Thursday, April 30, 2009

michael, you should've been there

I got a little time to steal away with Katie tonight. I had to run over to the East Gadsden Wal*Mart to pick up some medicine. I also dropped by Firehouse to feed our hungry bellies. Gina was with Kelsey at a school function - so it was Katie and myself. I figured that since we were on that side of town we'd drop by and listen to Todd lead worship at Grace. Brook on lead, Liz on organ, Jimmy on drums, and Lenola on bass. It was so sweet - a wonderful sound and worship dynamic. Todd did a fantastic job Michael, I thought of you tonight, wishing you could have heard it. At one point I imagined you up there playing lead with Brook and singing harmonies with Todd. Maybe next time around. Again, you should have been there.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

seven guns

There's a lot of remakes being made today and most of them can't measure up to their original. Not so with The Magnificent Seven (1967), it was a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954). Magnificent Seven had some sequels and a television show based on the original movie, but didn't measure up to the first. I would love to do a remake though.

I don't think I would set my sites on trying to tell the same story again - I would rework the original storyline. I recently watched Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969). The movie was about old desperadoes that went into a fire fight completely outnumbered knowing full well that they were not going to walk out of it. I read where Peckinpah's slow motion action sequences concept was largely influenced by Kurosawa's Seven Samauri. So there is already a little link between the two movies.

I think if I were to make the film, the seven would be old gunmen like those depicted in The Wild Bunch. These guys are pretty much living in border towns because they've been in so much trouble with the law that the border hasn't just become a hideout, but more like home. They have pretty much banished themselves from any hope of real home because of their misdeeds. I think the retelling should be of men who had prefer going out in a blaze of gun fire rather than just fading away.

Robert Duval comes to mind as the main character Chris (Yul Brynner role) and Tommy Lee Jones as Vin (the Steve McQueen role). It would be a Lonesome Dove reunion of sorts. These guys have ridden together for years and it would be fun to write dialogue for them (think Cheyenne Social Club - Jimmy Stewart & Henry Fonda). Bruce Dern and Donald Southerland would be two more old desperadoes.

Three of the seven will be lawmen of sorts. Men who were initially sent to hunt down Chris & Vin. James Garner comes to mind as a lawman, Deke Bishop, sent to find Chris and Vin. Like Robert Ryan's character in The Wild Bunch - Garner's character once road with Chris and Vin in his younger days. He's got some young guns riding with him as a posse' who opt to stay for the final confrontation.

The village that is defended in this movie isn't being terrorized by bandits but rather by the Mexican army led by a corrupt general. Yes, this treatment leans more toward Peckinpah's Wild Bunch over Sturges' The Magnificent Seven. Basically the outlaws and the pursuing lawmen find themselves in a village that are desperately in need of help. It's Chris that is approached by the villagers. Deke for reasons of his own decides to offer his talents to help the outlaws. "Hell, Chris - I can't let you be the good guys."

First conversation after Deke and his men catch up with the outlaws:

Deke: "Why are you doing this Chris? This isn't like you. There's no fortune in this for you."

Chris looks off into the distance as if peering at a distant memory.

Chris: "Did you know my papa was a missionary? My childhood was spent livin' in a village just like this. I grew up resenting his love for these corn farmers. I hated him for it. I left one day and never went back - never saw him agin."
Deke: "The Chris I knew never talked about atonement."

Chris: "Maybe I'm just tired of running...or maybe you're right. Maybe atonement is what this old sinner needs. I've lived bad - lived the only way I knew to live after I got handy with a gun. I've lived bad but never been that kind of bad that's caused all those graves in the field. This town is dying because there are too many graves over there. Either way, I ain't leaving."

Deke: "I've come all the way down here for you. I can't leave here without you."

Chris never changed his expression - he just spoke quietly and matter of fact.

Chris: "Deke, I know what you don't want me to know - the reason you brought all those young guns down here with you. You never were as fast as me and now that you're old - you're even slower. Draw down on me and I'll kill you right where you stand. I'll kill you first and put the rest of my bullets inside as many of your boys as I can. You ain't got me cornered. You're the mouse that thinks you've cornered the cat."
Deke: "You're not running?"

Chris: "I ain't running...and I ain't giving up my guns neither."

Deke: "You don't give me any choice Chris."

Chris: "You got a choice. If you want to take me back, come back in week or two and find me among the dead. You or the buzzards - no difference to me. You can die right now or come back after the whole dang Mexican army gets finished with us."

Deke: "What if you live?"

Chris: "Then we can pick up where we left off - right here - only without all the talking."

Deke: "What about you Vin? What are you going to do?"

Vin smiles and says, "I'm with stupid."

Quentin Tarantino comes to mind as the director. I think he'd do a great Mexican standoff. Then again, Robert Rodriguez knows how to shoot up a Mexican village like no one else. I'll leave that up to your imagination. The soundtrack stays the same. The soundtrack doesn't change one iota.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

my love hate relationship

I've got this love hate relationship with Kevin Costner. Michael Bynum mentioned the western Open Range at his blog today. Open Range is a great movie and Kevin is most excellent in that movie. The first time I saw Kevin was in (other than playing the dead body in The Big Chill) was in the 80's suspense thriller No Way Out. I really enjoyed his roll as Eliot Ness in The Untouchables. For a while there I thought there was nothing that actor could do wrong. Once Kevin hit super-stardom, he started dropping some bombs. His biggest bomb was Waterworld. It was so obvious that Kevin Costner didn't want to be Kevin Costner - he wanted to be Mel Gibson in Road Warrior. I remember when he came out with Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. It was a star studded yawnathon. About the same time, if not the same time, a movie starring Patrick Bergin came out of England called Robin Hood. It was so much better than Kevin Costner's version. Kevin also came out with an attempted epic movie called Wyatt Earp, but here again was another long winded yawnathon. About the same time Kurt Russell starred as Wyatt Earp in Tombstone and blew the saloon doors off of Kevin's version. Kevin seems so full of himself at times. He seems to try to make big epic movies with him bravely at the helm with his hair extensions blowing in the wind. Frankly, Kevin sucks at epic. Take a movie like Field of Dreams or Open Range. These two movies are incredible and yet they are not epic in size - just story telling at it's best. The only movies Kevin ever tried to produce and epic and succeeded (in my eyes) was Dances With Wolves and The Postman. Dances With Wolves is a good movie but it's not a movie that I care to sit through again. I've actually watched The Postman several times. I'll probably one day watch it again. I don't know why that movie didn't go over as well as it did. It's a very unique story executed well. Maybe movie goers started getting tired of EPIC KEVIN. On the most part, I hope he stays away from trying to make himself an epic movie figure. He just doesn't have the chin for it. Kevin Costner is a good actor, but not of the consummate ilk. I just wish he'd just stick to what he's good at. I am sure that you all have your own list of like and dislike rolls that Kevin has played.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


i watch these tcm remembers every year
of people that passed
and always think of life
my life
and those around me
we have only this time
this brief moment
to be that light
to burn our candles
and let it shine
like that song we were taught when we were young

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Please excuse the lack of posting to my blog. I've been spending a good bit of my time studying for an upcoming on-line final exam. It's a pretty big test and I'm chiseling away at the textbook.

It's been great being able to get out of the house this past week. I still have my orders as to not lift anything. I can at least help Gina with errands around town. I still am experiencing sporadic pain and discomfort - but nothing that a little pill every now and then won't numb. I am almost off the meds. It won't be long.

I do feel a terrible drain by the end of the day. I am sure that I'll get my energy back. My family has been very good to me.

Gina wants me back at the office. I should be able to help her more once this exam is over with. I've got everything else out of the way - just one more hurtle to clear before this semester is over with. As most of you know, I backed off of the massage program at Gadsden State to tend to my health. I took a few online courses during my down time. I look forward to getting back to class and getting it over with. I feel as if my life as been on hold. It will be good to get rolling again.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CNN - balanced reporting?

Here's a perfect example of the kind of "fair and balanced" reporting we get from CNN. No, I don't think CNN would care for you to see the entire clip from this Chicago Tea Party.

Monday, April 20, 2009


I don't know what "Playing For Change" is all about - but this video is pretty awesome. This one is for you Michael.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

drive-in mafia time

When I go to the drive-in I don't sit in the car. I like to have a tailgate party. I have lots of drive-in memories because I've been going since I was a kid. We had drive-ins in Etowah County when I was young, and there's been a resurgence of them within the past ten years. I remember when Gina and I first got married, we would drive down to Franklin, KY to the Franklin Drive-in. I remember Gina and I were sitting in our BMW 318i, listening to the movie on our speakers, when I noticed there were people sitting on the front row in lawn chairs in front of a jam box. There was another couple having a picnic with their family. Gina and I decided that we were going to do the drive-in thing right from then on. We went to Walmart and bought some folding chairs and Gina bought me a Sony jam-box for my birthday.

From then on - I don't care to sit in a car to watch a movie. I like to be under the stars for the full effect. If the movie is lame, I always have a family member or friend to strike up a conversation or simply lean back and watch the heavens.

We are fortunate these days to have so many drive-ins in our immediate area. I want to check out the one in the Anniston area that opened a year ago. My favorite drive-in theater is the 411 Drive-in in Centre, AL. The drive-in I go to the most is up on Sand Mountain. Gina and I went there last night. It was a beautiful day yesterday. I've been really wanting to go out these past four weeks but weather or health did not permit. The surgery kept me indoors for two weeks. Now I am mobile and Gina and I went on a date night. I wasn't terribly thrilled about the selection but decided to go anyway.

The best double feature that I could tell was up on Sand Mountain Drive-in, which was A Haunting In Connecticut, and Duplicity. Haunting to my relief wasn't a slasher movie and wasn't a bad flick. It reminded me of an Alfred Hitchcock movie only with gory parts. Duplicity was a love story / spy thriller starring Julia Roberts. I was a very convoluted story with the sole purpose of throwing the audience of a trail. Really, I gave up very early in the movie. Why follow a trail that is meant to lose you. I had the story figured out within the first ten minutes - convoluted or not.

We had a good time last night. I am ready to start going regularly again. I want to hit 411 soon - I want to check the Star-lite Drive-in in Anniston sometime soon (Highway 202). Jose' are you ready? I am looking for a movie line up for the family. If I can get a good line up then I'm going to get the hotdogs cooking and the popcorn machine popping. I love the nights when I invite all the family and friends that I can think of - have a bona-fide tailgate party. It's been a long time since then. Robbie and Irene love to do the drive-in mafia thing too. So many people chomping at the bit to go. I'll let you know when it's time to go. The unfortunate thing is that all these drive-ins post their movies late in the week. I have to keep my eye out and the mafia will need to jump at a moments notice.

Friday, April 17, 2009

when susan sings

Brook asked me last night if I had seen the YouTube video from Britian's Got Talent. I am not a fan of Idol, or any of it's spin-offs. I give it zero attention when ever I am channel surfing for something to watch. Well I went to YouTube at Brook's recommendation and searched for Susan Boyle's Idol performance.

This woman isn't just talented - this woman is anointed. You can not listen to her music without it touching your very core. Once she open her mouth to sing - my eyes were filled with tears. Again, it's not the song - it's an anointing on this woman's voice. This moment was the fulfillment of a dream she's had since she was 12. This isn't just about a life-long dream coming to fruition - but about a calling as well. As for the show, you could not have scripted the moment better. All the judges - the entire audience in that room where blown away. Sitting in front of my computer monitor - I was too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

what the tea party is about

"Seize the Moment" - Part 1 of 2

"Seize the Moment" - Part 2 of 2


I went to the doctor for my two week post surgery checkup. He said that I am definitely on the mend. I am not experiencing pain - just a lot of discomfort. Of course I am not 100% well after only two weeks. I still feel kind of fragile. I can however get out of the house and do stuff. I can drive.

Gina was desperately wanting to get out of the house and away from town while the girls were on Spring Break. We were going to try to make a trip to Rock Hill, SC to see Don and Jennie for a few days. I don't know what I was thinking. We realized during the course of yesterday's doctor visit that I am not that movable as of yet. I know that I can't take sitting in a car for six hours there and back. I feel bad because Gina really could use a break. She's going to take of Thursday and Friday anyway - but I hate to see her stuck around town because of me.

I told her that she could take off with the girls and do anything she wanted to do. I don't think she wanted to leave me for any over night ventures. She might take the girls to Alabama Adventure (formerly Visionland in Birmingham). I never have been there and I've heard mixed reviews. I really don't know if it's worth it. I've heard mixed reviews. It will probably be a treat for Katie and Kelsey.

Poor Gina. She's usually nailed to the wall with work and I hate to see her miss an opportunity to go do something when she has the chance. We really haven't had any kind of vacation in about three years. The new business consumes so much of our time.

It's hard to believe that we've been in business for four years now. Business has been steady until recent. It's a good time during slow times to catch up on paperwork/documentation or just simply get away. I know Gina wants to get away - but I am a big hole in the boat this time around.

September of 2010 will be our 20th anniversary. Gina and I really want to do something special. We've been talking about going on a cruise. We better start putting something aside for that trip now. We had lunch yesterday with Tommy Puckett. He and Prissy just got back from a cruise. He said that it's a great value if you stay off the gambling and booze. Maybe we're stranded this time around - but we've got something to work toward.

Monday, April 13, 2009

watching the detectives

This is a Turner Classic Movies promo. TCM doesn't only have classics - they've got class as well. I've always have loved film noir - old detective shows. Bogart of course always being my favorite.

I wish that I got Turner Classic - but we can't really swing getting the dish upgrade. I miss the old movies. Brook's been kind enough to share his collection with me while I've been out of commission these past few weeks. I've been watching movies that I haven't seen in decades - some that I've never seen before.

Gina went to Walmart last week and bought me some five dollar movies. She bought me a DVD set that had a bunch of old WWII movies on it. Some are terrible, some mediocre, but some are pretty darn good. I watched GUNG HO last night that starred Randolf Scott. It was very enjoyable. I remembered this movie - and I never could think of the name of it. There is a scene where the marines take over a Japanese outpost - paint an American flag on the roof and then clear out to allow the Japanese to retake it. So the hordes of Japanese retake it and here comes the Japanese air support. The marines held back at a good distance to see the Jap Zeros make mince meat of their own guys. Robert Mitchum had a role in this movie - and Noah Berry (Rocky of Rockford Files) had a great role. In fact Berry had a billing higher than Mitchum in GUNG HO.

I've watched all kinds of old movies while home bound. It's been the only up-side to being trapped in doors these past few weeks. I'll be out next week. I've got a doctor's appointment tomorrow. He's going to see how I've healed up. I still cant lift anything for two more weeks - but it will be nice to be out and around. These old movies have been a nice distraction.

ten minutes of your time

communism for dummies

Friday, April 10, 2009

Charlie & Rose

Charlie: "A man takes a drop too much once in a while, it's only human nature."
Rose: "Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above."

The African Queen has always been one of my favorite movies. Not long after Gina and I got married - we had cut back on everything. We didn't get cable television for the first year of our marriage. We'd go to the Warren County Public Library and check out movies. I was happy to find John Huston's The African Queen available. John Huston directed another favorite of mine - The Treasure of Sierra Madre'. Gina and I brought the movie home and watched it one Friday night. I found myself still moved by it.

I was once asked what movie reminded me of my life - and I have to say The African Queen. I look at my marriage with Gina - how we muddle through from day to day - continue to learn more about each other. We are committed to our love for one another. We are two very different people and still after almost twenty years of going up this jungle river called life - know that we need and depend on each other. Quite often do we both have to get down in that muck side by side and pull our boat through together.

The African Queen was just a great movie when I was young. Now it is a very symbolic and moving work. I'm no Bogart and Gina is no Hepburn - but I am a slob - and Gina is a real lady. We love each other and count on each other like Charlie and Rosie did. We keep pushing on with our life and love - and trust God to work out the ending. Bob McLeod once said that married couples are like sandpaper. The more we are around each other - the more we rub against each other - the more we sand each other - the more we smooth off the edges. God uses each mate to refine the other.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

French Fur Trappers

One of my favorite Kids In The Hall sketches. This one rates right up there with Monty Python.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Arnie, I think of you

The first time I met Arnie Sanford was at a Cerebral Palsy Telethon that was held in Gadsden. At the time Arnie was a member of a band from Centre, Alabama called Psalm (Barry Goss, Arnie Sanford, Skip Seagraves, & Larry Sanford). The band was at the telethon that night to play some songs but there was a guy named Jimmy Parker that sang that night who played a longer set that bumped Psalm off the schedule. No big deal. It was the night that I got to meet all the guys from Psalm. They were great people with great songs, and a unique sound.

Now back in the mid-seventies, I was the runt of the Christian Brothers / the Free House gang. I was just starting to play guitar and I would help roadie equipment around for who ever was playing - just to be near it all. Psalm started playing at Christian Bros events and Christian Brothers started attending Psalm events. It wasn't long before they were part of Christian Brothers and we were all friends.

Being a kid just learning to play and write music - I didn't measure up to the older college age kids that were writing and playing. It was Arnie that took the time to spend some time with me and encourage my music. We eventually started hanging around each other a great deal. We hung out more after he found out he had developed Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Arnie went from wobbling, to wobbly with a cane, to wheel chair bound in a short amount of time. He never lost his sense of humor and never lost his love for music.

It broke my heart as he slowly lost his ability to play and sing. I'd usually go over to his apartment in the early evenings when his nerves and muscles allowed him to manage to play guitar a little. He'd always ask me to bring my guitar and play with him. Even after he lost the ability to play - Arnie would ask me to come over and play for him.

I guess I went over to his apartment in Rainbow City (while he was still living in Gadsden) at least once a week. We'd sometimes go out for pizza. Arnie liked pizza. Most times Patsy (his wife during that time) would cook something for us. I'd often phone ahead and say I'd bring a pizza over. Did I mention that Arnie Liked pizza? Arnie was always was fun to be around because of that sharp Sanford wit of his. I say this because I've found out that both his brothers Larry and Shane possess it as well. I don't see Larry much - but to talk to Shane - I am reminded of Arnie a lot.

Arnie passed away about six years ago. He's one of those people that came into my life and left that I will always miss dearly. We had such good times together. I loved his music, his laughter and his wonderful heart. When I think of Arnie, I think of a thousand visits that lasted late into the night. Arnie had a way of looking at life that may to many seem a cynical outlook. Arnie wasn't cynical in the least - he just didn't take the things of this world that serious. He taught me to laugh at the stupidity of the world. He was just passing through this life and dealt with the cards life dealt him in his own spirited manner. I know he is sure to have had plenty of down moments when I wasn't around. We all do - we all are human. I will say that this man was a sweet fellow - a good and dear friend. I appreciate his encouragement in the earlier years and thankful that he became my close friend. I know that when I die - what ever form we take in the hereafter - that I will recognize his precious soul upon meeting.

"Hey David, did you bring your guitar?"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

still here

I haven't been blogging as regularly as I should. I've been taking pills and they've been taking me. I ended up sleeping most of the day away today. I finally got up fighting the heavy temptation to keep on sleeping and move around a little. Boy was I sliding down the walls and watching each step I took. I finally woke up. I spread the pills out a little more today. I don't want to be that drugged. I'll deal with the discomfort a little more. It's not as bad as it was.. I took one tonight though - maybe it will knock me out at bedtime - when most of the world sleeps. That one today took me down like a Rhino in Hatari.

Gina drove me to a class yesterday. It was an option that the teachers said that I personally did or didn't have to attend. I am glad I did. I took a pill and told them that I might have to leave early. I didn't know how long they were going to keep me. Those chairs at Gadsden State are left over from the Spanish Inquisition. The teacher went over registering for the National Board test. It's a good thing that I went because I heard some stuff that I really needed to know. The teacher didn't keep us long. It was great seeing some of my classmates.

I am waiting for the roof guys to come. I am getting a metal roof. Jose's repaired some water damaged boards under the eaves and built a cricket at the foot of the chimney. They ought to be coming any day now. I had some wind and hale damage that I didn't know about until recently. There's some house stuff that really needs to be done - and the roof is first on the list.

The only thing I can do right now is watch people do stuff. Gina gets on to me when I try to load or unload the dishwasher. "The doctor said do nothing David!" It's a hard thing to do because I am always doing or piddling with something. I've got some online test this week. I was to drugged this morning and afternoon to focus. I held off on the numb pill so I could take one of the on-line tests. I have three more to go. I'd like to knock them out before the week is over. Man - I have so much to learn by the end of Summer. Seriously. I feel as if I've forgotten almost everything that I learned during my first two semesters. I've got to keep moving forward and not look down. That National Board test when I take it, its going to be a real challenge. So....nothing going on right now at this address. Daddy is buzzed or sleeping. Can't wait to get this all behind me.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cafe Ghost

I've been home-bound for the past week. I am board out of my head. I am ordered not to do anything and so I sit around doing just that. I am on my second to last pain pill and the pain isn't as bad as it was yesterday. I guess the magic of these little pills are wearing off. I took mostly Tylenol yesterday and dealt with a little discomfort. I'm okay

I've spent the last three days cleaning up old images of Gadsden and posting them to a new facebook group called Downtown Gadsden. No sooner than I launched the group did I have it's first member. I don't know how he found me that quick - but there was a citizen there in the new group. By the end of the day there were over 60 members. I had about 150 members the second day and almost 300 yesterday. It's kind of funny. I dug up more photos and have posted well over a 100 images - mostly from postcards. It's been a pleasant distraction while I'm on the mend.

The above image is one I found on-line of the White Palace Cafe downtown. I haven't posted it at the Downtown Gadsden group. I am trying to post primarily old stuff. I ran this cafe image through PhotoShop and I am right pleased with the result. I call it Cafe Ghost. One day I'll take a camera downtown and take my own photograph of the cafe and rebuild this idea so that the graphic content will all be mine. Cafe Ghost to me reflects how I feel about this town - these old buildings and their histories.

Friday, April 3, 2009

after the deluge

I had surgery Tuesday morning. The surgeon prescribed a sweet narcotic for me. Say - those things are habbit forming. I've been doing okay - just can't do anything for the next few weeks. I've been at home stirring about.

Today has been a rougher day that the previous two. I don't know why that is. I feel like I should have been feeling this way right after the surgery - not today. The doctor said that I could take up to two pain pills every four hours. I've been taking only one every four hours - so as to no be completely out of it. The one tablet though - today - just doesn't seem to be cutting it. It's as if I feel the aching, the deep bruised feeling - the incision. I feel it and I don't like the way it feels. I hurt if I move a certain way. I've discovered that I don't like discomfort.

I look in my little medicine vial and see the number of pills dwindling. Do I get more if the discomfort continues? I doubt it. Maybe I can dose up with Tylenol if the Oxycod/apap runs out. Maybe today is just a bad day. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

The house is a mess. I can't do anything about it. I am going to have to play Pharoh and force Katie and Kelsey into slavery this weekend. Katie especially. The floors need vacuuming and there is so much stuff tossed about. I walk around the house with a reacher - picking up little things. I must look like an old man. I can't lift big things. The doctor warned me about hematomas. I don't want a hematoma - I don't like the sound of it. I can't do anything for two weeks. I can't lift anything for four.

The good thing about this situation is that I can take all the naps I want. I haven't been taking many - but I can if I want too. I've been watching some DVDs that Brook brought over a few days ago. Gina bought me snacks like unsalted peanuts, natural almonds, and pistachios. So while Gina works her tail off - while my little girls slave doing housework - I can sit around - or lay around - nap - watch movies - play on the computer - eat snacks. I am doing everything I can do (legally) to remain comfortably numb. Thank you little numbing pills.

My nephew West just had surgery today...his tonsils. I feel for him. He'll need to have some pain medication too...and lots of milk shakes. Poor guy.