Monday, July 30, 2007

Box of Rain

Suna and I Play at Church
Photo by: John Montgommery

Guitar Bill asked Suna and I to accompany him in three Grateful Dead songs at church today.

  • Eyes of the World, a long song that features a choppy America-esque rhythm guitar line with the Dead’s disregard for key.
  • Broke Down Palace, song that I thought was longer than appropriate.
  • Box of Rain, the most enjoyable of the three songs—and the most commercial.

Even though I thought the songs were interminable—or maybe just terminal—many of the congregation seemed to enjoy them. They were at least polite. The Choirmaster even complimented me on my bassplaying and said I had to do more of it some time.

Shows what I know.

So what were we doing playing these tunes at church? Search me. The only thing I can figure is that they all have at least one vaguely spiritual moment without ever mentioning God or any other divinity, power, principality, essence, or spirit by name. They were not inconsistent with the sermon, which was about how an atheist came to join a Christian church.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Adios, Ladybird

Ladybird and Lyndon Johnson (1968)
Photo Source: LBJ Library

Today we lost someone who has done great things for Texas and the country. Former first lady Ladybird Johnson died at her home this afternoon at the age of 94.

In spite of all the controversy that surrounded her—Viet Nam profiteering, her involvement in high finance, the expansion of the first lady’s role in government—I always thought of her as a kind, gentle figure. But the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin remains her greatest legacy as far as I’m concerned.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Chattanooga Choo Choo

Cannon from the Battle above the Clouds
Photo by: Beccano

To avoid some of the traffic problems I encountered on the way up to North Carolina, we decided to go home through Tennessee. We stopped at the Hayward Rest Area near the gorge that divides North Carolina and Tennessee. Unfortunately, the view from the westbound side of the freeway is’t nearly as prettey as the one from the easbound side. But we got to go through the tunnel, both sides of which are now open.

We ate lunch in a Krystal burger joint just outside of Knoxville. It was the first time I have ever had such tiny burgers. They were a novelty and tasted OK, but I wouldn’t want to eat them regularly.

Then we stopped for a while at Cloudland Canyon State Park, just south of Chattanooga. This was the site of Battle of Lookout Mountain—AKA, “The Battle above the Clouds” because it was fought above a semi-permanent fog bank. The Union Army overran the Confederates who were stationed in Chattanooga. One of the final straws was the Union Army got inside the range of the Confederate cannons on the mountain. When the Rebels tried to aim at the advancing union army, the cannon balls rolled out of the muzzels before the powder could ignite.

I bought a commemorative T-shirt. (I love T-shirts.) And we took pictures of Suna, Beccano, and me standing by a cannon. Suna has photos of her standing by or on the cannons at every stage of her life. (Note: the cannon is not the same one. This is a Union cannon that is being used while the Confederate cannons are out being refurbished.)

7/13/2007 Update

I wore the T-shirt today. One of my work buddies saw it and told me that his family once owned much of the land that the park now occupies. Georgia condemned it when his grandmother refused to sell. His great grandmother’s family owned the land before the war. His great grandfather was a Union officer who fell in love with the country side and moved to the area after the war. The rest, as they say, is history—or biology.