Sunday, October 29, 2006

Starbuck's Shuffle-WWC

When we go to Nashville we stay on Music Row and go to get coffee at the Starbuck’s on the Vanderbilt campus. Vanderbilt is a private university with a long history of capitalism. The Commodores were well heeled industrialists and probably a few planters thrown in just to make it southern. This particular Starbuck’s is filled with the upper class and everywhere you can see evidence of the Starbuck’s effort to change the world. While there last year I was inspired to write:

The Starbuck’s Shuffle

Gonna stop in at Starbuck’s, get a specialty blend
I’ll have it to go – I like it that way.
The place is crowded with beautiful people.
They’re styled and liberal – that’s what I say.
Wearing Abercrombie and Lauren,
Birkenstocks and Dock
Sippin latte – checking their stocks.

Double mocha café – decaf, extra froth
Write it on my cup.
Doing the Starbuck’s Shuffle, looking tight – feeling right.
Drinking cappuccino – checking the palm pilot
Tapping the keys on the laptop.
Takes several G’s to do the Starbuck’s Shuffle.
Doing it right – looking real tight.

It’s a green place with conservative conservationists
Napkins are smaller out of recycled paper
just below the third world campaign
Gonna save the world with my Arabica Bean
I’m going to Starbuck’s just to be seen.

It seems that now I am accused by gawilli of having a Starbuck’s jones. Dean White, the local billionaire entrepreneur in Northwest Indiana, has opened a Starbuck’s. It just so happens that this Starbuck’s is on my way to school. I stopped right after it opened and found this little booklet on Starbuck’s lingo. Now I stop for a “triple shot cappuccino in a personal cup”. It gets me through the day. It also consumes me to the point that I confuse lame and late with lame and latte.

Courtesy of Odd Mix, the words are Lame and Late.

Lame: It's lame to go to a fabric store with your wife on a Saturday even if it is to shop for
gold lame”.Late: Don't be late for work because you stopped for a latte.

The Starbuck’s Shuffle was influenced by Kate Campbell’s “New South”. She writes:

“Friday morning I was down at the Starbucks
Sippin’ on a latte with the fat left out
I had a bagel and a sudden revelation
I’m finally living in the new south.”
-Kate Campbell from the CD Monuments

Friday, October 27, 2006

Rolled Oysters at Mazzoni's

"A rolled oyster consists of three raw oysters rolled in pastinga (a batter-like mixture) and deep fried. As the outside seals and becomes golden brown, the oysters inside steam and burst. the liquour (juice) from the oysters gives the breading an oyster-like flavor."

The quote above is from the menu of Mazzoni's Cafe in Louisville, Kentucky. Mazzoni's is next door to Air Devil's Inn on Taylorsville Road and one of the places we ate on our recent vacation.

The menu tells the Mazzoni story: The Mazzoni brothers arrived in Louisville from Genoa, Italy in 1884. The home of the original rolled oyster was Phillip Mazzoni's cafe on Third and Market. The Mazzoni restaurant is now in its fifth generation and continues to serve the rolled oyster.

We love oysters. I first became familiar with them on the half shell sometime after college. I attempted to interest gawilli in the prospect of oysters on the half shell with no luck at all. Then we visited New Orleans where she tried the gulf coast variety at the French Market. She was hooked. We also like fried oysters. The fried oyster poor boy is our annual staple for Fat Tuesday, a family cuisine holiday around our house.

When we ventured into Mazzoni's Cafe on our recent vacation we did so with raw oysters on our mind. Mazzoni's did not have them on the half shell but, they did have delicious oyster cocktail consisting of several raw oysters in a glass served with cocktail sauce. Our order caught the attention of another Mazzoni's dinner who swore he would try that on his next visit.

For dinner we both tried the rolled oyster. What a treat! The breading was deep fried with oyster flavor just as the menu describes. The oysters in the middle while steamed were more like raw oysters than the steamed oysters in the shell that you can get at Hooters. A very enjoyable and interesting dish.

If you are ever in Louisville drive out to Taylorsville Road and give Mazzoni's a try. If you like oysters you will find the rolled oyster a very interesting and tasty treat.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Air Devils Inn - Louisville, Kentucky and WWC

We just returned from our annual Fall Recess trip to Louisville and a good time was had by all. Louisville, Kentucky became “the place to go” for gawilli and I after our first trip to Nashville in 1999. We were “newbies” to the Americana scene and planned a trip to the Bluebird Café for a songwriters in the round. The show we saw featured John Scott Sherrill, Alan Rhody and Tim Krekel. The only one of the three that we were remotely familiar with was John Scott Sherrill who had co-written a song with Jim Lauderdale that was on a CD we bought when we saw Lucinda Williams in Chicago.

“In the round” shows involve songwriters taking turns sharing a song. We noticed right off that Tim Krekel always played along with the other writers’ songs, providing some guitar work that even the songwriters commented on. He played one of his own songs that really stuck with us. It was a little ballad that ended with a girl going through her jeans and finding a winning Kentucky Lottery ticket, -“now they’re driving down 65 to Panama City Beach Florida in a brand new S10 pick up truck”- and began:

“Well they fell in love in the holding tank
The first Friday in May
It was their first offense so they got out in time
To whoop it up on Derby Day”
-Here Ever After by Tim Krekel

We bought one of Tim’s CDs and had him sign it. On the way home we put in the player and…. What a record! This new found artist could rock and wrote a great song. One of those great songs was “Cry on the Shoulder of the Road”, a hit for Martina McBride. We planned a trip to Louisville to see Tim Krekel and his band. The show was fantastic and we have been going back to Louisville to see Tim perform ever since.

When you see artists in small venues you often have an opportunity to meet and talk with them. We had that opportunity the first time we saw Tim and we found him to be a “regular guy” interested in why we would drive from Chicagoland just to hear him play. He always remembers us as “the people he sees once a year”. Since that time we have always felt that we knew someone in Louisville.

One of our favorite places to see Tim and the band play is Air Devils Inn. The place breathes rock and roll music when they play there (see WWC). The crowd dances wildly all night and gawilli and I stay out much later than usual. This weekend’s show was no exception. He even played “Fell Down in Memphis” twice.

“Fell down in Memphis
Tripped over my own tied shoes.
Face down on Beale Street
But, I’m alright now, I’m just a little bruised”
-Tim Krekel, Fell Down in Memphis

If you listen to Cross Country, Channel 12 on XM radio you may have heard Tim Krekel. They played many cuts from “Happy Town” which came out in 2002.

“Happy town
Nothin’ gets started til the sun goes down
Happy town
Sweat-stained smoke-filled lost and found
Happy town”
-Tim Krekel

If you ever get to Louisville, Kentucky be sure visit Tim’s site before you go. He usually has more than one show in a week. Quite often one of the shows will be acoustic, Tim Krekel and friends. We saw one of these at the Blue Grass Brewing Company on our trip. He played some tunes off “Word Keeps Turnin”. You can find this CD on iTunes and of course has the rest.

“The sun talks about blue sky, the clouds talk about rain,
Red bird sits on a telephone line singing his sweet refrain.
And the world keeps on turning. Yea the world keeps turning round.
Just doing what comes naturally, like gravity tethered to the ground.”
–Tim Krekel

Our trips to Louisville are like going home. Neither of us is from there, but we sure love the place. Listening to Tim Krekel and seeing the folks that follow him make it even more like home. When we said goodbye to Tim and his wife at the end of the show it was like telling a friend, “we’ll see you next time we’re in town”. It is an inspiring experience that you don’t forget easily.

Me and you and a Coup de ville.
Take a ride down to Louisville
Hear our friend Tim Krekel pick that guitar,
Ride around in our rag top car.
Goin’ to Louisville, Goin’ to Louisville
That’s the way I feel.
Goin’ to Louisville, Goin’ to Louisville
-J. Strait Willi

Courtesy of Odd Mix, the words are Delicate and Intense.

Delicate: The changing of the seasons is a delicate transition. This photo was taken at the Falls of the Ohio.
Intense: The dancing at Air Devils Inn in Louisville is intense.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Courtesy of Odd Mix, the words are Hello and Goodbye.

We have a new borders in our local mall that opened this week. Gawilli and I love Borders. A visit to Borders used to mean a drive two or three suburbs over but, now it's in our own backyard! We went today and walked away with three Solomon Burke CD's. I've been twisting and shouting like a soul man since we've been home!

Goodbye: The Bluechip Casino is definitely a place where some of us would say, "Goodbye to all our hard earned cash." Of course for gawilli and I Borders would be both Hello and Goodbye. You see, we don't gamble, but we got a CD jones that would leave the baby shoeless.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Immigration Quickly

One of our newspapers has a "What do you really think?" feature called Quickly. Readers telephone or e-mail comments anonymously. Today one quickly read:

"I own a company that does landscaping. When I can't find people to work, I hire illegal aliens. Listen I didn't let 'em in here. You can thank President Bush for all that. So if they want to work, I'm gonna let 'em work. If they wanna help build America, then let them help build America."

I found this comment very interesting and had several questions for the anonymous employer. First, as much as I do not care for Bush I would not hold him responsible for letting illegal aliens into the United States. The illegal immigration problem existed long before he was president.

Second, what type of wage does this business owner pay? The inability to find workers may be a direct result of the low wage the business pays. If that is the case the business owner is using illegal aliens to improve his bottom line and take jobs from legal Americans. I believe that is one of the reasons that hiring illegal aliens is against the law and subject to penalty.

Third, is this business owner admitting to willingly breaking the laws regarding the employment of illegals? He must pay them cash and therefore reports no taxes or social security. It would seem to me that the owner is taking money away from the government. This would be the government money that provides services and infrastructure to the rest of us citizens.

Kinky Friedman who is an independent candidate for governor in Texas plans to impose fines of $25,000 and $50,000 on companies that hire illegal immigrants. Bet that landscape business owner is glad he doesn't live in Texas if Kinky is elected.

Finally, I do not believe that this business owner is acting in the best interest of anyone but himself. Sure illegal aliens need to make some money in order to survive, but I do not believe that is this owner's real interest. Then again, maybe it is benevolent greed.


Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday's Feast Number One Hundred and Fourteen

Feed your mind with thought-provoking, mind-stimulating questions…
visit Friday's Feast: a buffet for your brain.

Name a song you know by heart.
"Keep on the sunnyside, Keep on the sunnyside, Keep on the sunnyside of life.
It will help you all the way it brighten everyday, If you keep on the sunnyside of life."
A Carter Family radio X opener and my favorite song from Will the Circle Be Unbroken, the breakthrough Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album of the seventies that launched a bluegrass revolution, at least for me.

What will you absolutely not do in front of another person?
Not much! Anything goes!

How often do you use mouthwash and what kind do you like?
I like any of the Listerene products anytime. No pain, no gain!

Main Course
Finish this sentence: I am embarrassed when...
When I get home from work and find that my fly is open. I mean, wonder if it was open all day!

What was the last food you craved?
Oysters on the half shell. Couple of dozen with cold beer.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Superior Maturity and Behavior

Today I went to the mailbox and found a progress report from my kids’ high school. My kids live with their mom rather than with gawilli and me. One is in college and the other two are in high school, freshman and junior.

My daughter’s progress report was a good one –A’s and B’s in subjects such as: English, Spanish, Algebra I, Biology, Foods and Health. The computerized report has a comment code or “personal development marks” as they are called.

X = Indicates Superior Maturity and Behavior
Y = Indicates Normal Maturity and Behavior
Z = Indicates Improvement is Needed

I understand the behavior part of this indication, but I always question when educators make judgments about maturity. I mean, I have an important job; I manage my money pretty well and take care of my house and home (terminology courtesy of Bob Dylan).

“What kind of house is this,” he said,
“Where I have come to roam?”
“It’s not a house,” said Judas Priest,
“It’s not a house….. it’s a home.”
-The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
from John Wesley Harding

I would consider it all of the above, except maybe the Dylan quote, to be a sign of maturity for a fifty year old male. But, if you factor in that I always crack a little smile and sneak a little laugh when I let a fart in the presence of gawilli, usually followed by some comment on its musical quality such as tone or sustain, that would definitely be immaturity.

So I figure maturity and immaturity is pretty much a judgment call. For that matter behavior is too, but it is a lot easier to understand.

My daughter had a Y which equals normal maturity and behavior in every class but one. In that class she had an X indicating superior maturity and behavior. Now if you read about Brisket Fest you know that around our house and home we love to cook and eat. When the kids come it is always a time for “breaking bread”. My daughter loves to join us in the kitchen and help with the preparation.

So in which class did she demonstrate superior maturity and behavior? That’s right, Foods. Of course I will have to remind her not to include any of her father’s nutritional wisdom in a short answer question. I don’t think her teacher would like reading “fat is where is at.”


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Weekend Word Challenge

Provide: "Coats for Kids" provides a winter coat to kids and families that need them.

Restore: At one time this cabinet was a piece of junk in the laundry room. It had been salvaged from another basement by gawilli's dad. I had this idea for a fiesta cabinet when we remodeled the kitchen with a fiestaware theme. Now it has been restored into one of her favorite pieces of furniture.