Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Noah is a music lover like his dad, do I have been introducing him to some old songs. My Grandma (Ma) would sing "Cotton Fields" to me when I was a kid and I loved it. I no longer remembered the words so before teaching it to Noah I YouTubed it and opened a treasure chest of old folk music and was introduced to a unique personality.

Leadbelly whose given name was Huddie William Ledbetter was born on a plantation in Lousiana and moved to Texas at an early age. As he got older he was in and out of trouble and spent time in and out of prison for murder and attempted murder. He was typically paroled after serving the sentence minimums of seven years. He was once released after writing a song that appealed to the religious feelings of the state's governor, that coupled with his appeal to the guards and prison officials who enjoyed his entertainment behind the wire.

What I like about his music is that it has a clean, but unrefined sound that mixes his musical ability with things that he has witnessed. Sometimes the lyrics can sound a bit forced in order to catch up with the rhythm, but it adds to Leadbelly's folk appeal.

Some songs that you have heard like "House of the Rising Sun", "Midnight Special" "Cee Cee Rider" were originally performed or recorded by Leadbelly. Though he is not the best role model he was a truly gifted musician.

Here are a few links:



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The American Labor Force: What happened to it?

Do your duty in all things. you cannot do more, you should never wish to do less.
Robert E. Lee

If you haven't seen this commercial yet, it is a good one. I like it because it honors the heart of the American worker and the values that once made America the greatest industrialized nation in the world. I grew up in a family of blue collar working men and women. I am proud to say that my family worked long hot hours in the cotton mills of Richmond county, paved many of the states roads, driven diesel locomotives, landscaped yards and protected our nation in times of war and peace. Throughout my life I watched these men and women work long hours to provide the needs and in most cases the modest wants of the children. I never thought that I would see the day that these types of jobs would be scorned by society as being beneath the average persons idea of a good job.

It seems that most people want to impress others as well as themselves with job titles and over exaggerated job descriptions that paint a loftier picture than the actual requirements of the job itself. Last year before we went to get Laurel I was working for a guy that had lots of NCSU sports memorabilia scattered around his house. He was a single guy and you could tell that he had seen hard work in his time. When I naively asked him when he graduated from State he said "Well, I'm one of the losers in life that never went to college, I've just worked my whole life" I didn't know what to say, where did he get the idea that not going to college makes you a loser? Has labor become so stigmatized that a man who maintains the water system in a small town is no longer able to wake up and feel good about himself? What a shame.

Later in the conversation I was telling him about Martha and I adopting Laurel and he said "wait a minute, I put some money in a donation jar at the hardware store, is that you guys?" I said "yes" and thanked him for his generosity. He simply said "glad to do it", yet he thinks that he is a loser for not going to school. He's a hero in more ways than he knows.

To end this I will say to all of you that work at the thankless jobs that lack the options of policies that allow you to shirk your duty and pass the buck, be proud of what you do, YOU are the strength of America, and I am glad to count myself as one of you.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Something for all of you dance fans!

I found this video on youtube a few months ago. It is a group of Russian soldiers doing appropriately enough "The Dance of the Soldier". The music is Run DMC, but it matches up pretty good. These guys are really good especially the guy at 2:35 and the 2 guys after him.
We had a good laugh at the office by opening 2 Windows and playing other songs while the video was running with the sound off. Try it and let's see who can come up with the best/funniest song to go along with the video.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Discovered any good songs lately?

I was listening to some 80's music on youtube and rediscovered this song by Bruce Springsteen called "Atlantic City". It is different from alot of music on the radio in that it tells a story. This story is about a man who has fallen on hard times and with nothing to loose buys some bus tickets for him and his girl to go to Atlantic City. It doesn't say why he chose Atlantic City, maybe it was a place where they have lots of good memories and hope the fondness they have for it might bring some light to thier dismal situation. The song is kind of sad but it's well written because it makes you think of different possibilities for meanings in the lyrics, and Bruce's blue collar voice adds an element of believabilty to it. Other songs that tell a good story are "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" Gordon Lightfoot, "Southern Cross" CSN&Y , "Manhattan Project" by Rush (not Limbaugh) and "Faimily Portrait" by Pink.

What are some songs that you like that tell a good story?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

need I say more...

I was going to write some long post about the Healthcare Bill but you all know what it means to the country. I'll post more about it later until then enjoy!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not your grandfathers Army

The killing of of 13 and wounding of an additional 29 people by Major Nadal Halik Hasan was a disaster that could have been prevented had the Army paid attention to all of the warning signs that preceded this event. It has been reported that during a military briefing Hasan had written a power point presentation that had a slide that said, speaking of militant islamists,"we love death more than you love life". I guess he was part of the "we". He also stated that the war on terror was a war against Islam. Yes, against MILITANT islam, he further said that muslim soldiers should be released from duty as conscientious objectors if they choose to do so.
The end result of this is that peoples lives are ended and many others changed forever all because the Army marginalized the safety of it's soldiers in the name of political correctness.
I don't have a real issue with muslims serving in the Armed forces provided that they, like other soldiers put thier mission above themselves. Who they worship is thier business.
My problem with this whole thing is that I don't think that General Patton would have put up with the slightest sympathy or support for Nazism in his Army no more than MacArthur would have tolerated a soldier supporting the imperial Japanese . The Army should have discharged Hasan at the first hint of this activity. I have seen good soldiers careers ruined for a single act of indescretion that harmed no one. I served with some of the finest soldiers in the world and it was terrible to see boys discharged for being a overweight or injured (sometimes of no fault of their own) to a point where they could no longer do thier job.
So I guess the experts and Army brass will out on a show and try to make it look like they are doing something about this but nothing will change. I am just dissapointed that the same officers that would punish a soldier for missing a formation or a dirty weapon let this guy slide knowing that he was ideologically opposed to the mission of our Armed forces.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Tookie Monk"

Southerners always give thier kids pet names or nicknames that don't always have rhyme or reason, sometimes a name just fits and it follows them forever (If you have one of these names you know what I'm talking about). Noah's nickname started out as "hoot" because he made little owl noises when he was a baby, but somehow "hoot" just didn't quite suit him. A few weeks later the name "tookie monk" came out and now its the chosen term of endearment for Noah, and believe it or not he likes when dad calls him that. The "Monk" part is pronounced like "Maunk"

The hardest part about leaving is missing my little "tookie monk" and all of his little phrases and habits. Not to mention stepping on his trains in the middle of the night or sleeping on the last 5 inches of the bed when he crawls into sleep with us every once in a while. I can't wait to get back and take him on his first camping trip. Noah will be the best big brother for Laurel. I can't wai to see them running around and playing together.