Monday, January 31, 2011

Stranger's Sorrow

Stranger’s Sorrow

Today also is walking but,
No where to go. This wandering, these steps.
Every step I have walked are full of tears.

At the wharf I hear the steam whistle for boarding the boat home.
I long to go but cannot for I am a stranger; a wanderer; that s my path.

My wandering is without limit.

Traditional Korea

This incredibly is a song I found before I moved to the Netherlands. It says it all about being in another country then where one was born. The music arrangement I also made before my transition to Europe.

The ‘spiritual’ is pain raised beyond sheer sensation.

D.T. Suzuki

Music to follow when I figure out how to post music.

Fore Walk

Animals are our Friends

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Today's Thought

 The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Source: unknown but probably older than the hills and twice as smelly...  ho

A sweet Dutch girl

You know, cosmic comrades, I listen to a lot of radio genre kind of music stuff where I work.  I work in a combo plate kind of center for playing sports and sometimes praying and sometimes studying.   We do it all, including fok dogs.  Fok is the Dutch work for breeding.  Let your minds imagine.   Imagine is a good word, in my opinion especially seeings the what gits go when people don't imagine no mo, i.e., e.g. and so forthings.  Post 1980 is unimagination except for the beloved President Bill..  I like Bill.

I mean, even Ronnie was a kind of a sort of a hippie type.  Ronnie still imagined, even if it was in John's Wayne brain.  That is  also if you compare Ronnie with what we got happening today.  I mean Rush and his gang of gung ho Fox news talking heads.  Is Rush, Inc. really the best that America has to offer to the changing world?   Oh dear.  I shudder.   America from the right arm, so to speak.

I digress.  My new boss where we allow doggie fokkers to do their thing introduced me to this great singer from the Netherlands:  Triijntje Oosterhaus.    She got the rights from none other than Burt Bacharach Himself to sing the songs that Dionne used to sing.  One early morning, I work in the early which is not my bag, I am not a morning person, one morning he put his ipod on.   I was immediatly struck by the voice and the band and the incredible heartistic vibes.  Just almighty fantastic.  I said, "Boss? What is that beautiful music?"   Thus, I was introduced  to Trijntje.

In high school years ago, Burt and Dionne were my absolute favorites.   Years later I learned about the Doors and the Rolling Stones and the Chicago Blues and so forthings.  So my new boss of the fokker centrum (HF Witte Centrum)  that fokking Ronald, ho ho, just came in yesterday with Trijntje's newest:  Sunday in New York.  The query of the producers is why has she not gone international.  The producers reckon that is due the current state of  popular music.  Like what she sings is kind of dated.  Oh dear.  If that be true I am dated as well along with anybody that likes the three B's.  Fine.  The Big Three B's of European Music, of course.  I like also the other three B's:   Baseball, Blues and Beer, but ok.  This is a story about my pretty Dutch singer.

Now, imagine that cosmic comrades, even Bacharach is dated these days.   Times flies in the internet age, I reckon.   Here is her web site.  I hope it works as I am new to blogging.   She is very pretty, sings up a storm and is from Amsterdam.   When you hear her sing English or American English, another whole story, you will be surprised that she is Dutch.

OK, I hope this works:   http//   If not place the http in your webber, if you wanna do.

One man's opinion.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Driving Dr. Fore

Driving Dr. Fore, The Mississippi Delta

The Mississipi Delta, the Chicago Blues, the Chicago Blues recognised as the genesis of Clapton, the Stones and others has been my avocation for the last 20 years. My nephew said ok to my invite when I offered him a freebie to a visit to the Delta so we both headed to Atlanta, on the way to the deep South of the Blues. We had no idea there was a museum in Mississippi let alone any other acknowledgement to the Delta Blues or Muddy Waters. We especially did not have the idea of meeting Robert Johnson as well. Robert who sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads. We met Robert in a sense. What follows is the story as I told it but with a conclusion to make this more than just a vacation dialogue about driving from Georgia to Mississippi and back.

The blues is more than a simple chord progression which requires discipline to adhere to, it is more than its epically simple poetry, it is more than some ole guy moaning about his woman leaving him, it is about the blues altogether: music, poetry and story telling about life, good and bad. A way of telling about life.

For me it is also about catharsis, laughing, crying; dancing and sexings. It is about a group of people placed into a different culture and at some point being able to talk and sing about it. It is about a redefinition of the Self in the hands of people, men and women who inherited the tradition of telling a musical story, an oral tradition making a record of just people and their experience.

Griots. Griots in Senegambian societies sang praises to their leaders, memorized long epic tales of the those peoples and were both admired and despised. Admired for their praise and despised for their alleged consortation with evil spirits. Blues singers are a morphed kind of griot for me. Blues singers however are telling stories and singing praises about regular folk, not praises to the master. And they may be consorting with the devil, thus perhaps the legend of Robert Johnson and the Crossroads.

This then which follows is my blues story. Blues being a story about something, somebody and somewhere.


In the lowlands of Mississippi, that's where I was born
In the lowlands of Mississippi, that's where I was born
Way down in the sunny South, amongst the cotton and corn

Greetings Fellow Villagers,

Some kind New Year Happy. This your good buddy Dr. Fore. Where Dr. Fore been last days? Watching Oprah and making conditions for more some kind solidness between Land of Euro and Land of Dollar. Dr. Fore was on a mighty mission and made a major some kind journey. Dr. Fore going to tell you some kind story and this story is just amajing. Dr. Fore with Brown Hair Bride of Dr. Glenn making a secret mission: Operation Atlantis. We make mission to surprise Dr. Glenn on his 50th birthday. Oh my. So many secret high level discussions goings on between Brown Hair Bride and Dr. Fore. Almost six months of planning. This condition and conjointmentations with travel into the Land of Dollar and the conclusions result therefrom helping so much for the future of Land of Dollar based on the efforts of the Fore Position Foundations.

To make a long story some kind short, Dr. Fore flying and driving to Land of CNN, Atlantis, and popping up on Dr. Glenn's door the day after some Mass of Christ. Dr. Glenn totally unawares and Dr. Glenn's some kind of mouth wide open when Dr. Glenn answering the door at Dr. Glenn's house. Who ringing door bell? Humble and beloved Dr. Fore. Oh my. First words out of Dr. Glenn's mouth: What the fuck you doings here you ugly assed sombitch? Get the hell out of here. Oh, that Dr. Glenn a real funny guy. Ho Ho.

Dr. Fore and Brown Hair Bride make such a big surprise for Dr. Glenn that Dr. Glenn almost spoiled his underwears...bARk. First thing we doing after Dr. Glenn recovering from Dr. Fore at Dr. Glenn's front door is drink some holy water from the Land of Holes, by the name of Grolsch. Next, Brown Hair Bride bringing nephew of Dr. Fore, waiting at motel nearby's to meet and surprise Dr. Glenn, and there somekindafter we introduced Dr. Glenn to plan for entry into 2004: a trip to the Crossroads. Highway 61 and 49. The crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.

Dr. Glenn, without blink of some eyes saying, "Dr. Glenn some kind in."

Dr. Glenn, Nephew and Dr. Fore some kind went to the Crossroads, report to follow after these messages. We picked some cotton and saw some corn and did even some kind more.

Thank you for your cooperation.
Very truly yours,
Dr. Fore

Impression One

His name was McKinley Morganfield but everybody knew him as Muddy Waters. He lived on the Stovall plantation, three or four miles outside Clarksdale...As a matter of fact he played a lot like Robert Johnson. (Palmer, Deep Blues)

Next morning we jumped into Glenn's mini-van and headed down the road towards Clarksdale, Mississippi, Robert Johnson and McKinley Morganfield. I trust Glenn because I know him but also because he was an MFT Captain. We were on the way to Montgomery, Alabama. Somewheres into the state of Alabama we made a rest stop. Glenn pulled out the map, (I think for the first time) and realized that we had taken a kind of 200 mile detour. Being by nature a pretty forgiving guy, I told Glenn that it is was truly the way of the scenic providence. Glenn agreed and we went to the soda machine. My MFT instincts, while on hold, proved to be more proactive then Glenn's as I sited first a dollar bill hanging in one of the soda machines. I gave it to Glenn and said, "This is some kind sign." Glenn in his inherent humility agreed. So did Nephew, as Glenn and I nicknamed him.

We continued forward and some time later looked for a stop for some adult beverage for consumption at the point of destination for that day. While on patrol for liquor we ran across an old black evangelist, set up on the side of the road (lots of Jesus materials on poster boards) near the local Wal-Mart, doing the talk and walk with some fine gospel music backing him up. Southern Experience Number One and we hopefully got some of the action on the video cam. The package store, as they call them, was found, another southern experience and we headed out on the highway looking for some adventures.

Point of destination turned out to be Tupelo, which just happens to be the birthplace and early home of none other than Elvis Presley. We checked into a motel which turned out to be real edgy in terms of construction when viewed in the daylight. It was run by some Indian (east India not Native US India) people, a trend of which appears to part of the Deep South: raunchy motels and the scent of curry. Next stop was a Danny's Grill or something of that nature in regard to names. It was a block away from the restored house and newly built chapel in honor of Elvis. This diner had all kinds of pictures and other artifacts of Elvis. It was truly a Southern Experience, capital S; capital E, SE#2 and the source of some serious teasing of Forrest by Glenn and Nephew for the rest of the road trip. The scenic providence as mentioned above is the reason why we just happened on Tupelo, I reckon. Strange but true.

There are two stories to tell about Danny's. One is that Forrest asked where was the toilet. The southern peoples in charge of the diner were confused by this question. Toilet? You mean the rest room? I don't need to rest, I need to use the toilet. Oh, you mean the bathroom (bafrum in southern dialectics). No, I don't need to take a bath, I needs to pee. Oh, around the corner. bARk. You see in Europe the common term for having to do number one or number two is to say I need to use the toilet. If you might be in Holland or England you might be able to say, where is the WC (water closet) and that is commonly understood as a toilet. You see, we Euro-weenies are more specific in some of uses of language, eh?

The other story is about our waiter who we named Jethro. Jethro is probably sixteen or so, probably plays halfback for the football team and appeared to be dumber than lice feasting on a fresh cow pie. Either because of getting hit in the head too much from football and other things or perhaps due to something of a physical or cultural genetic thang. Again, Forrest being the chump, says to "Jethro", Who is Gene Simmons? I was a-saying this to Jethro because there was a picture of Gene on the wall. Jethro says back, he is that guy that plays with Kiss. Well, this did not compute as Gene looks like my brother and not like some wild-assed heavy metaler. To my good luck the waitress clarified the confusion and said that Gene lives nearby and comes into Danny's on a frequent basis. I am a-fixing to think that Gene be a country western singer/guitarist with some connections to Elvis, I reckon. There is more about Gene later in this story.

After hanging at Tupelo's Elvis land (Elvis never forgot his raisin's) it was onwards towards Clarksdale.

The story continues after this message from our sponsors, Waffle House. Waffle House, where you can get the best dang waffle all over the South, this side of the Mississippi (east thereof), along with learning 1,500,000 ways in which to make hash browns.

Impression Two

Delta BLUES Museum
Clarksdale, MS
Preserve, Protect, Perpetuate

We made our way further. We were in Mississippi and could loosen up a bit, which means taking the back roads instead of the main roads. Glenn introduced Forrest and Nephew to shotgun shacks of which there many to see as well as much of nothing: cotton and corn fields and crossroads. Many crossroads and farm fields accented by a few trees which looked like hanging trees. This area was cleared for farming and the one lone tree standing amidst a lot of farmland burned an image in my mind of the lynchings that went down around the turn of the century. Farms are what they call the plantations now and I reckon that is a correct definition as well as a politically correct term.

We were in Coahoma County, the center of which is Clarksdale. There is nothing to see in Coahoma County but cotton, corn and crossroads as well as levees. The Mississippi River has not always been nice and just as in Holland and other countries with water problems, the folk built restrictions in attempts to tame the water when it got angry. In the Delta they call these restrictions levees. The barren cotton and corn farming areas were a bit flooded as we drove through but nothing like is described here:

The backwater done 'round Sumner, drove me down the line
Backwater done rose at Sumner, drove poor Charley down the line
Lord, I tell the world, the water done jumped through this town.

Singing the water blues about somewheres in Coahoma County or nearby. The river: the source of economy and the source of fear and providing Mark Twain with vivid folk tales. I felt right at home after living in the Land of Holes for so many years. Well, this is where we picked a few buds of the cotton that were still on the plant. My back began to hurt just thinking about this sorry assed manner of making a living. Or if not a manner of making a living but of being made a slave thereto. When Cotton Was King (circa early 50's when technology took over) as one white man put it. Before the technology it was sweat, blood and tears and major back pain.

We made it to Clarksdale. Glenn and I had been joking about Ground Zero and Clarksdale. We pulled into town and what did we find? The Delta Blues Museum, a not too overtly liberal establishment built into the former train station and next door, the Ground Zero juke joint which we learned had been built about three years ago. Nephew was impressed saying to Glenn and Forrest: GROUND ZERO. Well, me and Glenn had no idea there was a bar on the corner called Ground Zero but it worked for us. Nice photo op. We then checked into another curry stinking some what raunchy motel in the center of a city that has some kind died. Not unlike many of the places we drove through on the way to Ground Zero and on the way back.

This commercial break is brought to you by Sonic: if you ain't got a Sonic you ain't on the map.

Impression 3

The blues had a baby and they called it rock and roll. (Muddy Waters)

In the Netherlands the word for breed is fok and for breeding, fokking. Sounds like that bad word in English. Glenn, Nephew and I were in for our SE#3. The night before was a Sunday night and everything was closed except for the local soft drink and beer store. It was quite busy. We walked around and then settled for ordering some pizza and watching a couple movies. Free HBO at the curry infested motel.

The next day we looked for some breakfast spot and only found this funky old storefront cafe run by an old first generation Italian American and his son. As we chatted it up some more elderly men entered and sat together drinking coffee. The owner was a serious talker so after we ate we invited him to sit with us and we put the video cam on. Lots of stories and local lore in the man. He invited the veterinarian who was turning 90 that week over to the table. We shook hands and I was feeling pretty comfortable with these gentlemen so I tried out my joke with which I had been boring Glenn and Nephew alongst the way. I explained I live in Holland and about the word fok. Here is the joke: "Hi, my name is Hans and I fok cows. Do you have any good cows around here for fokking?" Our two new friends laughed mighty hard and so I then asked the vet if he ever stuck his finger in a cow's butt. He said, "Son, we be talking my fist all the way up to my elbow." We left there fast friends and I knew these were my kind of people. The old guys Glenn called Romeos, an acronym for old kinds of white guys drinking coffe together, but I forgot what the letters stand for.

These were the last of the good war businessmen who ran Clarksdale through the boom years, when cotton was king. In my gut I felt a rumble at how these were also the guys that resisted integretion but those days are over now. The symbol of the dire straits of this town is its empty 7 story building where all the attorneys and doctors and other city leaders must have done their business. The Romeos said that one guy was left in the building but that he was retiring January 1, 2004. There you go.

We then moved the half of a block over to the Blues Museum. Appropriately done, from my study of Delta blues, with lots of fine pictures and book store with the reads in stomping the blues. Included was a nice tribute to the symbiosis of white and blacks centered on the electric guitar and basic blues musical structures. White guys like Eric Clapton, Keith Richards paying tribute as well as Muddy Waters paying tribute saying these are the guys that brought our music to the world. Muddy Waters is a legend as is Robert Johnson but we know the details of Muddy Waters. The fierceness of the Delta moved Muddy Waters and others to Chicago looking for money. In Chicago they discovered the electric guitar. This has a huge meaning in the blues world and the breeding of white blues, rock and roll. Nephew got chills from the museum and I think Glenn was thinking a lot about Elvis and the Zeitgeist going down with that time. In other words, there was some white guy that was going to turn this stuff around and it happened to be Elvis. I agree to a degree but Elvis was a natural as was Little Richard. Elvis however was the white guy who could make the crossover from black to white work considering the social conditions of the 1950’s. The spark for some grand musical explosion fueled by life in the Delta. The same would occur again with the time bomb of the Chicago migrations being released by some British lads, thus, the Delta link for the early 60’s goings on.

The Ground Zero was closed but we had gotten in the day before and talked with Abraham, the owner or the helper or both. It was looking like a hot place to dance and have refreshments and washing away the pain of the day or just having one hell of a good time with friends. We got in the car and started driving. I wanted to see the Stovall Plantation where Muddy grew up and Glenn wanted to go to Friar's Point the old man's favorite small town. He had been a traveling salesman and I said, oh I have heard of you. bARk. Driving through the Stovall farm, which is huge, we hit an intersection with a grocery store. We bought some Dr. Pepper and asked directions Friar's Point. This old man was cordial but he warned us about Friar's Point as it being some kind mean. His great-nephew's picture was above the cash register and he was in Army clothes. He is in Iraq, we paid our respects and headed on to Friar's Point.

Impression 4

H-Town Car Wash & Detail Shop
803 Desoto Avenue
Clarksdale, MS 38614
Marvin Holmes - Owner/Operator
Highway 61 & 49

We pulled into Friar's Point. There is one other item of note in this region. All the towns, no matter how small, appear to have a water tank on a tower with the town's name fixed thereto. Friar's Point. Some kind mean; some kind small; some kind poor. We found an entrance onto a levee so pulled the car over and got out. The only mean thing we found was the swampy forest on the other side of the levee. Nephew, a city boy, never had seen a cattle guard before which was situated at the bottom of the dirt road onto the levee, and we educated him rightly, promptly and forthwith in regard to cattle guards.

There is a war museum, post office and a couple stores that we found to be Friar's Point. The war museum is in a two bedroom house but has a real nice WWI (not II) tank on the front lawn. It was closed as were the two stores, but there were three stores and the third was open. This store was what one can only describe as a mom and pop 5 & Dime. Or something. I chatted up the owner and he was not mean at all. He liked to talk and after a few questions remembered the old-timer who owned the breakfast shop. Oh yeah. That guy used to be the baseball umpire around here and loves to talk. I said, that be the one. I told this older white guy the story about Gene Simmons. He didn't get the part about Kiss but said, well there is a Gene Simmons that played in the Major League. Ok, that is number 3 Gene Simmons. Will the real Gene Simmons please stand up? Ho. SE#4

Well, this old white guy was right friendly and liked to talk and he mentioned that Friar's Point is the birthplace of Conway Twitty. Another birthplace to chalk up for our road trip. We then went on to the mission at hand: The Crossroads. We found out at the museum that Robert Johnson sold his soul at the crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. Allow me to digress a sentence or two. When we left Glenn's house he was bothered about the air pressure in the tires and was pissed that he couldn't find the air gauge he had put in his pocket or somewhere, and we made two stops before leaving, to fix the tires. Glenn was never happy with the tire situation until we hit the intersection of Highway 61 and Highway 49. The Crossroads.

We pulled into H-Town Car Wash & Detail Shop, 803 Desoto Avenue,Clarksdale, MS, which just happens to be on the corner of 61 and 49. We stopped and I was looking for a photo op but Glenn was in a deep obsession to fix them dang tires. Sitting above the road signs at 61 and 49 is a statue kind of art thing with four, fore, FORE, blue guitars. Nephew and I did our best to get some good video. When we were finished we went back to the car. Marvin, the proprietor, was busy rotating the tires on Glenn's mini-van. I said to Marvin, please get it right as this guy has been plenty concerned about those tires. Thank you Glenn and Marvin for your hard work.

It was cold so we sat down inside Marvin's office and watched football highlights on ESPN. This location is a few blocks away from the dead city of Clarksdale and this is where we found the Waffle House, Sonic and I think even a Wal-Mart as well as a package store. The new Clarksdale. Marvin finished with the tires ($20 for rotation and proper pressure) and we had a chat. Marvin is a black guy about me and Glenn's age. After getting past the future of the Cowboy's in this years playoff's, (Marvin was wearing Dallas Cowboy hat and jacket), Marvin started asking me questions as Glenn had mentioned I was from Holland. We exchanged information about our work and benefit packages. A topic a bit different than animal breedings and animal anal orifice searchings.

It turns out that Marvin is also a games dealer at one of the three casinos up the road a piece. Marvin said this is where the good digs were for eatings, drinkings and sleepings. This appears to be where money is coming from as this intersection is inbetween parts of Mississippi and Memphis. Marvin now represents the new south to me. A man whose grandfather was probably what one would call a slave. Marvin with a work ethic doing the casino at night; Marvin the owner of his own business doing the car thing in the day; Marvin helping the community and his brethren by hiring them for his car washing and detailing; Marvin catching a few ZZZ's before starting it all over again. Marvin who just wants a happy life and something he can call his own. Way to go Marvin.

More about my understandings of crossroads and intersections after these messages. H-Town Car Wash and Detail Shop. You want to look good and also drive as smooth as you look? Talk to Marvin. He sits at the base of the epicenter of the bluesmen, the intersection of 61 and 49, the Crossroads. While getting your car detailed walk across to the street to Abe's, Abe who sold his soul to Jesus also at the Crossroads, the place with the best dang barbecue this side of Kanjas City and Abe has been there since 1923.

Impression 5

I'm goin'down to Louisiana baby behind the sun
I'm goin'down to Louisiana honey behind the sun
Well y'know I just found out my trouble's just begun

Glenn was mighty happy after solving the tire problem and we left Marvin in order to test Abe's claim to the great BBQ. It was good. Happy campers, we loaded up and headed on down the road going south. Glenn wanted to cross the Mississippi and I agreed. You know, we were close by and it seemed a fitting way to find closure for our quest. We headed down Highway 61 and somewheres in between turned right at an intersection and drove through the middle of no where. There were corn silos so I reckon they are still doing business in corn. Nice modern style stainless steel kind of silos.

We stopped for ice at another intersection and in the back of the store was a nice little cafe. This is the kind of place you read about in off the main road kinds of excellent places to visit kinds of magazine articles. I don't know if it was excellent but the owner was nice and liked to talk. They have have music on the weekends: Leo's Market, Rosedale, MS. I think there is a message here. All the folks we met up with liked to talk. Must be a Southern thang. Or I might just be one hell of a guy. bARk

We headed south again towards Greenville. I was absorbed in this selling your soul to the devil crossroads morphological legend. At the museum we bought the map that appears in quite a few places around Clarksdale. It details a lot of the Mississipi blues guys and the county in which they were born or were grown. 70 Craijy Willies or Blind Lemons or Muddy's in 15 counties. It must have been a wild time in the 20's through 40's. Lots of cotton pickers to entertain and lots of legends to create. I was thinking of the many ways in which one can define a crossroad and also that these blues guys were/are prone, most likely, to be a bit of some kind big bullroarers. Robert Johnson didn't get well known until the 30's even in terms of the local guys. Muddy Waters "thinks" he heard him in person at Friar's Point. The Lomax Folk recordings recorded Johnson in the 30's. Abe of Abe's BBQ sold his soul at the crossroads to the Lord in 1923. Johnson must have sold his soul to the devil around the same time, but before Abe put up his BBQ Joint on that spot. Marvin has a lot of visitors due to this legend and his theory is that Johnson's epiphany occurred up the street a block or so. The current intersection of 61 and 49 was probably drawn up by civil engineers some time later. I figure a lot these guys either had an experience where they decided to play the blues, contrary to what was considered correct by whatever church authority was going down (blues is the devil's music) at that time or perpetuated this kind of legend to give the blues they were doing more mystic. 61 and 49 is a good pick but anywhere in the county that I saw are intersections more lean and mean and lonely; somewhere in which to face the devil. Or facing your own devils, another crossroads. And so forthings.

That was my focus when we hit Greenville and all the requisite fast food joints, and this shotgun shack collection included a McDonald's and Burger King so we hit some real kind pay dirt. We found the local curry sleep establishment and settled in. Glenn wanted to find some music, another fine idea of Glenn's but the best we came up with was a pool hall. That was good and Nephew kicked his uncle's butt a few times. Back at the motel the water was a bit muddy, an appropriate condition created we reckoned due to the close proximity of the Mississippi. We showered and brushed our teeth in muddy water and hit the hay.

Crossing the Mississippi into Arkansas was notable only for the fact that people had driven across the wet paint of the middle line of the road when they should not have. The landscape looked the same there as it did on the other side. Flat and poor. Down the road a piece in Arkansas we looked for breakfast. It was lunch time but we had slept late. We arrived at some place that was real small. It did have a Sonic and a soda and beer store but no restaurant. No Waffle House; No Huddle House; No Kroger; no nothing. The Indian proprietor at the drink place pointed us up the highway a bit to a spot we had passed on the way down. Nephew had the lunch special: hamburger steak with all the fixings. I had a catfish sandwich. Deep fried catfish is quite light and nice. The cafe sells clothes and rifles as well as food. Most of the people having a bite to eat there looked a bit like Bill Clinton and I figured they must be at least second or third cousins. ... ho... Nephew's lunch didn't go down well as both Glenn and I expected. Nephew doesn't eat much animal products. He slept a long time after attempting to vomit by the side of the road. bARk

We proceeded into Louisiana and it looked a little less poor than where we had been. Still poor but a bit more of means as Nephew calls it. People of means. Thank you Nephew for that phrase. Of note in Louisiana was that I sighted two prisons within about 10 miles. Guys were doing sports behind the razor fences and the grounds looked pretty new. I wondered if this was a new industry for that part of the country. My observation of the clients therein and also of the lay of the land and people in this three state corner of America was that the police, prisons and lawyers are probably doing the best business other than fast food establishments and curry rest stops.

We arrived back at Glenn's house around 8 PM. Glenn did a great job driving. Nephew left the next morning and Glenn, his kids and I stopped at the Martin Luther King Center on the way home from the airport. It was New Year's Eve and they closed early so we didn't have too much time. The MLK Center is more politically active than the Delta Blues Museum, which I agree with. The sting of segregation (to put it lightly), as MLK Center stated it, needs to be remembered. Pictures of lynchings, a tribute to Gandhi, a tribute to Rosa Parks, a visit to MLK's house and his church all leave an impression. The civil rights movement has an appropriate place and person to be recognized through Martin Luther King by the federal government: it is a national park.

Having said that the Delta Blues Museum is refreshingly not overtly political. The most authentic and really cool blues deal for me on the corner of John Lee Hooker Avenue and One Blues Alley (the museum) was the Ground Zero Juke Joint. It was built in the old produce warehouse three years ago and upstairs the owners have built about five apartments. As things go, we arrived there on a Sunday afternoon. Abraham, the owner, co-owner, bar-tender or cleaner who opened his door in order for us to check things out and take a few pictures, (I never found out which one or all that he was) said, "Man, you guys should have been here last night. The place was really hopping." Ain't that always the story. You should have been here yesterday.


"The deepest blues asks its listeners to confront their joys, their sorrows, their lusts and above all, their mortality. If the music has a single Great Subject, it's impermanence." (Robert Palmer)

We had made our move, driving west from Atlanta, destination Clarksdale, the county seat of Coahoma County in the state of Mississippi with Glenn’s smooth driving Japanese mini-van. Clarksdale, a kind of officially recognized center of the Delta blues as a result of the legend of Robert Johnson and as a result of the shotgun shack of Mr. McKinley Morganfield, better known as Muddy Waters, which was situated on the farm of the Stovall family. The first Mr. Stovall of the Stovall farm concerns had been a high ranking officer in the Confederate Army of the great American Civil War. Muddy was born near Greenville but grew up on the Stovall farm which rests a little outside of Clarksdale. Muddy had as well a happening juke joint on that Stovall farm at some point between WWI and WWII. Muddy also traveled around this part of the south with other musicians looking to entertain and survive and this is where Muddy departed for Chicago. Clarksdale, a hub for this area perhaps, a revolving door for many using the train or the bus to ride north for a better life. Some ghosts may be hanging around, even Mr. Johnson’s, I don’t know but if I could see ghosts this would be one place to look and if those ghosts could talk there are most certain plenty of stories to tell.

Last I heard, his body had been buried down by the highway side, and his ol' evil spirit had caught a greyhound bus to ride. (the bus being easily recognizable by the hellhound on its trail, amidst a huge cloud of blues falling down like hail)

When we pulled into Clarksdale it was getting dark and had been overcast the whole day. We may have seen the Greyhound station, I don't recall, because I was thinking deep about that after 20 years, here I was. Here Glenn and Nephew were as well, after having made our move, driving west from Atlanta to taste for ourselves something of the Delta.

"Growing up in that environment made me feel that whatever I play relates to a gigantic field of feeling," he says. "To me, the blues is a literary and musical form and also a black philosophy. When I get ready to study the mystical aspect of black people, I go to the blues; then I feel that I'm in touch with the root of black people." Leo Smith, composer and trumpet player raised in the Delta.

I have a deeper sense of feeling as if a hellhound was running after me in a deep storm of funk after driving through miles of barren cotton fields. There are plenty of crossroads with a lone tree standing there to provide shade or from which to hang a man. There are many crossroads in Coahoma County and Mississippi and Arkansas and Louisiana, lonely late at night and especially in the winter with the potential to frighten the bejeezus out of someone. After the wheel adjustments at the junction of 61 and 49 the official place of that gosh darn Robert Johnson epiphany, talking to Marvin and eating the pretty good barbecue at Abe's, Abe who sold his soul to Jesus at the same place Robert Johnson met the devil, I have come to the conclusion it is a motif, a riff, that is perhaps common in this area.

Robert Johnson was such a bad-assed guitar player people had to explain it. Or sell it: “Hey, I am so bad, I sold my soul to the devil at the crossroads”; Or, “Man, you hear that guy up at Friar's Point?" "He must of sold his soul to the devil, he so bad." Or, "I am at the crossroads oh Lord, please take my hand". Something to sing about as well: the crossroads, which ever way you swinging, up or down.

Glenn was at the crossroads moving in to being 50 plus. Nephew is at a crossroad with what do with his life. I was at the crossroads to check out how the Chicago blues got their blue. We all got lost at a crossroad and Glenn had to look at the map.

"How much thought can be hidden in a few short lines of poetry? How much history can be transmitted by pressure on a guitar string? The thought of generations, the history of every human being who's ever felt the blues come down like showers of rain." Robert Palmer

The Mississippi Delta. South of Memphis, east of the Mississippi river and with miles and miles of cotton fields, barren in the winter, pink a bit in the spring, white in the summer and cotton picking in the autumn, I reckon (I am no farmer). Is there an answer to the question why the Delta blues meeting electricity in Chicago gave birth to rock and roll? I don't know but I guess there was enough funk in the life of this place over the last three hundred years or so to add a little blue in the blues. I can't shake the Delta now that I have been there. It has gotten under my skin. Shoot, here I am still talking about it.

This is my story and I'm a fixing to sticking to it I reckon. Gene Simmons of Tupelo turns out to be an associate in some kind of way with Elvis in terms of the fact that Elvis helped Gene get a recording date in the mid-50’s. So, Gene appears to be a local boy who got some 15 minutes of fame and yet, still eats the barbeque at whatever was the name of that shop? Danny’s?

Fore-gettably memorable.

Reference: Deep Blues, Robert Palmer, Penguin Books
(A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta)

Heinz 57

Time to regroup and pump up on some carbo's for the Steelers and the Packers. I wonder if both teams will being using Heinz Ketchup for their triple cheeseburgers and mounds of fries... Of course mayo is good on fries (*major*carbs) if you have been in Holland and Heinz also sells Frite Sauce here (fritesfor liberty fries). I mean other than the Carnegie Center and the Steelers, the only other thing of note in Pittsburgh is Heinz 57. Right?

So the two best teams go to Texas. I was disappointed personally by the Bears performance and well, the Jets: to love them is to hate them.

I did a quick journey of the major cities' news outlets this morning.

I liked the NY Post coverage because it featured in the next column a shot ofScarlette J. with 3/4's of her left breast showing. Is the post a Rupert Rag?The NY Daily News had the best headline about the Jets: Pounded and Grounded.

NY Times was just the news and in this case the facts. The Chigaco Sun Times had the most warmly written stories even in regard to angry fans calling Cutler a weenie. The Pittsburgh Tribune or something, didn't leave any impression for me, including the name of the paper. We won; they lost... Ok they did say if the Steelers win they will be as much as a dynasty as the SF 49's.

The LA Times, like the NY Times just reviewed the games but in much more detail and focus and good writing but of course the LA times is my favorite American Newspaper. The LA Times also got the best headline, "Nothing Cheesie About Packers' Win." imho of course.

All in all a frail showing by the last four, but especially the Bears. I mean really, with home field advantage and all, what happened? I was looking for a "Fat Ain't Bad" banner in regard to the Packers but didn't find one. Helaas (oh well), maybe somewhere in Europe a newspaper person is laughing about the fat cats of Green Bay.

One man's opinion.