Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bands (and Artists) I Probably Should Like (But Don’t) - Part 2

Part 1 was Journey. With 6x Top 10 hits, and ranked 155 on's list of Global Pop Points Rankings. My next "I should like but I don't" artist ranks even higher.

And that's Bob Seger. Seger ranks 91, with 7x Top 10s and a #1. And 18 Top 40's. Not to mention membership in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. By any objective measure, Bob Seger is huge. And from the Iconic "Old Time Rock And Roll" to the smash "Night Moves"..... I don't like it. What's funny is that I can explain why I don't like Journey. But I don't have any specific logic for disliking Bob Seger. Except that I just don't like him.

So there.

No Tresspassing??

Just something I shot during lunchtime Thursday...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Washington Park

Like many Churches, ours does vacation bible school every year.  And for many years, when finished, we pack it all up, and take it to Washington Park, IL.  Then we do it again for the kids down there.  Pretty cool.  Here's a couple images from last Sunday, when folks were setting up:
Trinity UMC and Outreach Center.  They actually do VBS in the adjacent building.
The view across the street from the church....
Washington Park is a pretty distressed neighborhood, and I often wonder what could be done to change the dynamic in such a place.  I don't have any magic answers...   But tearing down the burned-out strip joint (that's been around the corner for several years) might help.
One of these adys I should do a real photo study.
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From Google-maps Street-view:


Updated the desktop on my work computer today.... Switched for a scenic (Extreme Northern Idaho) to something "artsy". This is a roadside shot, in Funks's Grove Illinois. One of my favorite place-names!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bands (and Artists) I Probably Should Like (But Don’t)

Perhaps the 1st post in a series....  perhaps not.

Let’s start with: Journey. Yep. These masters of “Rock - Mainstream” have always bugged me. From their first splash with 1978’s ”Feeling That Way”, though their string of six Top-10 hits in the early 80’s….. these guys make me want to puke. Nowadays, it seems that a lot of folks I know who are 5 – 15 years younger than me LOVE Journey, and I’m feeling like I should give them another look. But as much as I try, I just can’t deal with songs like “Don’t Stop Believing”, “Loving Touching Squeezing” or “Open Arms”. I’m getting a little queasy just thinking about them. To me, the typical Journey fan was the preppy girl who wanted to believe she was a tough Rock and Roller (complete with wrap-skirt, sweater and add-a-beads while drooling over the pretty boy singer…..

When Journey came out, I was about to graduate from High School. My musical tastes were focused mostly on Southern Rock, like Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Outlaws, Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels Band, Wet Willie, Blackfoot, etc. No “pretty Boys” there…. And as Journey rose, my tastes were shifting towards New Wave, Power Pop and the rise of “College Radio”. By the time Journey was peaking, I was listening to great stuff like The dB’s, Let’s Active, The Jam…. My “Rock – Mainstream” tastes were along the lines of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, R.E.M., Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, B-52’s, Joe Jackson, Blondie, Cheap Trick…. (Aside: I saw 15 of the 17 bands listed above in concert, guess which two I missed).

So, what’s the answer? Am I an elitist pig who is missing out on some great stuff? Or was rock critic Dave Marsh right when he called Journey’s album Escape as one of the worst number-one albums of all time.”

Woh Mexico, Final Installment

So, for my trip to Mexico last week, I had my first opportunity to ride on the corporate jet.  (Actually, one of the corporate jets, but that's another story).  I flew commercial from STL to HOU, and corporate from HOU to SLP....  I'm no big whig, think I've flown corporate about 5-6 times over the past 28 years.  Best part about the corporate jet??  No lines!!  You get to the airport, you get on the plane, it leaves!!  No muss, no fuss, no bother!  Worst part?  Not exactly roomy.  And you know you're low-man on the totem pole when you end up in the jump seat in the bathroom (happened to me once).... 

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Headed to the plane, leaving Mexico....  We don't need no stinkin' Jetway!

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And the sprawling international Airport at San Louis Potosi, Mexico:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Watching The Corn Grow

Ok, ok.  My son was not REALLY watching the corn grow.  This is 7/4/10, waiting for the fireworks to start.  He was reading a book, no clue why he set up facing the cornfield....  


I dunno, it just struck me.  The golden arches towering over a cornfield....  Of course, they don't serve actual corn at McDonalds... do they?  But I bet they're a major user of High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Woh Mexico, Pt.2

Just a few photos from last week's trip to MexicoRemember, I was only there for 23 hours, and was there on business.  So I didn't have too many opportunities for photos....  Maybe one of these days I can make it down there for some tourist-ing...
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First up - not long after sunrise, from my hotel room.  The mountains were partially shrouded in cloudes, with the sun illuminating a secondary cloud bank...  Much cooler "live" than in this photograph...
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Building under construction.  Again, from my hotel room.  Nothin' fancy, I just liked the lines.
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View from the window by the elevators (yee haw!).  Note that Wal*Mart dominates the landscape, even in Central Mexico.  A big-honkin' Wal*Mart at that....  Both the mustard part on the right/front, and the white part to the left/rear
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As noted, the purpose of the trip was business.  But there's a really nice fountain in the courtyard the complex....  Backlit in this image.
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This is the kind of scene I'd've liked to have unvestigated in more depth.  Taken from the van window on the drive to the airport..   Just a horse tied to a telephone pole...

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I’ve been listening to Stephen Stills' solo stuff today. There’s no doubt that Stills’ membership in the Rock’n’Roll Hall Of Fame is because of his work with Buffalo Springfield / CSN / CSNY. But Stills had some great songs in the early 70’s, including with Manassas*, . There’s some hits, some other really good songs, and a few that are…. well, less memorable. But nothing that’s bad.

I saw Steve Stills 3 times during the late 70’s. Twice with Crosby Stills & Nash, and once with the Stills-Young Band. Good show each time. Never had a chance to see him solo, though.


Love The One You’re With (1970, #14)

Sit Yourself Down (1971, #37)

Marianne (1971, #42)

Change Partners (1971 #43)

Isn’t It About Time (1973, #56)

It Doesn’t Matter (Manassas - 1972, #61)

* Manassas was technically was a distinct band, though nobody really remembers it as such.  It included notables Chris Hillman and Rick Roberts. Hillman was a former member of the Byrds, and Flying Burrito Brothers, and went on to groups like Souther Hillman Furay and Desert Rose Band. Rick Roberts was in the Flying Burrito Brothers, and a founding member of Firefall.  Manassas only put out 2 albums, in 1972 and 1973.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

So I got to ride the Corporate Jet for my trip to Mexico last week.  But only for the Houston to San Luis Potosi leg.  Good old Southwest Air got me in and out of St. Louis....  Here's a couple of photos from the air, somewhere around the border.

In believe this is near Aransas, TX, looking at the view from GoogleEarth...
Another shot, a bit longer view, with the wing included for context:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Take 5

I always figured 5-strings were for banjo. Well, “always” is a bit of an overstatement, but you get my point. But they also make 5-String basses. And I always figured 5-String Basses were primarily for death-metal punks (there’s that hyperbolic “always” again)….

Anyway, our Praise Band leader has been suggesting I get a 5-string.  And I’ve been resisting. After all, John Entwistle didn’t need 5 strings…Nor any of the other bass players I grew up idolizing. But the more I talked with folks, the more I realized that 5-strings are not just for death-metal, and are actually pretty common in the praise & worship setting. And that maybe my objections were more like the guy from Green Eggs & Ham. After all, I’ve never tried a 5-string at all. So maybe I should give it an opportunity... and then I found an “as-New” SX 5-String bass for sale, at a VERY appealing price. I figure it’s a good chance to take an extended test drive, and see if I might actually like these green eggs and ham…. It has arrived, though I haven’t had a chance to do more than make sure it works.

Meanwhile, I’ve been lisening to songs with 5 in the title:

  • Take 5 – Dave Brubeck
  • 5 Guys Named Moe – Joe Jackson
  • 5 Long Years – Eric Clapton
  • 5% For Nothing – Yes
  • 5 Short Minutes Jin Croce
  • 5 String Blues – Roy Buchanan
  • 5 To 1 – Doors
  • 5 Years – David Bowie

Most. Anoying. Ringtone. Ever.

No really.

Yesterday, I'm waiting for my plane in Houston's Hobby airport.  It's hot, it's crowded, I've just made a frantic dash from the General Aviation side to the Commercial side.....  And my flight is delayed. And then some guy's phone goes off next to me.  His ringtone?  The sound of a crying baby.

Why would anybody do that?  I can't believe nobody snatched that phone and stomped it to pieces.  I know I wanted to.

Woh, Mexico, it sounds so simple, I just got to go...

Just back from a short business trip to Mexico.  I was in San Luis Potosi for less than 24 hours.  This is the view from my hotel room, one of the neighborhoods in SLP.  This is my second trip to SLP, and my second trip to Mexico, and both for business.  Unfortunately, but typically, I didn't do anything except work, eat and sleep.  But we did have some great food!  Note: top of the Hat to James Taylor's "Mexico" for the tile.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


So....  Last night, we were getting ready to take my daughter &; son-in-law out to dinner, then off to my son's baseball game.  But then a knock at the door, and a somewhat frantic neighbor-wife....

"do you know there's a big snake on your fence?"  Um, no.... 

Son we all pile out of the house, and yep, there's a 3.5 - 4' snake crawling along the top of the fence between our yards.  Well, the situation quickly devolves to 3 men with shovels offering to kill the beast, one wife saying "don't hurt it" and another calling animal control / the police.  And 2 kids going "COOL!"....

Ah, excitement in suburbia.  We ended up leaving before it all resolved, but I think the nice police office was going to put it in a pillowcase and take it away.  Probably jst let it loose down the block....

A little internet research says it was a Black Rat Snake.  I suppose they're good to have around to eat the rodants, but thig guy was a bit.....  LARGE

And I'm sure my "puppies" would ahve a ball playing with this slithering sucker.  As they're both 75lb+  And dumb as they are, they'd probably get bit.
Anyway, I don't know if he (she?) is still around or not.

Template Changed (Again)

Comments welcome.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Little League

My som, playing catcher in the 1st inning of tonight's game.  they won, 3-2, with 2 runs in the bottom of the last inning.  The coach is really good about rotating the kids, Matthew played Catcher, Shortstop, Third Base and Right Field.  Which is pretty typical.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

This is actually my first ever attempt to post a video here at the blog...  Hope it works.  This is from tonight's firworks over in nearby Troy, Illinois. Much much closer than downtown STL...

Plus a still....  All from my trusty, pocket sized Nikon CoolPixS640

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Fake Infrared...

So, we're doing some cleaning today, and I came across a CD of photos from ... Wal-Mart which is not a place I normally ise for photo processing. Pop it in the computer drive, and discover some "single use camera" images from back in April of 2005.  One of the internet groups I was involved in back then did a challenge to shoot w/ a throwaway camera.  This disc was from that challenge.  Anyway, I decide to mess around with some of the images. One of the results is below:
This is Silver Lake Park, in Highland, IL, near where I used to work.  A great spot for lunch time sanity breaks...  I did a rather lot of tweaking on this, crop, levels, etc.  Then used the Infrared filter built-in to Photoshop Elements.  I think it turned out kinda cool?  What say y'all?

Abandoned Mine, circa 1978

This old photo of an old mine was taken at the same time as the one of the earlier posted backpacking photos.  In the picture of me and Mike, we're standing with this old place on our right...  The original is a slide, I converted the scan to B&W, did a little tweaking.

I said Wednesday that this was on the Buckeye Trail, but I think it is more pecifically in and around Salt Fork State Park.  I recall us being just northeast of the I-70 / I-77 interchange.  But it was in and around a mining area, parts of it active and parts of it being reclaimed.  But it was 30+ years ago, so I'm not positive.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

What Song Is It You Wanna Hear?

So, last Sunday, at my son’s Little League game, one of his (10 yr old) teammates announced that he had seen Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert the night before. I’ve seen them too! But it was 35 years ago. Yep, 3 ½ decades …. That’s depressing.

I actually saw Skynyrd twice in 1976: once in the spring and once in the fall, bookending the recording and release of their iconic live album. Of course, there’s little resemblance between what is now touring as Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the band I saw back then…. Gary Rossington (guitar) is the only surviving member, and he’s pushing 60. And those are “rock n Roll” years, kinda like “dog years”….

Now, I actually have most of the albums put out by the post-crash Skynyrd (along with everything pre-crash). And some of the new stuff is pretty decent. But they quit “being” Lynyrd Skynyrd back in October 1977, and with each departure has less and less validity to using the name. I actually saw the survivors touring as The Rossington Collins Band back in 1980 or so. But I imagine it’s a lot easier to make a living using the famous name. That’s show-biz, after all.

The Summer 1976 lineup: Ronnie Van Zant (vocals - d. 1977), Steve Gaines (guitar - d.1977), Allen Collins (guitar – d.1989), Gary Rossington (guitar – still kicking), Leon Wilkeson (bass – d,2001), Billy Powell (piano – d.2009), Artimus Pyle (drums – alive, but out of the spotlight).