Wednesday, September 17, 2008


(click banner to see the schedule)
Guess the top five acts on my list of "must see" artists
and win a CD by one of those artists, my choice.
( in the event of multiple correct guesses, winner will be
chosen with extreme prejudice )
You can leave your guess in comments or, e-mail me.
If you leave your guess in the comments, be prepared
to give me your mailing info off site.

Time is short, act now !
_______CONTEST FINI_______
Well, the musical weekend is behind us now...
A fine weekend indeed.
The atmosphere downtown made it seem
like a different place. People came from miles
around and enjoyed the novel ability to stand
with one foot in Tennessee and the other in Virginia.
As for the contest, I had two very close
guesses with a correct three out of five.
No one got all five...
These were the top five on my list of artists
to see.
There were several bands in the second tier
selection process that could have easily been
bumped up a notch but, I had this list set
before the contest and I'm sticking to it.
Click on the links to each and learn why...
More later.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nashville Parts & Pieces

Adrian's cheat sheet for "partial lyrics" : The Construction of Light,
in which, as an experiment, he assigned words to certain notes.

Nashville Trip, Over Due Report


( not that anyone was really on the edge of their chair )

This trip was divided in purpose:

a. To visit with family
b. To witness the return of King Crimson ,Version VIII

I will address the "b." section of this journey in the two
following posts as to not cause those interested in show reports
to have to wade through the personal aspects.

Franklin is home to my oldest sister and her husband, my nephew,
his wife and daughter, live in the same neighborhood.
It is always nice to be able to combine pleasure with pleasure.

I arrived in Franklin on August 1st after making
he 4.5 hour drive from Eastern TN.

It was a lovely day, hot though it was.
carried with me boxes of family photos which
haven't been seen for many a moon, some I don't
know that I have ever seen or was too young to
These photos date back to the 1800s through the 1980s.

My other sister, here in the east, has been the keeper of
said boxes, not necessarily by choice.
So, it was to be a weekend of travel through history.
We started this process very soon after arrival pictures
pread out across the dining room table.

Lot's of memories, many of which had been buried and
were, suddenly, back in the light. More good ones
but some, I'd just as soon forget. Oh well, we must
face the past to understand the present, no ?

Friday evening was to be composed of dinner followed
by a nice evening of music under the stars.
As reported in an earlier post, we were to see jazz
songstress Annie Sellick and her band with
guest artist, Jeff Coffin of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones.
As it turns out, Jeff Coffin had to cancel, no matter.

My sister had invited a friend to join us for dinner
and the concert, a lovely woman whom she
had met on the local Mah Jong circuit, which
seems to have quite the following in the community.

We enjoyed a nice dinner of lasagna ( taken from
a Southern Living recipe, can't go wrong.)
, fruit, bread and great company.

Then it was time to load up and head over to the concert.

I really like the community and the town of Franklin.
My sister's neighborhood is pretty new, in fact, building
is still in progress and eventually, they will have their own
shopping area which will eliminate the need to really go anywhere.
By contrast, I live in an older neighborhood from back in the day
when everyone has a good sized yard, no neighborhood organization to speak of
and, no rules per se. Of course we look out for each other and respect
our respective spaces, with some exceptions, but that's another story.

The sense of community there in my sister's 'hood is
something to behold, very attracting. This concert series
is a good example. Of course, lots of people of the music
industry reside there so, music has to play a part.

The homes are all magnifico and designed after older,
landmark architecture of downtown Franklin.

So, the neighbors gather on the lawn around a grand,
sculptured fountain with chairs, beverages, some with
food, to enjoy some fine music and witness the setting of
the sun.

I always keep a couple of bag chairs in my car for just such an occasion.

Annie Sellick and her band were very enjoyable.

Upright bass, drums,keyboard,trumpet and vocals. Mostly jazz standards.

( Editor's note: Blogger has an issue with line spacing after adding a picture in the body of a post, until I learn how to deal with said issue, we are stuck with double spacing, arrrgghhh. )

The company was the more enjoyable aspect of this concert on the lawn. My nephew and my sister's friend joined us. Eventually, we wandered up the street to finish the concert on the front porch of more friends of my sister's. We could still hear the music as long as it lasted but, conversation was now the order of the evening, most enjoyable.

The rest of the weekend in Franklin was pretty laid back, which as fine by me. Visiting, looking through the boxes of memories, enjoying good meals.

Sunday afternoon, I had my first lesson in Mah Jong when my sister invited yet another friend to join us and to give me some pointers and rules. Very much fun though, more complicated then I imagined.

Saturday night, at the first King Crimson show, I was fortunate enough to secure a second ticket for the Sunday show, my hope was that I could persuade my sister's friend ( from the Friday evening concert ) to join me. Sadly, due to health reasons, she had to decline. I was somewhat disappointed as I didn't see her again for the rest of my visit.

Monday was a relaxed leisurely morning, I loaded up and headed east around noon. I only made one stop on the way home, at a doomed Starbucks where I filled my cup and purchased five pounds of "Pike Place" whole coffee beans. ( Saving 10 bucks by bulk. ) ;-)

I'm enjoying a cup as we speak...

Read further if you are interested in the King Crimson shows.

( Which got posted in the wrong order, oops. )

King Crimson V.VIII August 3rd, Nashville (Night Two)

After the show Saturday night and, before dinner, we stayed around
the venue for a while, chatting with other fans, absorbing the glow
of the aftershow.
We noticed that the car next to mine had a parking ticket on it, $50.00. Ouch !

The venue sent out a last minute e-mail stating that we could use the lot
for free but, we had to get a ticket by using a special code.

Pat and Gavin came out and chatted with those of us hanging about, signed some
stuff, the usual escape / meet & greet stuff.
Gavin eventually got in the vehicle with the ticket on it. ( Maybe Pat too )
I hoped they wouldn't have to pay that fine.

Sunday afternoon, I arrived in Hillsboro Village a little later then I did Saturday,
my brakes sounding somewhat similar to the discordant section of Sex, Sleep,
Eat, Drink, Shave (optional), Dream.

Tickledrop was holding our place in line this time and I was able to stand in line
for a shorter period. Thanks Tickle !
Her sister was to join us also, she arrived a little later.
Again, it was fun getting to know our queue mates.
A young couple in front of us from Arkansas were there for their first K.C. experience,
they can be seen in a Sid Smith vid on the DGM site as well as Tickledrop ( Rena Faye).
The edge of my white shirt also made the cut .

Second row tonight, directly in front of the Twang Bar King.
I managed to stay with Tickledrop and her sister for the duration this time and
what fun it was.

After we settled, we took turns making our way back up to the lobby for more merch
perusing and bathroom breaks.
The ever lovely Martha was at the top of the aisle with Ava & Leah. My, Ava has sure grown.

We spoke briefly, exchanged hugs, and then got ready for showtime.

Merch, merch, merch...

I picked up the Gavin Harrison cd "Drop" and # 12 of only 500 of the lithograph
of the In The Court of the Crimson King cover art. Tickledrop has # 13.

( Too much money on merch ! )

Tickledrop gifted me with a Discipline "celtic knot" mousepad, which made great personal
fans when the room got too warm. ( the A.C. in The Belcourt actually works very well )

Thanks Tickledrop !

The same intro music, the same announcement except, this time the announcer allowed
a little more space for thunderous applause after the "40th Anniversary Tour" part.

The Crim hit the stage to an a standing ovation , to which Adrian replied, "Thank you, goodnight !"
Always good for a laugh, that one.

Drum Duo
Construction of Light

I think they got a standing ovation after each one of these...
Correct me if I am wrong, anyone. I was prepared to give them a

standing O after each song but, I don't think the crowd was up to that idea. lol

Three of a Perfect Pair
( Adrian wasn't quite in effects position for the solo part in this one, recovered nicely )

Vroom / Coda

Walking On Air

( Replaced "One Time" from last night, a gorgeous rendering, beautiful ! )

( Always a crowd favorite )

Level 5
Talking Drum

( Scorching ! )


There was a drum barrage intro here that included
the band and sounded like a new song was taking shape.
It held great promise. Tickledrop and her sister said that Tony sounded like a hellicopter while Robert sounded like a train. )


Encore again

We knew they were coming back out because
Martha, Leah and Ava were up at the stage clapping
along with the crowd...

They knew something we didn't.

Elephant Talk

E.T. is always special with Tony on the finger extensions, which look to me like sawed off drumsticks after seeing them a little closer, the tapping effect adds something to the performance. ( Though I do appreciate Trey Gunn's additions as well )

They were even tighter this night, more confidant after
first night jitters were swept away, which were undetectable
to this audient.

Again we stuck around the venue for a while, getting to know attendees and
releasing some of the electricity accumulated from another electrifying experience.

Stood around with Martha in the lobby for a bit, meeting a member of her family and
chatting about "the name" for a bit.

I was gifted with a coveted laminate, Access All Areas pass. ( as seen above )

Not wanting to be a pester, yet, not wanting to waste the opportunity, I decided to
wander back stage, passing Robert in the hallway, he did not speak, as expected.

I had to cross the stage to access the Greenroom, only way to get there. It was a mighty treat
to cross the Crimson stage while crew was busy with the load out. I half expected someone to
say something to me but, the power of the laminate made me invisible.

I went to the Greenroom where Adrian, Gavin and others were hanging about.
I got Gavin to sign my copy of his cd, "Drop", a collaboration with 05ric.
Adrian signed the gig poster.

I didn't stay long I didn't want to abuse the privilege or seem like a stalker
type fan.

Again, we strolled down to Bosco's and again, we were seated next to Adrian and company.
Adrian came over and sat with us for a while and signed some more "stuff".

It was a fabulous close to the wonderful musical portion of a great weekend.
I headed back to Franklin after saying goodbyes to new friends, brakes grinding and
scrunching all the way. They would have to wait... after all, I didn't need to use them
much on the way home.

When I did get home, I got my brakes repaired, the next day, my driver's side door
nearly fell off. It was kind of like the car in The Blue's Brothers Movie when it fell apart
at the end. lol

Glad it waited.

King Crimsn V.VIII in Nashville, August 2nd, 2008

I have been slow in producing a report from the Nashville warm up shows. Frankly, it's been difficult to put into words, either held back by lack of writing abilities ( talking about music is like whistling about chickens ) or by the overwhelming nature of the weekend in total which is hard to separate.

I've decided to concentrate on events that took place in Hillsboro Village.( Home of The Belcourt Theater, once home to The Grand Ole Opry )

The Belcourt holds 370 people, as I learned in line, two rows of folding chairs were placed in front of the front row of permanent seating.

Very nice theater which has a heavier film schedule then it does for live music events.

You could not tell this by the way they handled this event, very efficient, very friendly and professional.

I arrived in Hillsboro Village at approximately 3:45 p.m. on August 2nd with intentions

toward grabbing a bite before joining the queue but, as I noticed the line was forming

and, wishing to secure a premium vantage point, I opted to forgo nutritional considerations and join the parade.

It was a scorching day in the Music City, mid to high 90s. The humidity factor was such that I was dripping in short order, like one of our favorite musicians at work.

You could wave a cup through the air and gain a glass of hot water for high tea. I soldiered through it.One of the highlights of attending such an event is meeting the other people who obviously share some interests, it makes passing the time under the bright blue sun bearable. ( okay, so the sun wasn't actually blue on this day.)

One nice fellow in my section of queue, poured himself a cup of flavoured water and handed me the rest, seeing as how I was losing internal moisture at a dangerous rate. Good people these Crimso fans. Others made bottled water runs and replenished the folks around them. I could not leave the line as I was, at this point, a solo act.

I knew our very own Tickledrop was going to be there but, though I haven't met her before, I decided that she wasn't in the line at this point.

Three young fellows who held the first three spots had, reportedly, been there since 9:00 a.m. Probably not necessary but, two had come all the way from Paris ( France, not Tennessee )and the other from Japan.

They can be seen in Sid Smith interview segments at DGM Live. Sid was working the line alternating between video and stills for website reports.

Yours truly is apparently on the cutting room floor somewhere. lol

I find it hard to speak in brilliant terms when a camera is suddenly pointed at me, not that I can speak in brilliant terms otherwise.

It was good to meet the Sid, he was friendly and funny and prepared with lots of prevalent interview questions.

There was quite a number of people who were there to see their first Crimson show ever, some were of the younger set, including our friends from Paris.

It gives me hope about the future of"difficult" music.

I am not exactly what you would consider an old timer in the court of the Crimson King, in fact, this would be my first time seeing Tony Levin with anyone.

Yes, ashamed to admit that, though I am.

My first Crimson experience would be the V.VI warm up shows for TCoL (2000) and TPtB warm ups (2001).

There were quite a few veterans of those shows present and I actually remembered seeing some of them there.

Adrian arrived and parked right in front of the venue in his sporty Chrysler Crossfire, grabbed his guitar and other gear from the trunk, chatted briefly with the crowd in his ever gracious and friendly manner and entered through the front door.

It was not long before T-Lev strolled up the street, waving and smiling.

Soon, they both came back out and wandered around the corner, presumably to Boscos, for whatever pre show "ritual" and relaxation.

Tickledrop arrived and joined me in line. It was great to finally meet her after being friends in this forum (reference to the Adrian Belew at Yahoo list ) for some time now.

What a vibrant, energetic, fun person to share part of this experience with.

The doors opened at about 7:10 p.m., the end of the wilting...thank goodness.

Entry was smooth, organized and swift, wrist band for age check, guest pass posted.

Tickledrop was at the concession counter while I eyed the merch...I turned and she was gone, therefore, we were separated in the first row by about 5 seats.

She, in front of Adrian, myself in front of Stickman and Gavin.

I was dangerously close to the stack, stage left, which delivered thunderous bass and drums but, I didn't mind.

I had a great view of Robert's perch. My rib cage was sufficiently rattled, good for the blood flow.

We were treated to pre-recorded soundscape, frankly, I miss the familiar Ken Latchney mix, I hope Adrian has possession of that.

The unseen announcer ( Biff ? ), reiterated the usual warnings regarding photos, cellcerts, etc. and it was time for The Beast.

A standing ovation greeted the Crim as they took the stage.

1. [drum duo]

Many people, I am certain, were anxious for the return of Tony Levin and were excited to see what the edition of Gavin Harrison would bring to the fold, as was I.

Fortunately, The Crim, was also aware of this and planned much space for Pat & Gavin to show their wares in the form of a single mind playing different parts.

Most "new" music of the weekend was delivered from the drum risers and that is how the show began.

Adrian, during these sections, sat stoic on his fancy stool, trying his best to not draw any attention away from what was going on behind him.

A masterful duo of percussive precision ripped through the frame of our existence,

at times sounding like a drumline field performance but with the Pat and Gavin signature so firmly attached.

Pat, as usual, had the digital duties but was at full steam on the genuine skin and cymbal barrage as well.

Gavin was just as amazing as everyone knew he would be and you would have thought he and Pat had been playing these pieces together for years.

Most bands I have seen with dual drum kits pretty much play the same thing from each kit but, these guys were together in their own worlds, in the same piece but, each taking their own respective strengths to dizzying heights.

and then...

2. ConstruKction Of Light

You would never know that Tony had not been a part of this recording and yet he put his own stamp on it at the same time, but, who would have expected less ?

3. Level Five

I noticed Adrian communicating with someone over my shoulder, without words.

It was Martha who was standing at the ready to deliver Adrian's "rock shoes".

Nope, not the familiar red ones, he must have worn those out. lol

Adrian paused the show for a shoe switch citing, "you can't do a rock show in brown shoes".

4. Neurotica

It was great to hear this one live.

5. Three of a Perfect Pair

I was singing the usual Tony part, although Tony was there but, I noticed the crowd was not.

6. Indiscipline

7. Frame By Frame

8. Dinosaur

9. One Time

Tickledrop was hoping for this one. (One Time)

10. Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream

11. B'boom

12. Elephant Talk

"Pinocchio Fingers", or is that "Viagra Fingers" is back !!!

13. Red

14. [drum duo]

15. Thela Hun Ginjeet

16. The Talking Drum

17. Larks' Tongues In Aspic II


18. Sleepless

Another welcomed return.

19. VROOOM/Coda:

Marine 475

Adrian Belew: guitar, vocal

Robert Fripp: guitar

Tony Levin: bass, stick, vocal

Pat Masteletto: drums, percussion, electronic percussion

Gavin Harrison: drums, percussion

The band set out to level the place and delivered.

The addition of Gavin working in concert with Pat, added a fresh coat of paint to the material.

Adrian was his usual animated, smiling stagemaster of ceremonies.

There was a few minor bobbles here and there, expected in warm up shows, that's what makes them special.

In fact, that's what makes Crim, Crim.

Occasionally, Tony didn't show up for a background vocal, he was so into his playing.

Adrian would give him a sideways glance like "where were you?", but, with a knowing grin.

That familiar grin.

Robert, had a few bobbles of his own but nothing major.

He had a permanent grin himself for the entire night.

Another review I read said that the clams prevented the music from ever taking flight, I must adamantly disagree with this assessment, they were in full flight.

I didn't hear anyone after the show that felt differently then I did about that.

Adrian was in his usual, awesome vocal form.

I did notice that he approached the high parts in Frame by Frame a little carefully the first time around but he went for it and, nailed it, when it rolled by the second round.

He played his silver Fly for the weekend with the tangerine/orange Fly at the ready for just in case.

I believe, if I am not mistaken, this was the coming out party for Adrian's new guitars in a Crimson setting.

They passed the audition with *Fly*ing colors.

The fellow to my right was quicker on the trigger and asked Tony for his set list.

I saw that in the bottom right corner it had a message which stated, paraphrased: If you stole this set list at a performance by King Crimson, please go to the lobby and purchase some merchandise. I wonder who's idea that was ? :-)

I got a set list for night two in the green room , which did not have this notice on it, In fact, I think Tony is holding the copy that I have in one of his photos.

But... night two is another story...The crowd had it's share of crossover fans from the Porcupine Tree camp, probably mutual fans, as evidenced by the T-shirt mix.

12th & Porter warm up T-shirts were also represented in the yellow and black versions.

Sid told me that he is jealous of those who attended those shows and that the audio from them is slated, at some point, for official release via download, it's just a matter of too much material and not enough time.

Merch, merch, merch...Lot's of stuff available at the mercantile, on night one I snagged the official tour T featuring art by P.J. Crook and the tour dates listed on the reverse.

I also picked up the "40th Anniversary Tour Box" which is audio only in a DVD case featuring a collection of snippets from over the years, a few gems included.

I realized later that the fellow who sold me my goods is the same fellow who sold me my goods at Porcupine Tree in Asheville, NC last fall.

At the end of both evenings, posters for the show(s) were handed out freely, on nice heavy stock with "SOLD OUT !!!"in bold red.

Being a bit on the hungry side, Tickledrop and meself wandered around the corner to Bosco's after hanging around outside The Belcourt for a bit.

We were seated right next to a group of tables put together for Adrian, Tony and respective families and crew types.

Adrian came over and joined us for some brief chat, that put a nice cap on the evening.

The food was good too.

I had black bean & goat cheese tamales. Yummmm.....

I made my way back to Franklin, noticing that my brakes were making a terrible metal to metal sound, I turned up the stereo, problem solved.

It was a wonderful first evening and I would say that King Crimson is off to a grand start for this new, albeit short, tour.

Friday, August 1, 2008

On the Road

Jeff Coffin

I'm heading off to NashVegas for to visitate with my Sister and family.

Tonight we will attend a concert under the stars featuring Jazz artist

Annie Sellick with special guest Jeff Coffin of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones.

I am very much looking forward to both the visiting

and the music.

Then on Saturday evening...

And Sunday...

Robert Fripp

Adrian Belew

Pat Mastelotto ( by Mark Colman )

Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sirens In The City

My interpretation of David Baerwald's "Sirens In The City".
It's a rather dark and brooding look at the state of things.
It's only my second attempt at throwing a video together and I
hope it is a slight improvement over the last.

Hope you enjoy and discover the music of David Baerwald.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My First Movie

Long in the making, my first attempt at animation.

While the subject matter may be of questionable interest to many, I created this using my own photos with Photoshop 7 and Windows Movie Maker.

The soundtrack is performed entirely on my Fender Strat with a Roland GR-30 guitar Synth. The child's voice in the piece was borrowed, as noted in the credits and, reversed to add an aire of mystery.

The work involved, for such a short outcome, makes one appreciate the work of animators.

I hope you like it.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

July 4th, 2008 - The Virginia Creeper Trail

Please click on photos and then click on "all sizes" to see the full size panoramic wonder. Thanks !

I got a call this week from my friend Tim, he and his brother have been my lifelong pals as we grew up across the street from each other, Tim wanted to know if I was interested in riding the Virginia Creeper Trail on the Fourth of July, or at least a section of it.

I had to give this some thought considering my bike has basically been in mothballs for a while and I have not been getting the exercise that I should of late.
Okay, I decided to make myself get in gear, pardon the pun, and get ready to see the trail again, it's been a while and The Creeper is an old friend.
Plus, I don't see Tim very often these days, life gets busy. He and Sheila are
pretty busy with Grandkids and such.

The Virginia Creeper Trail is a beautiful old railway bed, converted into a hiking, biking and horse backing trail. The grade is mostly around 3% with the exception of the last 3.5 miles or so up to White Top Station, which clocks in at about 7%. ( see maps at Virginia Creeper site, click title of this post ) the trail is 35 miles total.
Damascus Virginia being approximately in the middle, either direction away from Damascus would be an uphill run, so, it's like a mild "V" from both ends to the center.
There are several ways to approach a run on the trail and lots of folks prefer to start at either Abingdon, VA or White Top Station making it a downhill endeavor from start to finish.

This has created a boom for the shuttle business in Damascus, people leave their cars and buy a ride to either end and eventually arrive back at their vehicle again.
The trail winds through beautiful mountain settings, farm land and small communities. There are over 100 trestles along the way, most with gorgeous views of rivers or lake.

There are some gates here and there, through some of the farmland, where you have to open and close them for to keep the cattle stock and such where it belongs.

The Appalachian Trail crosses the Creeper Trail. Damascus hosts Appalachian Trail Days once a year which brings hikers from all over into the community for a fine festival.

I have done the entire trail several times but, when I go alone, I generally start in Damascus and go to White Top and back or, Abingdon and back. Both directions have their own rewards.
I need to get some more riding in before I attempt the uphills again.

My friend Tim had a cardiac event about six to eight weeks back so, I was worried whether he should be attempting this ride at all but, I was somewhat relieved that they had chosen to make the White Top Station to Damascus run, about 17.2 miles, downhill.

They were going to be camping for the weekend at Backbone Rock so, we decided to meet
at the caboose in Damascus.
( photo courtesy of, not panoramic. )

I got my trusty Diamondback out of the garage on Thursday and, not being very "mechanical" myself, I took it to Boyd's Bicycle for a check up. There are many bicycle shops in the area these days but ,Boyd's has been in business since I was a little whipper snapper and, I am still a loyal customer. They know what they are doing.
So, with two new tubes, whether I needed them or not, I had a good bill of health for my
"old school" steed. ( my bike has no suspension system ) I secured a new helmet and I was ready. I packed some essentials, a spare inner tube, a rain jacket, etc.

I was feeling rough when I awoke at 6:00 a.m. on Friday but that is par for the course these days. I had three cups of java to get myself moving and followed that up with a "sports" beverage on the way to Damascus. It supposedly had some vitamin B in there with all that high fructose corn syrup.
Note to self: less liquid before a trail ride next time, huh ?

I arrived at the designated caboose about 5 till 10, 10 being the designated meet up time, I wasn't sure what Tim & his wife Sheila would be driving as they have a penchant for trading vehicles . They were there but, I didn't see them and, they didn't see me.
I made my first "pit" stop. ( see note to self above )
They saw me finally and it was time to get the show on the road, right after "pit" stop number two. ( see note to self above )

We had missed the latest shuttle to White Top so we decided to take Tim's vehicle up and ride back to mine.
It was a bit difficult to get the three bikes on his rack as Sheila's bike had a baby seat mounted on the back, which I suggested they take off, but we managed to get them all on as is and away we went.

Now it is a good distance to White Top Station and, as you can guess, I needed a third "pit" stop before we got there. Tim pulled over and dropped me at a field of rather thick brush and trees.
I was too "ready" to protest the locale and, it was during my relief stage, that I noticed I was surrounded by the dreaded three leafed monster, poison ivy. Now I have never in my life been affected by P.I. until just a couple of years ago at which time, I got a bad case of it, required a shot, it did.

We proceeded on to White Top. We arrived just behind, not one, but two shuttles which were loaded down with people and bicycles. The bad thing about such a beautiful trail is that, eventually ,it gets discovered by more and more people. I could not believe the vast numbers of folk who had the same idea we did for the 4th of July. jeeeshhh...
We tried to lay back a bit and let these people move on but, we found ourselves catching them again rather quickly and, passing them.


We are well familiar with trail courtesy but, unfortunately with this many people riding, you run into your share of folks who haven't a clue. Always pass on the left and announce yourself when passing folks. I have a thumbell on my bike for just such occasions. You can sneak up people and really give them a start if you are not courteous.

The trip down the 7% grade was going rather briskly, almost too briskly to enjoy the scenery, until, it was realized that Sheila's back tire was low. We pulled off at a nice spot by the river and put some air in it with my trusty pump but, alas, it was losing air at a rapid rate.
We stopped again to discuss our options. I had a spare tube and a tire tool but, it required a wrench to remove that baby seat and that, I didn't have.
After a short time of despair, a gentleman happened by who was better prepared then I was, he had a wrench.
Note to self: pack a wrench

We dismantled the baby seat contraption and managed to install a new inner tube on Sheila's bike. Neither Tim, nor myself, are all that mechanically inclined so, it was a miracle that we figured it all out. We thanked our wrench bearer profusely and off we went.


We breezed through Green Cove Station which appears in a famous photo by O. Winston Link who captured the last days of the steam driven drains with his camera.
"Maude Bows to the Virginia Creeper" - O. Winston Link 1957 - all rights reserved

and as it appears today:

Obviously, the Virginia Creeper was a train before it became a trail. That last 3.5 miles had to be a lot of work for that ol' steam engine. The Creeper now rests at the trail head, captured and caged.

We rode into Taylor's Valley which was to be our designated lunch stop. Taylor's Valley is a tiny community which features The Creeper Trail Cafe & Pickin' Porch, a lovely little place which caters to folk from the trail.
This day the place was packed and many bikes lined the lot out back. We had to wait in line but it was a welcomed break after out tire incident. The food was good and nourished the soul and body.
Courtesy of ( not panoramic )

Pop up rain showers had been predicted throughout the day and, as we sat indoors to dine, the sky opened up. Amazingly, it closed again once we were ready to ride.
The ground remained dry enough as to avoid the famous "racing stripe" on the back of our clothes.

The remainder of the ride was without incident and seemed shorter then I remember it.
Tim did fine, no nitro pills were needed. It was a great, fun ride and my soreness is minimal.

As we got into the heart of Damascus, Sheila decided to ride on another six miles to their camp site as Tim and I would drive back up to White Top Station and fetch his vehicle.

When we returned to their campsite ourselves, the sky opened once more. We canceled our cookout plans and I headed back home to apply a 30 minute, cold water rinse to the areas that may be affected by the dreaded poison ivy. So far, so good but, it may be too soon to tell...


I hope you haven't found my tale to be too much a bore. :-)


The panoramic photos were actually taken on a previous ride, I have a much cooler looking new helmet to sport about in...
The panoramic photos are small in the blog, if you click on them and then select "all sizes", you will see them
in their true panoramic glory.

Happy Trails...

Update: Monday, July 7th, still no signs of poison ivy... whew!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hey Stranger...

This is a hauntingly important song and now, thanks to another David Baerwald fan, Marcia Leer, it has a video to go with. I don't know Marcia but, she has done a wonderful job with the imagery for "Stranger". I'm glad the song has a vehicle for You Tube so that it may be heard by more people who perhaps missed it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

On The Beat with David Menconi

Good music journalism is lacking in my area. Drop by and visit David Menconi's "On The Beat" for some good writing on music that matters.

On The Beat

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Countdown- Redux

Countdown Redux: Richard Clarke On Bush Administration - “We Can’t Let These People Back Into Polite Society”
Posted: 09 Jun 2008 08:45 AM CDT

C&L covered this segment from last Friday’s Countdown, but I thought an emphasis on Richard Clarke’s scathing remarks about the lack of, and the need for, accountability from the Bush administration for the countless lies they told their country and the world about pre-Iraq invasion intelligence, was well deserved.
I have been telling anyone who will listen, that we must watch out for these bad pennies when their names start to creep back into the political arena - names like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, who both worked in the Nixon administration. Looking back, we find ourselves wondering how we didn’t see this disaster coming, or why more people didn’t speak out at the time. I fully agree with Richard Clarke’s statements; we must not allow these thugs back into civilized society — they should not be rewarded for perpetrating so many horrific and destructive crimes against their own people, and other places around the globe.
Clarke: “Well, there may be some other kind of remedy. There may be some sort of truth and reconciliation commission process that’s been tried in other countries, South Africa, Salvador and what not, where if you come forward and admit that you were in error or admit that you lied, admit that you did something, then you’re forgiven. Otherwise, you are censured in some way.”
“Now, I just don’t think we can let these people back into polite society and give them jobs on university boards and corporate boards and just let them pretend that nothing ever happened when there are 4,000 Americans dead and 25,000 Americans grievously wounded, and they’ll carry those wounds and suffer all the rest of their lives.”
You can rest assured, the day that names like Karl Rove, Tom Delay, Condoleeza Rice or those of anyone who served in the Bush administration creep into the public or political sphere, we, and the rest of the blogosphere, will sound the alarm to make sure none of these people are able to damage our country ever again. More from Think Progress.

Countdown - June 10th

Countdown: The Impeachment Of George W. Bush
Posted: 10 Jun 2008 09:15 PM CDT

Download Play Download Play
Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich spent some 290 minutes on the House floor Monday, reading Articles of Impeachment against President George Bush. Not that you would notice, as there was a virtual media blackout on the story, but Keith Olbermann ran with it right out of the gate on Tuesday’s Countdown.
Constitutional Law Professor Jonathan Turley joined Keith to commend Kucinich and his impeachment bill, which is now co-sponsored by Rep. Robert Wexler. While Turley says there are numerous crimes for which Bush could easily be impeached, the President’s greatest ally has been the Democratic Congress who have skirted their constitutional duties and consistently given him a pass rather than practice any oversight. It’s clear impeachment will remain off the table for the remainder of Bush’s term, but as Keith put it, problems like this will never be solved if people like Kucinich and Wexler don’t stand up and say something.
Olbermann: “I’ve often argued here, that even if you don’t think the words aren’t lead to any actions, say the words anyway, simply to get them on the record for history and simply because, nothing has ever changed from bad to good in this country without somebody first saying, this is bad. Assess the importance of what Dennis Kucinich did last night.”
Turley: “You know, it is very important. The fact is, that this is not supposed to happen the way it’s happened in the last seven years. The framers, I think, would have been astonished by the absolute passivity, if not the collusion of the Democrats in protecting President Bush from impeachment. I mean, they created a system that was essentially idiot-proof, and God knows we’ve put that to the test in the past few years, but I don’t think they anticipated that so many members of the opposition would stand quietly in the face of clear presidential crimes.”

Senate Report - Phase II

Jon Stewart Slams Media for Blacking Out Iraq War Lies Report
Posted: 10 Jun 2008 08:46 AM CDT
The Daily Show reports on the media’s failure to report on the Senate report that proves the Bush administration knowingly lied to us about the reasons for war. Surely the “Big Three” have more important things to cover.

Download Play Download Play (h/t Heather)
Stewart: “Let’s go back to the Big Three, that’s where real Americans get their news. Charlie Gibson, cover it!”
Gibson: “Something that doesnt happen every day, and certainly doesn’t happen twice..a well-know French daredevil named ‘Spiderman’…”
Stewart: “Yes, he was climbing the New York Times building. Perhaps looking to read the story about the administration leading us into a war that you didnt cover at all! At all!
For a “fake news” anchor, Jon Stewart sure does a better job reporting actual news than the entire mainstream media combined. I’m sure Stewart wouldn’t take offense when I say that that’s pretty sad.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

They're Tearing It Down...

A personal side trip, if I may...

On June 16th, 2008 they will begin demolition of Fairmount Elementary School here in Bristol, TN. The school will be replaced by a much larger, more modern building which will swallow the contents of two older schools in the city.

A little history:

Fairmount Elementary School is located on a beautiful tree-studded campus on Cypress Street. This location once served as a campground for Native Americans traveling to the salt wells in what is now known as Saltville, Virginia. Later, this land provided camping for covered wagons that brought produce to the area from Shady Valley and Johnson City, Tennessee. As the community began to develop after the Civil War, in what was called the dense Fairmount Forest Park, the site of the present-day campus, a grand resort was planned. The elaborate Victorian Hotel Fairmount was constructed, and Fairmount Lake was developed for recreation. An elite residential section was planned around the famous hotel's grounds. By the turn of the century, the grand hotel had been destroyed by fire. Once again, the forest served as a short-term encampment site for the U. S. Army during World War I.

The original Fairmount School began serving this still elite and growing community in 1905. The first building was located on Kentucky Avenue, one block west of the present location. In 1925-1926, the present building was constructed on 8.83 acres, serving grades one through eight. In 1939, the gates were added at the front of the school with the sign honoring the name of the school and motto, "Character Above Intellect," adorning it. The original sign was replaced in 1991 with a colorful sandblasted design. The motto remains as a guiding principle of the school community. Three additions have been made to the building consisting of four classrooms in 1950, two classrooms and new gymnasium in 1960, and two classrooms in 1966. The entire "old" section of the school was renovated in 1972. The present building encompasses 62,984 square feet.

It is with mixed emotions that I consider the replacement of this grand old marker of many memories from my neighborhood of birth. On one hand, it has been far too long since Bristol proper has been bestowed with any new schools. On the other, this is where I attended elementary school, as did my siblings. My favorite uncle was once a teacher in the hallowed halls of Fairmount.

It is situated on a beautiful, wooded lot with many trees that share the aged wisdom of time gone by.

I have been trying to review my memories from those days but, alas, it was such a long time ago now. I have to admit that many of memories of my school days are blocked because, in many ways, my school days were not of a pleasant experience. I'll just leave it at that.

I was in this building when the word arrived to the world that John F. Kennedy had died from his wounds. We were sent home that day.

It was here that I discovered my dog "Pepper" and coaxed her to follow me home to become a member of our family for 16 years.

It was here that my neighbor, who had a somewhat wild reputation in those days, presented me with what turned out to be a "booby trap" in the bathroom one day. A booby trap was basically a firecracker that has a string coming out of both ends, when you pull them, BOOM ! I was very young and did not know that, so... well you can probably guess ahead from here. I wound up in after school detention for the first time in my life.

It was here, in the auditorium, that for no apparent reason that I can recall, the guy sitting next to me, who shall remain nameless, suddenly stabbed me in the leg twice with a pencil. To this very day I can show you the lead as it still remains.

It was here, in my final year, that they decided to no longer have graduation ceremonies which, they resumed in the next year that followed.

I remember the vaccinations doled out in sugar cube format.

I remember Mr. Wizard who would present his cool science show in the gym.

All these memories came back to me as I walked around the old school, inside and out, after a pre-bid conference the other day. Our company hopes to earn the right to supply equipment for the new cafeteria.

I learned at the meeting that they will preserve some of the trees in the front, which is wonderful news. They also intend to recycle the trees that must be taken, the plans are to salvage the wood and make "things" out of it, furniture or, who knows.

The P.T.A. will be selling bricks, I might just have to get in on that action.

Here's to Fairmount, a grand old building. They don't make them like that anymore.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Warm Up Dates In Nashville
( Saturday Is Sold Out !!! )
This version of The Crim not only features the
but also...
( Two of the finest drummers on the planet )

Download Audio
King Crimson - Aug. 06, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Park West
King Crimson - Aug. 07, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Park West
King Crimson - Aug. 08, 2008
Chicago, Illinois
Park West
King Crimson - Aug. 11, 2008
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Keswick Theatre
King Crimson - Aug. 12, 2008
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Keswick Theatre
King Crimson - Aug. 14, 2008
New York, New York
Nokia Theatre
King Crimson - Aug. 15, 2008
New York, New York
Nokia Theatre
King Crimson - Aug. 16, 2008
New York, New York
Nokia Theatre

Adrian Belew Power Trio On Tour 2008

Adrian, Julie, and Eric are currently on tour!
Don't miss the 2008 Adrian Belew Power Trio Tour.

Mercy Lounge
Nashville, TN NEW!
Smith's Olde Bar
Atlanta, GA NEW!
Skippers Smokehouse
Tampa, FL NEW!
Bamboo Room
Lake Worth, FL NEW!
Cat's Cradle
Carrboro, NC NEW!
Rams Head Tavern
Annapolis, MD
Mexicali Blues
Teaneck, NJ NEW!
Revolution Hall
Troy, NJ NEW!
Watch for more new dates at:

BUSH In '96

No, not *THAT* Bush...

Dancin' Dave has posted a fine story on his blog that will explain:

BUSH '96

Despite the scary coinciDANCE in monikers, we've been trying to
get good rhythm in The White House for a while now.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Earth Hour

Earth Hour, is so simple to participate in, yet is powerful beyond imagination.

You won't even believe the impact you'll make.
How? By turning off all lights for just one hour tonight,
Saturday, March 29, starting at 8PM (your local time).

That's right, for just one hour.
This event was created by the World Wildlife Fund in
Sydney, Australia in 2007... and the impact it created
was so huge that it's blossomed to a global event within only a year.

Last year, it reduced Sydney's energy consumption by a whopping 10.2% for one hour,
which is the equivalent of taking 48,000 cars off the road for a year!

Well, they're doing the same thing tomorrow night,
but this time it's global and with many more millions
of people around the world involved.

Imagine the impact!

Please join me in bringing harmony to the earth tonight.

Go ahead, turn out those lights!

Go to this site for more info.
What do you have to lose?

Friday, March 14, 2008

From the "Lest We Forget" Department:

The war in Iraq has gone on for nearly five years. The unbearable costs at home and abroad keep mounting. It's clear that Americans are ready for a real change in direction.

On March 19th, tens of thousands of people across the country will gather to observe the fifth anniversary of the war with candlelight vigils.

We'll commemorate the sacrifices too many families have made, and the billions of dollars wasted in Iraq that could have been better invested at home..Join us at a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, March 19th. Honor the sacrifice. Change our priorities. Bring the troops home.

Click here to organize your own vigil, or sign up for one near you.

brought to you by: The Department of Peace

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Griff copy

Griff copy
Originally uploaded by block_dog
This one is a combination of two photos, one is a detail of a fireplace mantel at Whitehall Inn, Dillard, GA and the second layer is a photograph of a painting that I am not sure that I am done with.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fallin' For It

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


free mp3"Falling For It"
David Wilcox has a new album plus a new 2 disc DVD ready to go.
Airstream was titled after David, Nance and Nathan sold their home in Maryland
and spent a year and a half touring the country in a bio-fueled Airstream trailer, playing
gigs along the way. I was lucky enough to catch a double bill with David & Darrell Scott
sharing the stage in Blacksburg, VA.

Anyway, the album and DVD aren't officially released as of this writing but, you can order
your copy right now and they are shipping right now. Click on the cover of either item above
to visit What Are Records and place your order.

You can hear the entire new album streamed at David's official site.

The DVD, "Live At The Workplay Theatre, contains an entire concert on disc one with
lots of extra goodies on disc two which you can read about at the official site.
There is also a couple of free MP3 downloads available.

I have heard a few of these new songs several times and I already know I'm going to like it.
If you're a fan, I think you will, too. If you're not, I think you will be

I also caught David's Thankgiving Homecoming show in Asheville, NC, which used to be
an annual event. I hope it will be again.
At this show they announced the end of their travels and the decision to settle, once again, in Asheville. This works out good for Moi if he resumes the heavy home court schedule that
he used to keep.

That show was memorable in that he broke out a lot of older tunes for the home crowd such as Bob Franke's "For Real", one of my favorites.

Pick up on it and tell 'em Block Dog sent ya, after all, that's where I stole the moniker.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Fear Card...

Countdown Special Comment on FISA: President Bush Is A Liar And A Fascist

Posted: 14 Feb 2008 08:45 PM CST

Keith Olbermann’s Special Comment on today’s Countdown was a scathing rebuke of President Bush for continuing to play the fear card, trying to scare the hell out of the American people and vowing to veto any FISA legislation that does not contain telecom amnesty.

You are a liar, Mr. Bush, and after showing some skill at it, you have ceased to even be a very good liar.

And your minions like John Boehner — your Republican congressional crash dummies who just happen to decide to walk out of Congress when a podium-full of microphones await them — they should just keep walking, out of Congress and if possible, out of the country.

For they — and you, sir — have no place in a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

The lot of you, are the symbolic descendants of the despotic middle managers of some banana republic, to whom “Freedom” is an ironic brand name, a word you reach for, when you want to get away with its opposite.

Thus, Mr. Bush, your panoramic invasion of privacy is dressed up as “protecting America.”

Full transcripts below the fold:

Democrats in the House of Representatives are closing the shop down tonight, until a week from Monday… leaving President Bush twisting slowly in a wind of his own creation.

Our third story on the Countdown: the FISA bill — and the retroactive immunity for the telecom giants that helped Mr. Bush illegally eavesdrop on Americans — will thus just sit there, unacted upon, not even a temporary extension which the Republicans and Mr. Bush refused, despite the President’s threats that if the bill isn’t passed by Saturday, there’d be a breakdown in counter-terrorism surveillance and plagues of locusts and stuff.

A Special Comment, in a moment.

First the details.

House Democrats, in essence, calling the Republicans’ bluff.

They staged a walkout at mid-day… led by John Boehner, who in one act managed the cheesy political theater, and managed to get out just as Representatives were to vote on Contempt of Congress citations against Harriet Miers and Joshua Bolten.

That the Republicans just happened to walk to a stand-full of microphones… pure coincidence.

The President had started all this, with his now-daily message of fear, with what he apparently sees as a threat, to postpone his scheduled trip to Africa.

The House should not leave Washington without passing the Senate bill. I am scheduled to leave tomorrow for a long-planned trip to five African nations. Moments ago, my staff informed the House leadership that I’m prepared to delay my departure, and stay in Washington with them, if it will help them complete their work on this critical bill. The lives of countless Americans depend on our ability to monitor terrorist communications.

Having lost, he now says he’s going to Africa — another threat, or promise, unfulfilled.

Now, as promised, a Special Comment.

A part of what I will say, was said here on January 31st.

Unfortunately it is both sadder and truer now, than it was, then.

“Who’s to blame?” Mr. Bush also said this afternoon, “Look, these folks in Congress passed a good bill late last summer… The problem is, they let the bill expire. My attitude is: if the bill was good enough then, why not pass the bill again?”

You know, like The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.

Or Executive Order 90-66.

Or The Alien and Sedition Acts.

Or Slavery.

Mr. Bush, you say that our ability to track terrorist threats will be weakened and our citizens will be in greater danger.

Yet you have weakened that ability!

You have subjected us, your citizens, to that greater danger!

This, Mr. Bush, is simple enough even for you to understand.

For the moment, at least, thanks to some true patriots in the House, and your own stubbornness, you have tabled telecom immunity, and the FISA act.


By your own terms and your definitions — you have just sided with the terrorists.

You got to have this law or we’re all going to die.

But practically speaking, you vetoed this law.

It is bad enough, sir, that you were demanding an Ex Post Facto law, which could still clear the AT&Ts and the Verizons from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive, and blatant collaboration with your illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who are stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass e-mail.

But when you demanded it again during the State of the Union address, you wouldn’t even confirm that they actually did anything for which they deserved to be cleared.

“The Congress must pass liability protection for companies believed to have assisted in the efforts to defend America.” Believed?

Don’t you know?

Don’t you even have the guts Dick Cheney showed in admitting they did collaborate with you?

Does this endless presidency of loopholes and fine print extend even here?

If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business — come out and say it!

There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend.

You’re a fascist — get them to print you a t-shirt with “fascist” on it!

What else is this but fascism?

Did you see Mark Klein on this newscast last November?

Mark Klein was the AT&T Whistleblower, the one who explained in the placid, dull terms of your local neighborhood I-T desk, how he personally attached all AT&T circuits — everything — carrying every one of your phone calls, every one of your e-mails, every bit of your web browsing into a secure room, room number 641-A at the Folsom Street facility in San Francisco, where it was all copied so the government could look at it.

Not some of it, not just the international part of it, certainly not just the stuff some spy — a spy both patriotic and telepathic — might able to divine had been sent or spoken by — or to — a terrorist.


Every time you looked at a naked picture.

Every time you bid on eBay.

Every time you phoned in a donation to a Democrat.

“My thought was,” Mr. Klein told us last November, “George Orwell’s 1984. And here I am, forced to connect the big brother machine.”

And if there’s one thing we know about Big Brother, Mr. Bush, is that he is — you are — a liar.

“This Saturday at midnight,” you said today, “legislation authorizing intelligence professionals to quickly and effectively monitor terrorist communications will expire. If Congress does not act by that time, our ability to find out who the terrorists are talking to, what they are saying, and what they are planning, will be compromised…You said that “the lives of countless Americans depend” on you getting your way.

This is crap.

And you sling it, with an audacity and a speed unrivaled even by the greatest political felons of our history.

Richard Clarke — you might remember him, sir, he was one of the counter-terror pro’s you inherited from President Clinton, before you ran the professionals out of government in favor of your unreality-based reality — Richard Clarke wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Let me be clear: Our ability to track and monitor terrorists overseas would not cease should the Protect America Act expire. If this were true, the president would not threaten to terminate any temporary extension with his veto pen. All surveillance currently occurring would continue even after legislative provisions lapsed because authorizations issued under the act are in effect up to a full year.”

You are a liar, Mr. Bush, and after showing some skill at it, you have ceased to even be a very good liar.

And your minions like John Boehner — your Republican congressional crash dummies who just happen to decide to walk out of Congress when a podium-full of microphones await them — they should just keep walking, out of Congress and if possible, out of the country.

For they — and you, sir — have no place in a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

The lot of you, are the symbolic descendants of the despotic middle managers of some banana republic, to whom “Freedom” is an ironic brand name, a word you reach for, when you want to get away with its opposite.

Thus, Mr. Bush, your panoramic invasion of privacy is dressed up as “protecting America.”

Thus, Mr. Bush, your indiscriminate domestic spying becomes the focused monitoring, only of “terrorist communications.”

Thus, Mr. Bush, what you and the telecom giants have done, isn’t unlawful, it’s just the kind of perfectly legal, passionately patriotic thing for which you happen to need immunity!

Richard Clarke is on the money, as usual.

That the President was willing to veto this eavesdropping, means there is no threat to the legitimate counter-terror efforts underway.

As Senator Kennedy reminded us in December:

“The President has said that American lives will be sacrificed if Congress does not change FISA. But he has also said that he will veto any FISA bill that does not grant retroactive immunity.

No immunity, no FISA bill. So if we take the President at his word, he’s willing to let Americans die to protect the phone companies.”

And that literally cannot be.

Even Mr. Bush could not overtly take a step that actually aids the terrorists.

I am not talking about ethics here.

I am talking about blame.

If the President seems to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, it means we can safely conclude… there is no baby.

Because if there were, sir, now that you have vetoed an extension of this eavesdropping, if some terrorist attack were to follow…

You would not merely be guilty of siding with the terrorists…

You would not merely be guilty of prioritizing the telecoms over the people…

You would not merely be guilty of stupidity…

You would not merely be guilty of treason, sir…

You would be personally, and eternally, responsible.

And if there is one thing we know about you, Mr. Bush, one thing that you have proved time and time again… it is that you are never responsible.

As recently ago as 2006, we spoke words like these with trepidation.

The idea that even the most cynical and untrustworthy of politicians in our history — George W. Bush — would use the literal form of terrorism against his own people — was dangerous territory. It seemed to tempt fate, to heighten fear.

We will not fear any longer.

We will not fear the international terrorists — we will thwart them.

We will not fear the recognition of the manipulation of our yearning for safety — we will call it what it is: terrorism.

We will not fear identifying the vulgar hypocrites in our government — we will name them.

And we will not fear George W. Bush.

Nor will we fear because George W. Bush wants us to fear.