Tuesday, August 31, 2010


This is an oldie, shot way back in in late 2002 (IIRC), with my first Digital Camera.  Shot on a drizzly day at William B. Umstead State Park in the Raliegh / Durham NC area.

This is one of those photos that didn't turn out quite like I envisioned.  But rather than hating it for it's failure, I like it for the image I wanted it to be....  Or does that make no sense at all?  Anyway, I found myself reminiscing the other day, thinking about this image, and that misty day in North Carolina.  So I thought I'd share it (again).

Saturday, August 28, 2010


My son and I did something different today.  We went over to St. Louis and watched some vintage baseball.  The St. Louis Perfectos vs the U.City Lions.  These guy's play baseball circa 1860.  It was pretty cool!  We saw them at Lafyette Park, which apparently was hosting baseball games like this back in the 1860's....  It was a really good time, we'll have to do itt again!

Here's some photos:

Perfectos striker getting ready to hit, with a runner at first. 
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Foul ball!!  Note scorekeeper in the background.  Bats in the foreground.  The teams shared a common bench, the field was simply a, well, field.  Not fences or bleachers ar anything.
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View from the outtfield.  Note hay-bale backstop.  That's the Arbiter (umpire) off to the left of homeplate.  He only gets involved if the players can't agree on a call.  You can't really tell, but the fielders don't wear gloves.
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Another striker....
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They played a double header, the Perfectos won both. 

Urban Renewal

Just south of the St. Louis Arch, just before I-44 / I-64 meets up with I-70 and crosses the Mississippi River.  This old warehouse is in the process of being converted to condos...  This area is called Chouteau's Landing and appears to be up-and-coming...

East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

Veiw of an old building in East St. Louis, as seen from the interstate.  This was probably a really cool building once upon a time, but has been neglected for as long as I can remember.  Note the lack of windows and the "wild" trees growing on the roof. 

Friday, August 27, 2010

Vanishing Farmland

111 Acres for sale, along the I-255, just north of Collinsville, IL.  This area has been slowly turning commercial over the past 20 years, but there's still lots of farmland.  But less and less and less.  But I suppose there's plenty more places to grow corn...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Summer Scene

I took this photo yesterday at lunch, jsut driving around looking for inspiration.  It took a little tweaking to soften the noon light, but I think it turned out OK...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Comin' Down

Follow-up from my 8/8/10 post, they've started tearing down one of the buildings in downton Collinsville.... 

Pick One:

Morle playiong around w/ portraits on my new bass:
Which version do people prefer?  B&W or Color?

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wordle - Ephesians

I'm reading Ephesians this week, and decided to do a "wordle"..... 
Just cause I can.

All Well And Good

Below is an approximate transcription of a real conversation in my office today. Supervisor (me) talking with two engineers. The subject of an upcoming training session comes up:

Employee: Yeah, we’re having that class on writing good in September.
Supervisor: Well, I suppose writing good is OK, but we really want people to write well.
Employee: [puzzled look]
Supervisor: We don’t really want you writing evil, but we need you to write well.
Employee: [pause] Oh, I get it!
Supervisor: [sigh].

I have a group of very smart young engineers working for me, and it amazes me how consistently deficient their grammar is. Or have I just turned into a grumpy old man? The worst thing is that it is rubbing off on me, I'm getting sloppy too.  When my wife has to (frequently) correct my use of "I" versus "me".....  that's bad.
Hey you kids! Get off of my lawn!

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The photo above is mostly random, something from the ancient archives.  From way back in  1982 / 1983, shot on Tri-X film, scanned from an 8x10 print.  This was on the north side of Wheaton, MD.  The building was torn down probably 25 years ago when they widened Rt 97.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Barber Jack's, etc.

Barber Jack's has relocated....   Seems like I've been taking a lot of images lately along Rt. 159 in Collinsville.  Something attracts me with the impending changes.  Also seems like I'm doing a lot of square crops lately.  I'm a big believer in cropping to what the image calls for, though I use the "normal" 4x6 most of the time...

Below is an older apartment building on the south side of Collinsville.  I don't know how (or if) it will be impacted by the Rt. 159 expansion.  But I felt like taking a photo...  (and NOT square!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Another close-up of the peg-head from my SX 5-String.  this time from the back:

I played the 5-string "out" for the 1st time today, in the Praise Band.  Only 6 weeks since it arrived. but I've been busy.  Seemed to go well, though I'm still getting comfortable w/ the extra string.  It was especially useful on one song where we went down from E to D#.... Band leader said he was diggin' it, so that's good.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

American Tune

This one reached #35 in 1973.  A bit of an anticlimax, on the heels of "Kodachrome" and "Loves Me Like A Rock".  But a really nice tune.  Came up on the iPod during yesterday's commute, and I thought I'd share.

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Manys the time I've been mistaken
And many times confused
Yes, and often felt forsaken
And certainly misused
But I'm all right, I'm all right
I'm just weary to my bones
Still, you dont expect to be bright and bon vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home


Close up of the head of my SX 5-String Bass.  This shows a limitation of my Point-n-Shoot, I need more depth of field for theis shot.  I should pull out my D-70 and reshoot.  I kinda like the composition, but need crisp front-to-back focus...

Add a quickie from the D-70....  not perfect, but better:

Heart Of...

The Praise Band is playing The Heart Of Worship this Sunday. I generally like to listen to the songs we’re playing a few times between practice (Wednesday evening) and Sunday. Either on Youtube, or my iPod… Anyway, point of this story, I dialed up “Heart Of Worship” yesterday on the iPod, and noticed quite a few “Heart Of” songs. So I made a playlist:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Most Important Technological Invention of the past 25 years...

I gotta vote for the iPod.  It has changed my life in ways I could only imagine just a couple of years ago. 

Yes, I now carry my entire musical collection (almost) with me wherever I go.  I plug my iPod into my car stereo.  I plug my iPod into my home stereo system, I plug my iPod into speakers at work.  Every once in a while, I break out the earbuds and listen that way!!  I wake up somtimes to an alarm from my iPod (and a playlist of Thelonius Monk).  I even plug my iPod into my bass amplifier when I want to practice with recorded music.  My currnet iPod (my 2nd) is 80 Gig, and currently has just under 12,000 songs on it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I generally try to avoid politics on this blog.  If you know me, you know where I stand.  But, I saw this trailer on last Saturday's drive to Murray Kentucky, and couldn't resist.  This guy seems to feel pretty strongly about the state of things, enough to spray paint his trailer.  And not just the back but both sides (which I didn't photograph).   And no points for neatness!

In case you can't read it, it says:

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Vote Them ALL Out Now

I've followed politcs since the early 70's when I was a teenager, and Watergate was big news. But I'm pretty sure I've never seen things as messed up as they are now, nor as many people bubbling over with frustration. I can understand the feeling that our representatives aren't representing the "regular people"...

So now what?

Bands (and Artists) I Probably Should Like (But Don’t) - Part 3

OK, it’s been almost 3 weeks since I added Bob Seeger to Journey on the list of bands I probably should like (but don't)... Part 3? How about U2?

Success? Deemed among the most critically and commercially successful groups in popular music, they have won more Grammy Awards than any other band (22). In 2005, the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone magazine ranked U2 at number 22 in its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". Their global rank at Song-database.com is #125

And I just really do not like them.

I thought “Sunday Bloody Sunday” was pretty good, but everything since seems largely the same…. “Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For”, “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”, “With Or Without You”, “New Year’s Day”… Sorry, it just doesn’t do anything for me. I think there’s something about Bono’s vocal style. Or maybe just an aversion to people how only have 1 name….

And I just can’t take all of the media fawning over just how IMPORTANT they are. It’s just music, OK? It doesn’t qualify you to be some mystical leader…. On the other hand, I suppose they do deserve “props” for actually being engaged in trying to help peoples around the globe….. But I still don’t like their music.

I don’t have a single U2 song on my iPod. Nor Journey. Nor Bob Seeger.

Anybody with me on this?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NOT Bert's Chuck Wagon...

Despite the sign, the is NOT Bert's Cuck Wagon Open Pit Bar-B-Que:
It's been a Mexican restaurant for at hleast the past 20 years. We ate there once, probably 15 years ago. Not bad, but not really something I'd drive 10-15 minutes for. But it sure has character. At least until they tear it down.

This funky little restaurant is on the "tear down" list with the widening of Rt. 159 through Collinsville.  The sign says Bert's Cuck Wagon Open Pit Bar-B-Que.  As the sign says, their last day open will be 8/21.  With a party on the 22nd.  I expect it will be gone by the end of Monday 8/23.  I'll try and take a photo...

Monday, August 16, 2010

You see I really have to tell you, that it all gets so intense, From my experience, It just doesn't seem to make sense.........

I’ve been listening to a lot of Emerson Lake & Palmer (ELP) recently, which is always fun. ELP was a one of the mainstays of progressive rock in the early 70s, defined by Keith Emerson’s keyboard work. As defined on Wikipedia, ELP “were one of the most commercially successful progressive rock bands, and from the outset were focused on combining classical pieces with rock music. “….

What’s interesting is that ELP’s best known songs are Greg Lake ballads, with little or no keyboards. Think “From The Beginning”, their only Top 40 hit (#39 in 1972). Or “Lucky Man” (probably their best known song, but only made it to #48 in 1971). Or “Still You Turn Me On”, which didn’t make the charts at all, but was a standard of FM radio in 1973 . All of these are a FM-radio friendy under 5 minutes.

Quite different from compositions like “Take A Pebble” at 12:32, "Tarkus" at 20:35, or Karn Evil 9, at a whopping 29:41.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it all. But it is an interesting dichotomy….  In fact, I might not have discovered ELP as soon if not for those radio friendly songs.  Way back when, I bought the 1974 live release "Welcome Back My Friends... " because it had those ballads mentioned  above.  And my ears were opened to "stuff" that was new (to me).....

Dear Mr. Fantasy

The past 2-3 years, I've played a free fantasy football league through Yahoo.  My team name, of course, is LSquared.  Last year I let my son (10 y/o now) run a team, too.  We both had fun, but he was disappointed that he couldn't be in the same league as me.  So this year, we decided to set up our own league!  We're using ESPN.com, but it seems to be set up pretty much the same as Yahoo.  This will be lot pressure "just for fun".  So far, it looks like we've got playes from as far flung as Alaska, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky...  and (of course) Illinois.  There's a few spots left, if you'd like to play, drop me a line!


Soo....  the puppies have been obsessing aound the fence back behind the garage...  We finally went out and looked at why they were digging, and found a group of 3 babby bunnie rabbits.  We blocked of that part of the fence (out of sight, out of puppies minds?) and left them be. That was Friday.  As of Sunday evening, they're still out there, and seem to be healthy.  No sign of "mom" though.  Don't know if she's run off. of just stayign away until night, or what.  If they hope to survive, they'd better learn to stay on that side of the fence, though!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


What is it?  Just 3/4 of the legs of a chair in my daughter's aprtment.
Just the kind of thing I notice.  And photograph.

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

You might remember my post last Saturday with some random images from my commute.  This noted that the road (Illinois Rt 159) is being expanded though Collinsville.  Anyway, Tuesday last week I noticed one of the "by order of IDOT - scheduled for destruction" signs on this cool little bungalo house.  Seems kind of a shame, but that's life, huh.  No sign on the little blue house next door, but you gotta figure it's history, too.

So the very next day, it is being torn down...  And by Thursday, it was gone (see below).  I'm of mixed feelings, as a commuter, doubling the capacity of the road will make my commute easier.  But I have to see this neighborhood bulldozed (literally) in the name of progress....  Like the song goes, "I can see the concrete slowly creeping"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th…..

Should I avoid black cats and ladders?? Or knock wood and look for 4-leaf clovers?? Or better yet, make a playlist of “Luck” Songs.

     • Lucky Man – Emerson Lake & Palmer
     • Lucky For You – REO Speedwagon’
     • Lucky Man –Lynyrd Skynyrd (Post Crash)
     • Lucky Seven – Chris Aquire
     • Chyangin’ Luck – Little Feat
     • Good Luck Charm – Elvis Presley
     • Good Luck Bad Luck – Lynyrd Skynyrd (Post Crash)
     • Hard Luck – Poco
     • Hard Luck Story – Johnny Van Zant Band
     • I’m Lucky – Iron City Houserockers
     • Lady Luck – JJ Cale
     • Lady Luck – Tesla
     • Out Of Luck – Yachts
     • Sister Luck – Black Crowes
     • The Lucky One – Alison Krauss
     • With A Little Luck – Paul McCartney

Anybody have any other suggestions??

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Bottle Rocket

My son chasing a bottle rocket, scout style...

The scouts had their bottle rocket event today.  The kids made rockets out of 2 liter soda bottles, then the leaders shot them off w/ water & compressed air.  Acually a pretty cool outing, and everyone had a lot of fun.  Here's a couple of videos from my little point-n-shoot camera:

Above is the rocket we built at home....  below is the rocket we made at the event:

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Random Images from the Road

Just a couple shots from the road between home and work, taken over the past week:

First off, the World's Largest Catsup Bottle.  Headed south on Rt159.  This section of road is slated to be widened.  Most of 159 has been widened to 5 lanes, this is the remaing bottleneck between Edwardsville and Belleville....  Not sure exactly how it's going to work it out, but they've started acquiring / demolishing buildings.  I'll miss the trees, myself...

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This is one of the buildings in downtown Collinsville that's marked for destruction... Not that the light turned green as I was composing, so this one's a bit rushed....

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Yeah, this one's kinda "so what"... But I was interested to see how my little Point'n'Shoot would do in the dark.  Not bad, huh?  Camear braced on the window frame, sopped at a light.
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Don't try this at home, kids!  Camera held on steering wheel, randomness....

Friday, August 06, 2010


OK, This is different.  Seen on a bass-player's internet forum:
Take text, translate English to Japanese , then translate back Japanese to English...

Here's the previous post about Obama's birthday:
Barak Obama' where is today; The birthday… of s president Side Poitics makes the most important problem of this president, this me remember. It is, this rather than there being I, is young first American president. 406 days ago which have me as for Barak Obama the crushing blow which is born. And that by any means is not the right

I'm not sure if that's cool, or stupid.  Or both.

Doing the same process w/ Spanish gives a closer result:
The today is birthday of president Barak Obama… Poitics to a side, this remembers the most significant problem to me with this president. Yep, this one is the first president of the USA NEVER, who is younger than I am. Barak Obama was born incredible 406 days before it was. And that hardly correct one.

Actually, it did pretty well with most languages, including Chinese.  Wonder why?

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Birthday Wishes....

Hmmmm, the post below was supposed to automatically publish on Wednesday, the president's birthday.  It didn't.  I think I know what I did wrong, but it doesn't matter.
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Today is President Barak Obama’s birthday… Poitics aside, this reminds me of the most significant problem with this President. Yep, this is the first US president EVER, who is younger than I am. Barak Obama was born a whopping 406 days before I was. And that’s just not right. (note, including Obama, there have been 7 Presidents who were younger at their inauguration than I am now....  But that doesn't count, as I was younger when they were inaugurated....).

Sigh, I suppose it’s not his fault.  Still, it's not a good sign.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

1983 (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)

Acording to Song-database.com’s “Global Pop Rankings” system, here are the Top 20 artists for 1983. I’ve added each artists’s top songs in 1983 for reference.

1. Michael Jackson (6x Top 40 songs, all Top 10: Billie Jean / Beat It)
2. Lionel Ritchie (4x Top 40 songs, all Top 10: All Night Long)
3. Culture Club (4x Top 40 songs, all Top 10: Karma Chameleon)
4. Billy Joel (3x Top 40 songs, all Top 10: Tell Her About It)
5. Police (3x Top 40 songs, 2x Top 10: Every Breath You Take)
6. Hall & Oats (3x Top 40 songs, all Top 10: Say It Isn’t So) *aside - remember when rock vidoes had to have shots of people walking in beat to the music?  Argh,.,
7. David Bowie (3x Top 40 songs, 2x Top 10: Let’s Dance)
8. Duran Duran (3x Top 40 songs, 2x Top 10: Rio)
9. Irenne Cara (3x Top 40 songs, 1x Top 10: Flashdance, What A Feeling)
10. Prince (3x Top 40 songs, 2x Top 10: 1999)
11. Men At Work (3x Top 40 songs, 2x Top 10: It’s A Mistake)
12. Journey (4x Top 40 songs, 1x Top 10: Separate Ways)
13. Styx (2x Top 40 songs, 2x Top 10: Mr. Roboto)
14. Eurythmics (2x Top 40 songs, 1x Top 10: Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This)
15. Micheal Sembello (2x Top 40 songs, 1x Top 10: Maniac)
16. Fixx (3x Top 40 songs, 1x Top 10: One Thing Leads To Another)
17. Bonnie Tyler (1x Top 40 songs, 1x Top 10: It’s A Heartache)
18. Stevie Nicks (3x Top 40 songs, 1x Top 10: Stand Back)
19. Pat Benatar (3x Top 40 songs, 1x Top 10: Love Is A Battlefield)
20. Elton John (3x Top 40 songs, 1x Top 10: I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues)

Hmmmm… I actually know a lot of these songs, but not that many grace my iPod… Of the 21 sings noted, I have 8. And 2 of those are courtesy of “Greatest Hits” packages. In fact, my playlist of Top 40 songs from 1983 contains only 27 songs.

What does it mean? Well, one thing it means is that I wasn’t listening to much mainstream music in 1983. I was a year out of college (in May), with my first “real” job. Engaged (married in 9/1983). Living in Washington DC area. Listening mainly to “community radio” (WHFS) rather than Arena Rock and the rise of “personality radio”. Going to concerts from bands like R.E.M. (4 years before they would crack the Top 40), Elvis Costello, B-52’s (6 years before they first cracked the Top 40), The Jam, Joe Jackson…. I did also see Cyndie Lauper, but…. well, maybe it was an off-night for her.

Bottom line? I’m not real big on “popular” music from 1983. But that doesn't mean there's anything worng with you if you are....

Monday, August 02, 2010


Last Christmas, my wife gave me a set of hangers, to display some of my basses.  It only took me 7 months to get them mounted.  But better late than never.  Here's the toys:

Left to right:  My wife's Yamaha accoustic.  She's had it since high-school, still works fine.  My son's new Ibanez ADD120 electric guitar.  Just bought last weekend, traded his old (LTD) along with a couple month's worth of lawn mowing money.  My 1965/66 Hagstrom HIIB bass, bought last summer off eBay.  My off brand J-Bass copy, bought in 1978.  Recently reacquired from OlFroth (thanks John!).  My new SX 5-string, bought (slightly) used from Talkbass.com.  I almost have it playable.  My Gretsch short scale, a gift from my brother.  And my 1966/67 Guild Jetstar, which I've had since '79, but needs reassembled after being refinished....  There's actually 1 more, the Peavey Milestone I picked up last year for VBS...  I'm considering donating it to the Church for the youth group...

Sunday, August 01, 2010

7 Years Ago.....

Looking through the archices, this image was shot 8/2/2003, seven years ago (as of tomorrow).  That's my son (who is now 10).  We discovered a Antique Fire Engine show over in St.Louis, just north of the Arch.  He's changed a lot since thebn, but haven't we all?

This was taken w/ my Kodak LS443, that one's long gone.