
:: Muffuletta, my dad's favorite from when he lived in New Orleans. Stop on by Central Grocery on Decatur and try one! Now. Go.

4. Outside
:: Outsiders, yet another movie, based on some book, and yet another movie with Matt Dillon, like Singles above. But this one doesn't have Pearl Jam in it. Cruise, Estevez, Lowe, Swayze, Macchio, Tom Waits, Diane Lane, and of course, this guy should be everyone's favorite, duh... Leif Garrett!

5. Gooey ::
sticky but sticky isn't always gooey. Cookie dough can be gooey. Cookie dough... mmmmm, cooook-kie dough [drooooooooool]

6. Industry
:: film. Hmmm, i wonder why that comes to mind?!

7. Exclusive ::
membership. Ooooo, people will envy you. Oooooo, I'm so impressed.

8. Warranty ::
I've never purchased one. Then again, I don't often go buying stuff that has a warranty offered. Yawn.

9. Magical ::
so easy -- Disney World. Like, duh.

10. Heels ::
high. Unconscious Mutterings

Saturday, September 22, 2007

my PhotoHunt debut

Not having a digital camera, and not having that many
photographs from through the years, pickins are slim
and this is the best I could find for this week's theme.
Mayhaps one of these days
I'll git me one of dem fancy electronic picture takin' machines
and I'll be able to post some better shots.
But for now, here's my
grand debut for this Saturday's PhotoHunt.

theme: Paper

(click for larger, if you wish)

My 1967 VW bus. Shortly after I bought it in Naperville, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago,) here it is in my garage up in Fox Lake, Illinois where I was livin' at the time. There was some rust that I wanted to clean up and some dings I wanted to un-ding. Over that work would go some new paint. This shot here is, I think, the first primer coat. Taped newspaper on the windows so they wouldn't get any paint on them. That would be bad.

Even after this somewhat minor fixup, she wasn't... was it a she? ... it wasn't mint or near-mint by any stretch of the imagination... but what a bus! After a new engine and a new transmission, I criss-crossed America many times in that baby. Many shows and many campgrounds and many, many miles. It got me stranded only once, in Bakersfield, Cali after I broke down 98 miles away in the tiny crossroads of a town, Four Corners, out in the Mohave Desert. It was a Westfalia so it had cabinets in the back and a pull-out bed. No pop-top so it only slept two. Man, I miss it. Years ago I had to sell it. Needed money at the time. But for a good long while it was such a great thing to travel in. Well, mostly great... soooo cold in the winter, had to wear a down jacket and gloves and sometimes even a blanket across my lap. But it was so cool. Today I have a '73 Westy but I'd love once again to have a '67! Maybe someday I'll get another.

Appalachian Trail Pre-Trail Journal - Entry 1

This morning I set off on my journey down the Appalachian Trail. Well, quite possibly this morning one year from now. Maybe two.

Starting this (pre-)Trail Journal at this point in time is almost pointless. Right? Then again, it seems like a perfect time to start, exactly one year (or two) to the day that I will begin the trek.

Questions: how far will you be going? From the day I start until the day I finish, I'll have hiked a minimum of 2,174 miles (3,498 kilometres) on the trail.

From where to where? From Mt. Katahdin in central Maine to Springer Mountain in Northeast Georgia. 14 states, I believe that is.

Don't hikers usually go South to North, starting in Georgia and finishing in Maine? Yup. But I don't want to do the usual, what (almost) everyone else does. Doesn't appeal to me whatsoever.

How long will it take? It could pretty easily be done in 5 months. But I think I'm gonna go rather leisurely and finish in 6 months time.

Do you think it'll be a difficult hike? Not in the least. While I've never backpacked more than about 250 miles in a single stretch, I have tackled countless days and weeks of terrain more difficult than any part of the Appalachian Trail.

6 months of hiking? Why do such a hike?
Well, first of all -- there won't be hiking each and every single day. There'll be a day off here and a day off there to kick back in a trail town and just relax. And second part of answering to why do such a hike -- Why not?! It's there. It looks like a pretty cool hike. There almost doesn't even need to be any other reason! Does there?

Is there another reason? Funny you should ask. Yes, there is another reason. I'm going to raise money for charity. To me, that is the most important reason to hike the Appalachian Trail, or any long trail in the United States. I don't believe in selfishness and to just go and hike it for you, because you want to, to see what you'll get out of the experience, well, to me that's wrong.

We live in a world of such horrible suffering across every continent. It's up to us to help our neighbor. I live on this planet called Earth and so do you, I'm assuming... and so do people in Rwanda and Romania, Ecuador and Eritrea... they are my neighbors and to not help them when I can, when they need help, that's not right. The Appalachian Trail has in the past been used not only for a good hike, but also to raise money for non-profit agencies that use every cent given to help others.

Okay, so what charity will you raise money for? I'm not exactly sure yet but I have several good ideas. I'm leaning towards hiking for maybe two or three different charities. There are literally hundreds and maybe even over a thousand that I could support... but to give just five dollars to 1,000 charities, that would be no good. Well, it probably would be good, but I'm going to narrow it down to two or three, I think. I'm leaning towards landmine removal in various countries, and famine relief and clean water for Africa. Something along those lines. It kills me to know how bad it is in so many places. We live in luxury like kings comparitively... and we, ya know, I'm talking in general here, we take everything for granted. It's so easy to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others while going thru life just spending every cent you make to try to enjoy yourself. Thankfully there are people who live more humble lives, people who genuinely care about helping others. Americans might give the most to charity -- but they could and should give more.

How much money that you raise will go towards paying for your hiking expenses? Ahh, good question. I'm thinking about using for myself a Grand Total of Zero Dollars and Zero Cents. To put that another way: $0.00. I will not accept one cent over that.

Why not just donate to charity the money you would spend on your hike? Another good question. Hypothetically, if I spend $2,200 out of my pocket, and at the end of the hike I know that I raised $2,201, not including money given that I will never even know about, isn't that better? Plus there's the awareness that I will raise concerning important issues that I'll be hiking for.

I'd also like to be an encouragement to others to use the A.T. (and other trails) for charitable purposes. I think that answers that. Wait a minute, almost answered. I don't want to raise just 1 dollar over what I spend on the hike. That's an absolute minimum... but truly I'm thinking more like $10,000.

Haven't you ever heard of "Hike Your Own Hike"? Won't focusing on raising money for charity take away from your hiking experience? Doesn't matter if it does because the #1 priority is not me. The #1 priority is those who can benefit from me putting one foot in front of the other. Why just walk when you can walk and help at the same time?

Alright, so you said you're leaving a year from today, September 22? How come? Crowds for one. I despise the warm weather for two. How's that? I'd like to enjoy the solitude of the trail without so many people who start their hike around the same time, from, oh, what, Feb 1st to April 1st or so. I'll get to see more of Autumn in New England. I'll have snowfalls and more crisp cool nights. And I chose September 22 because that'll be the first day of Fall and I thought I'd stretch my journey out to exactly 6 months long, lasting all of Fall and all of Winter.

You'll be on the trail for Christmas and New Year's Eve and the Super Bowl and the whole football season? And for the new shows premiering on TV each Fall??? Yup. First of all, I could care less about any TV shows that people will be watching while I'm sleeping outdoors in the woods. If there's anything good and interesting and worth watching, I'll catch it in syndication someday... maybe. I probably won't see the Super Bowl or football on Thanksgiving and I'll miss the World Series, too... but if the Mets aren't in it then no big whoop. (But if My Mets are in the playoffs in October, missing that when I'd normally watch every pitch will be a sacrifice I'll make to help others.)

No matter what, being out there will be a sacrifice in some ways. I'm more than willing to make that sacrifice in order to raise money for charity. Oh, and Christmas is too disgustingly commercialized and crazily hectic in America anyway so skipping that doesn't bother me in the least!

Why not hike this year? Why next year or maybe even two years from now? This, for me, is the worst question and answer because I don't want to think about it. My dog, who I've had since he was 10 weeks old, just recently turned 12 years old. He's got some arthritis and has slowed down a whole bunch. Sadly, he isn't the amazingly wonderfully cool hiking dog that he used to be -- so he can't go on the journey. And to leave him for more than 4 or 5 weeks at a time at this age is too much. He's obviously not like a real human child... but he islike a child in some ways in that he depends on me. For the past 12 years, Cassidy's been the most constant thing in my life. To take on the A.T. now before he passes away could put me on the trail as his life comes close to its end. One thing I personally want is to do my best to make his every single last day on Earth as spoiled and happy as can be. So, I can't do the hike until he has passed away... and it really bites thinking about it just this much.

You've got awhile to plan then? Yup. I've already started somewhat. Not a lot but a little looking at some maps, reading some Trail Journals of others. I think about the trail at least once a day.

When are you going to have another pre-Trail Journal post? Beats me but it'll be front and center when I do! Any more questions?

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Friend of Jerry is a Friend of Mine

"Each time a man or a woman stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
Robert F. Kennedy

Pete Sears

with Mimi Farina, Jerry Garcia,
David Grisman, Holly Near
and Friends



The Stream
Save Something For The Children
Lands End
Nothing Personal
One More Innocent
Let The Dove Fly Free
Blood From The Rose

The quote above from RFK is included within the liner notes insert of this release, and it's a feeling that Pete Sears probably holds very near and dear to his heart. This entire album is a reflection of that. The lyrics of these songs, written by his wife Jeanette, deal with issues pertaining to human rights and the environment making this an album of protest. Interestingly, what's here is well thought out. There is no need to directly slam the U.S. or other governments. There is no name calling in a mean and vile manner meant to demean anyone in particular. No, this is music that'll make you read and act out of the kindness of your heart, not just get mad and call names.

Pete, based in the Bay Area and a former member of the Jefferson Airplane, Starship and Hot Tuna, wrote the music and plays guitar, piano, accordian, keyboards or bass or sings on all the tracks. Holly Near provides vocals for a few while Mimi Farina is on just one, I believe. The music is a beautiful mix of acoustic and electric forming a very organic and earthy and worldly feel throughout, with the occasional whale calls, rainforest sounds and even one song a new wave almost kind of sound.

Also included is Pete's friend Jerry Garcia, good ol' Jer, who sits in on three songs: slide guitar on Nothing Personal, acoustic on Let The Dove Fly Free, and along with Mickey Hart, Babatunde Olatunji & Sikiru Adeposu on drums and percussion, Jerry plays lead guitar on One More Innocent.
Another friend, David Grisman on mandolin is prevalent more than absent, playing on almost every tune.

Supposedly Jerry himself requested that Grateful Dead Records re-release this album... and they did in 1993. Had it not been for Jerry, this may not be available to many people at all. So thanks Jerry and thanks Pete for putting this project together.

MUSIC NOTE 256 kbps dload MUSIC NOTE
Pete Sears - Watchfire

As an added bonus tonight, I gave another listen to four tunes from the band Moonalice...

Blink Of An Eye
Kick It Open
I'm Glad You Think So
I ain't Ever Satisfied

This is Pete Sears' latest project along with G.E. Smith, Amy McNamee, Roger McNamee, Jimmy Sanchez and Barry Sless... and occassionally, another friend of Jerry, Jack Casady.

Each of these songs the band freely offers up over at their site, so go download 'em, check 'em out! NOW! No, seriously, what are you waiting for?

And go seen 'em live! They were up in Alaska for a string of dates this past summer but Alaska's a purty big territory and they were way down on the other end... but if they come up to Fairbanks, I'm so there... maybe in Anchorage but hopefully they'll come up north!

They'll also be on the road some, now and then through November. As of this writing they've got late September dates scheduled soon in Frisco and Vegas.

And then in October: Golden Gate Park, Portland, Ashland, Salem, Seattle, Denver, Milwaukee, Chicago, Columbus and the Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Garretsville, Ohio.

Oh wait, there's more? Allston, Mass in November along with Huntington, New York, Annapolis and kinda close to my former stomping grounds, sorta near where I grew up -- Teaneck, New Jersey where they're playing Kimock's favorite Jersey hangout, Mexicali Blues.

So go see this Bay Area band, dig their sound... they play Stella Blue and Sugaree and GDTRFB and Like A Rolling Stone and Highway 61 Revisisted. Cool lookin' setlists! And Pete played with Jerry!! So go see 'em!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ladies & Gentlemen, the JGB

Wow, Keith Olbermann has got to be the most bitter and angry and brain-washed commentator on a cable news channel. His show features not a single conservative, Republican-type of voice on the other side of a story -- left wing liberal slant ONLY. That's not good. But I guess to many people like Olbermann and Cindy Sheehan, and like Barry Manilow, any viewpoint that's not liberal is a dangerous one. Listen to both sides of an argument? To people like them, only one side is the correct one and that's the correct side 100% of the time. Not even gonna take the time to listen to anything else, la la, la la, la la, la la, I can't hear you, I can't hear you. Liberal view ONLY, liberal view ONLY. How sad. Sad and so pathetic.

On a brighter note, el musico de dia was absolutely not what I expected...
it was better!

some tunes!

J. Geils Band

self-titled debut album


Ice Breaker (For The Big "M")
Cruisin' For A Love
Hard Drivin' Man
Serves You Right To Suffer
First I Look At The Purse
What's Your Hurry
On Borrowed Time
Pack Fair And Square

My musical exploration continues and continues in a far out there way with this one. This most definitely isn't anything I ever would have imagined buying. Nope. But these days, hey, why not give it a shot? There once was a time when I had an LP from the J. Geils Band -- of course it was their significant breakthrough album, Freeze Frame. And actually, this memory being triggered right here and now: before Freeze Frame I do believe I was aware of their popular single, Love Stinks. Hmmm.

And actually they were around for a few years prior to that. Long before their Centerfold video made teenagers drool (myself included) on that once relevant MTV, the JGB, or more properly, the J. Geils Band, were a very cool bluesy rock and roll band out of Worcester and Boston, Massachusetts. Supposedly not long after this release, the Allman Brothers called the J. Geils Band their favorite local band. Hey, if they're good enough for Duane and Gregg, why not?
Somewhere I saw the label "bar band" applied to the early years of the band. Kind of too bad that I read that before listening to this 'cause it stuck. But ya know what? It's true. The sound here on this album is very much like I've heard in bars before. I'm sure bands with a very similar old kinda style of bluesy rock n roll will playing across America this weekend while people suck down the Pukeweiser and other crap beers while shootin' some stick, tryin' to pick up chicks. Yup, typical Americana it seems to me. Another thought on this sound -- Animal House kinda sorta Frat House rock from an age gone by. I can picture it perfectly. And perfectly surprised I was? Question mark because I'm not really sure I had an expectation thus no real surprise that this is better than I expected but then again if I didn't expect anything, I wasn't surprised. Ahh, whatever. In any case, this is some pretty cool stuff!

320 kbps mp3 download MUSIC NOTE 320 kbps download @
Floodlit Footprint 320 kbps mp3 download MUSIC NOTE
320 mp3 download

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Only 97 Shopping Days Left... HURRY!

Brrrrr... it's cold this a.m. in central Alaska. Ho-ly Cow. Okay, it's not even down to freezing yet but that's comin' up soon! Wait. Ain't it still technically SUMMER here in the northern hemisphere? Yes, tis true, tis true indeed. Fall ain't here yet (so close) but this morning it feels like how winter feels in much of the Lower 48. Then again, the Arctic Circle is only just about 120 miles (195 km) north of here. One would be a wee bit on the foolish side, sonny, for thinkin' it be all SPF-45, hey, wanna have a clam bake and go swimmin' weather. No way, José. Not even close, bud.

What it is, according to my trusty 8 quid thermometer, is 44°F (7°C) and that's enough to get people firin' up their wood stoves overnight for some toasty warmth while sleeping. A wonderful smell that is, beautifully dominant in the damp air while I sat on my porch listening to some tunes, sippin' on my daily coffee, first mug-full. Even with music in my ears I could sense the quiet stillness around me. No traffic to be heard. No bright lights glaring. Sure, Fairbanks is coming alive right now with people going to and fro, but not on this street. Ahhh, if it was only snowin'. Wouldn't that just make this setting serene squared. Just rainy, though. rizzly really, dark and black, the dawn coming with less and less sunlight each day. Under the porch's overhang I was nice and dry but quite bundled up to help keep the chill off. Ahhh, fleece! In Key West right now I'd be barefoot in shorts and a t-shirt. This is a lonnnnnnnnnng way from Margaritaville, that's for sure.

A long way from Texas, too. I'll never be a Texan but these tunes sure help me feel like one in spirit.

George Strait

Merry Christmas Strait To You


White Christmas

There's A New Kid In Town
Winter Wonderland
Merry Christmas Strait To You
Away In A Manger
For Christ's Sake, It's Christmas
Frosty The Snowman
It's Christmas Time In Texas
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
What A Merry Christmas This Could Be

An excellent little bunch of tunes from this legend from Texas. This is George's first collection of Christmas songs, released way back when, pretty much early on in his career. He'd had a handful of albums reach #1 on the country music charts but this one only made it to #17. I say that's not too bad for a Christmas album! Most of the songs are beautifully country before country got Nashville weird. Once again, here's music that makes me want to be a Texan and not living in Dallas or Houston, not even Austin or San Anton... but out there on the plains, with prairie all around, horses and cattle, ridin' fence on the ranch. I think I envy those who live such a life and in my Lone Star fantasy, this album would be in regular Christmas rotation helping make time stand still in this crazy world, helping bring Christmas back to what it should be about, which ain't presents and money and corporate greed. No, George Strait reminds us that isn't Christmas at all. He gives us the real Christmas with these tunes and to Mr. Strait I offer up my thanks for such a wonderful soundtrack to a simpler and more peaceful Christmas.

one says one number and the other another
but they were set at the same time. Hmmm...

Calvin and Hobbes in the snow -- animated