Sunday, July 31, 2011

Top of the Hops 2011

So...its been about 24 hours sense TotH 2011 ended and I think I am fully recovered.
Mary and I, arrived at the convention center at 11am and waited around for an Alcohol Beverage Control class to begin. On the plus side I am again legal to serve alcohol in Mississippi. But the class took to long and and the organization was poor. So when I was given my assignment as a "monitor" I took it to heart. I gathered volunteers for my booth and reorganized then as I saw fit to best use the people I had. I think for the most parts it went well. We poured 2 oz samples of dozens of beers for 5 hours, all the while sneaking a drink here and there. The day started out at 1pm with the VIPs and by 530pm the crowd (and more than a few of us) were pretty drunk. Sense I was walking in a circling monitoring (get it!) my booths I was still some what sober. And at 5pm the organizer, Jessica, told us to get our cases ready. That is to fill a empty case with what every beer we wanted and was already open. So for the last hour I snaked back and forth all over the floor, snagging beers to try for Mary and myself. I caught a bit of static taking it out to the car, but I got around those problems. So I have spent this afternoon, sipping on a selection of my $40 of premium beer. While I my not have had the typical TotHs experience, I am still working on test beer 24 hours later for free. WINNING!!!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bad Luck & Karma, Hard Work & Trouble

I don't know bout you, but sometimes I do stupid things. Like, have a bad day, get a lil bit drunk, and then post shit on the Internet. Yeah, not my brightest hour either. But sometimes out of these drunken' dumb ass moments comes a moment of true awesomeness!
So in one of those moments that convince me there is a God....

The above video is of one of my favorite "artist", Mr. Scott H Biram. If you want his life story, you can google it, but the man is awesome. In that whiskey soaked, southern fried way. I have been listen to him for about a decade, he gives me hope that a drunk fool like me can be more than I am.

Now after I moved back to Jackson, MS in Sept. of 2010. I some how came to the attention of a local guy who was/is a music promoter in Jackson (on a side note, and I still have not asked him, but I think he helped bring the R.O.A.R. tour to Jackson back in '97. Which might be the single best day of music in this cities history). I have been to a number of shows he has promoted. Show that range from singer song writer presentations at a local church to surf rock at the local Mexican Catina. He befriended me on Facebook.

Now with those two facts in mind. I had a bad day at work. To deal with it,I had a whiskey, a few beers, and played on Facebook and Youtube to pass the time. Sense the closing of the Thirsty Hippo in H'burg, I have really wished some one would pick up alot of the artist that they brought threw the area. My favorite being Scott H Biram. So I posted a video on Facebook and made a smart ass remark about how I wish a local promoter would pick up SHB for a show. Un/Fortunately, I put Ardens name in the post. I didn't know that Facebook had just started automatically, posting to the persons page you had typed in (Facepalm!).

I guess Arden liked the video because now he is promoting a show for SHB in Jackson. And not just in Jackson, but in strolling distance of my house. So I feel a good bit responsible for this show (and not just because I feel he is doing it for me {which I know is stupid} but because if this show succeeds, I might talk him into other shows, like Th' Legendary Shack Shakers).

So to help promote the show, at least among my circle, I am contemplating a pre-show party/ BBQ. Some some slow cooked pork ribs grilled with peach bbq sauce, some sweet baked beans, and fried okra. It would be BYOB, but to eat you had to walk to the show with me. It feels like a plan, an diabolical, evil plan......


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Song of the Day

Florence & the Machine's very cool cover of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away". It has a 2nd line/New Orleans feel, cause it was recorded in NOLA while they were on tour.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Song of the Day

I am sure you will hear alot of jokes about how maybe she should have gone to Rehab. But not here. I hope that God can ease her troubled soul and that she finds the peace in death that she did not find in life.
As Mary and I were driving today, she stated that she did not understand the people who use drunks. She understood, or so she says, the power it seems to have in freeing up inhibitions, but not the effect to consume a persons whole life
The only answer that I could come up with was that the drugs filled some kinda hole in their life. As I thought on it some more, I thought about how we fill our lives with stuff. Addiction is a very real problem, but it usually starts from some psychological need. Does the drive to succeed or the desperation of failure force us to find some way to fill the void. Some people fill those voids with alcohol, drugs, sex, work, religion, etc, etc...but all of those things are transitory and escapist because they are used for the wrong reasons.

I don't have any answers or conclusions, just some thoughts on the nature of our nature.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

So what you listening to....

Damn! I haven't done one of these in a long while.....

RAVE ON , BUDDY HOLLY – various artist
Let’s face it, tribute albums suck. They are anchored by one or two big names and ten to twelve bands you wish you had never heard of. Luckily the tribute album “Rave On Buddy Holly” is the exception to the rule. The album features a diverse line of performers putting their spins on classic Buddy Holly songs. There are classic rock legends like Paul McCartney and Lou Reed; punk rock icons like Patti Smith and John Doe; top 40 performers like Cee Lo Green and Kid Rock; Americana players like Justin Townes Earl and My Morning Jacket; and modern rock darlings like The Black Keys and Florence + The Machine. While they all put their spin on their songs, they all show the power and timelessness of Holly’s music.
Buddy Holly’s career was short but powerful. His death in a plane crash at 22 has passed into Rock n Roll legend. But the legacy of music he left in those few short years that he recorded has affected popular music sense that day. The Beatles Paul McCartney and John Lennon both credit Holly as a major influence. The punk rock movement used Holly as an example of the simple straight forward song writing that they wanted to move back to. Many a modern Americana and Country song can find their roots in Holly’s straight forward song style.
But as with any tribute album the individual artist put their own spin on the songs.
Paul McCartney puts a wild, almost rockabilly spin on “It’s So Easy”, while Kid Rock puts an almost Motown spin on “Well All Right”. Lou Reed drops a very punk rock version of “Peggy Sue” on the album, while Patti Smith produces a beautiful version of “Words of Love”. Justin Townes Earl and She & Him both produce very faithful but modern (maybe because they are very faithful) take on there respective songs.
Don’t get me wrong, there are clunkers on the album. But maybe that is Buddy Holly’s lesson to us. Too many “artist” nowadays have album with 2 or 3 singles and 10 songs to fill the space. Buddy Holly’s music treasured ever song for ever note on an album. Cause you never know when it might be your last one.


The mash up album is a bit of a cliché nowadays. The problem with clichés albums is that so few are done well. Too many are done with mixing top 40 hits together. While this might be fine for the crowd in the club, to be listened to outside of that environment, it takes a little more imagination.
And that is the beauty of this mash up. One group is a socio-political punk rock group from the late 1980s/early 1990s. The other is militant late 1990s New York Hip Hop. When you take two cult classic groups, that are deeply defended by their fans, and mix them together, you had better make it good. If you fail, one group of fans or the other will crucify you. Luckily, Cecil Otter and Swiss Andy mix the two with skill and respect.
As someone who has seen both Fugazi and Wu-Tang live, I can say that there is a balance between the two groups. While the lyrical content might lean to Wu-Tang, the backing tracks are clearly identifiable to Fugazi fans. Sense Fugazi has never lent itself to, well anything, its just nice to hear them brought back into the popular culture.

VARIOUS MIXTAPES from – Adam WarRock

The easiest way to describe Adam WarRock is to not describe him. But for those who have to have labels, Nerdcore might do. You don’t need to know comic books and Sci-Fi to like his music, but it will help.
He doesn’t use the geeky reference for the nothing. As any good Sci-Fi author he makes social commentary using the thinly valid reference of the Sci-Fi/ Fantasy genre. But he does it with the skill of any social conscience rapper that is producing today.
You can clearly hear the influence of Public Enemy and 2Pac in not just the lyrically style but the rhythm of his beats.
And given that most of his music is free, I hope that you will give him a chance to prove himself. Because, if you don’t, that says more about you than it does about this man’s skill


Songs of the Day

As you read the last post, you may or may not have gotten that I am a bit burned on Social Media Networks. So I think I will return to my blog where I KNOW nobody is reading it.
I have done things in the past to try and increase my activity. Some things worked, Some things didn't. One of the key things in my life is Music. So one way I thought I might be more active on my blog is to do a song of the day.
With today being my first shot, I thought I would throw out 2 songs

for 7/22/11

and then for yesterday 7/21/11


Me and Social Networking

You know as many social networks that I am on, I am really terrible at staying connected to people. I mean I got hundreds of "friends" on varies social networks, but actually knowing what is going on with people if hard. Epically because a large number of my friends live hundreds of miles away.But I get annoyed when people post stuff every 5 minutes about nothing. I don't need a hundred pictures of you and your BF/GF making out at the club, or of your kids, and I don't care if you all you do is wine about how hard your life is. This doesn't tell me anything about how you are doing, so why should I care.

I also think social networks might be the new addiction. As I said I have been a few different platforms of social networking. The first was Friendster. Yeah, I was on Friendster (Thanks Brian Floyd). I didn't think much of it. I don't think I even fill out my profile, etc. but of course this was back when the Internet was not part of our everyday life. It was for geeks and rich people.

Then of course I was on Myspace(Remember Myspace?). I now equated myspace to a gate way drug like marijuana. Everybody did it, at least once. And as it became more popular, it got bigger and flasher. You could add music & videos, which I liked, and flashy graphic, polls, etc, etc, which I hated. Myspace, much like all gateway drugs, was mainly used by the young and because young people like all the flashy stuff, Myspace marketed itself to those young people. Unfortunately for MySpace, this left many an old user/better educated user left out. So they moved on to the next thing to get their "fix".

The rise of Facebook is well documented. There are books and movies about it, so I won't go into that. But one part of its success I think can be linked to the rise of another device, the Smart Phone. The simplicity of Facebook format lent itself well to the date exchange rate of smart phone. You could look at your Facebook account without losing much of the quality of Facebook on a PC. This has lead to people being on their Facebook accounts all the time. They need to be on their accounts and to know what is going on at all times.

Nothing breeds rivalry like success.And now Google has come out with their social network, Google+. They have taken alot of Facebooks ideas and simplified them even more. It might be the "morphine" and that help ween people off the "heroin" that is Facebook.

I wonder, with the addition of Skype and video phones, if I will ever stay better connect to people. Or if people can truly stay in your life, when they are not part of it day to day? Basically, this is my apology to people for not staying in touch better. Alot of that has to do with my view of life. I view life like a path. Your/Our paths may cross, run parallel, merge, deverge to run in oppoiste directions, or just to cross again late. You can jump off your path and cut a new one, but you are still on your own path. So to all the people I knew, know or will know, I wish you well and hope our paths cross again soon.
The History and observations are just ramblings.

I still thank God I'm not on Twitter!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Restaurant Customer Etiquette

This is my dummy article (meaning it will probably never see print) for a restaurant reviewer job. I thought all my former restaurant people would enjoy it
One of the main reasons I got into the restaurant business so many years ago was because I like food. I like cooking. I like eating. I like going out to eat. I like sharing a meal with good friends and having a good time. You and your friends should have a fun and relaxing time when you go out to eat. Still having worked in restaurants for years I have come to notice some general mistakes that restaurant patrons make. If you go into a restaurant, just keep these hints in mind and it will make for a better all around experience for everyone.

The first mistakes most restaurant goers make is not tipping or tipping poorly. There are a lot of saying in the restaurant business, but for a server, the mother of all of these saying is, “if you can’t tip 15% to 20% on your ticket, you can’t afford to go out to eat.” It seems most people don’t know that the average server makes between $2.13 and $3.15 per hourly rate. They have to make the difference up in tips. Even after that, most restaurants require the servers to tip out the bar and bussing staff between .5% to 1% of the servers total sales for the night. Then of course they have to declare what they made for the tax man. Of course the quality of the serves should reflect the quality of the tip. But keep in mind that you are not the server’s only customer and that the server is not in control of everything that happens in the restaurant. And no matter how well intended, religious tracts and wooden coins are not a substitute for money.

The next most common mistake restaurant patrons make is to get mad. This doesn’t help you. EVER! It does not matter why you are mad, if you come in mad or something happens in the restaurant to make you mad. Losing your cool and yelling at the staff is not going to make it any better. If something does go wrong, the management and staff are going to do everything in their power to correct it. The best thing you can do is relax and calmly tell the staff what the problem is. Servers will usually go above and beyond for people who treat them with some respect, but will treat “problem” customers like they are carrying the plague. Take responsibility for your table, state if it is separate checks, what condiments you all will need, who all needs refills. Talk to your server. Communicate with them. Odds are they spend twenty to forty hours a week in that restaurant. They can tell you what to get, what not to get, what is good, and what is just okay.

Try something different! If all you want is a burger or chicken tenders, you can go to fast food places for that. If you are taking the time to go to a seat down restaurant, try something that the restaurant specializes in. But don’t get mad if you don’t like it and don’t ask for anything to replace it, if you have had more than a few bits. Again, talk to your server. They should know the menu backwards and forwards. They can make suggestion based on everything from how hungry you are to who is cooking in the kitchen.

Special order or “Going off the menu” is generally frowned upon in the restaurant business. When I was a line cook, we had a saying, “This isn’t burger king, you can’t have it your way.” Restaurant set up their menus in ever specific ways, for very specific reasons. Depending on the type of restaurant, foods are grouped together for bring out specific flavors, to highlight some specific ingredient, or to speed up production time,. Most restaurants will do a special order, especially if it is for dietary reason, but understand that it will take longer to do. Sense most restaurants wait till their whole order is ready to serve to take it to the table, the special order will be holding the whole party’s food up. If you are looking to “go off menu”, I highly recommend not going during peak time (Friday & Saturday night, Sunday lunch, and any holidays).

Customers rarely understand that the hostess is one of the most important people working in the restaurant. It isn’t her fault that there is an hours worth of people ahead of you. But she does control when you get sat, where you get sat, who your server is. This will determines the quality of your service at the table. If you are put on a long wait, you can always decide to try another place. But if you want to tough it out, send some one form you party to get some drinks from the bar, get a menu and start reading over it, and stay with in ear shot of the host/hostess. Get the drinks to help pass the time. Read the menu so that you will know what you want when you are sat, and stay close to the host stand, cause if you miss your seating, you go to the bottom of the list again.

If you bring children to the restaurant, control them. If you don’t let them scream, smash crackers and pour out all the salt, pepper and sugar at home, don’t let them do it at a restaurant. Children are always welcome at restaurants, its why there are kid menu’s. But just because you don’t have to clean up after them, doesn’t mean that some one else wants to do it.

And last, don’t hit on your server. No matter how hot or cute you think you are being, the server is being nice to you because it is their job. They probably have heard everything you have to say, hundreds of time, so don’t. Be respectful and don’t grab for them. This will get you kick out, usually be the very large and angry kitchen staff. But if you just have to give it a try, at the end of meal, put your name and number in with the bill (with a good tip, because it matters). You will either get a call or you won’t. If there is a “spark” between you and your server, let the server make the first move.

At the end of the day restaurant workers want, what everyone else wants, to pay their bills, to be treated with respect, and to have some fun. If you keep these few little hints in mind and experience of going out to eat will be better for everyone involved. Remember, relax, its just food.



Monday, July 04, 2011


You are not free. You do not have freedom.
What you have are liberties and responsibilities.
It is true that liberties are payed for in the blood and sweat of good men and women. Not just the soldiers that fight, but the builders that build, the doctors who heal, or the farmers that works the Earth.
You also have responsibilities. To guard these liberties by exercising those liberties. To use them against any and all who would limit, undermine, pervert, or take away those liberties. Be they social organizations, religious movement or government body. You have a responsibility to guard your liberties, not just for yourself but for ALL those here today or ALL those yet to come