Sunday, June 26, 2016

Just a little more with Dr Ralph

You probably noticed in yesterday's Retro Y'all post that Ralph Stanley didn't sing lead in any of the selections, not even with his own band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. He always had other lead singers in the band, and shared duties with them.  I looked all over, but I just could not find a period clip of him singing lead.

Yet, to pay tribute without honoring that amazing voice--the epitome of the "high lonesome" Bluegrass sound--would not be right.  However, I do have some rules for what I will include in a Retro post.  I thought about skating by using the fact that the songs are old, even if the performances aren't, but I have nixed other videos of artists doing their classics in recent performances.

So I decided that there had to be one more look at this amazing talent, this time solo, doing the song from O Brother Where Art Thou? that brought him such recognition.

 

I tell you, it makes the hairs on my arms stand up.  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Retro Y'all (Ralph Stanley Edition)

We lost one of the greats...no...one of the powerhouses a few days ago.  Dr. Ralph Stanley was one of the few remaining ties to the early days of Bluegrass music.  When you remember that those early pioneers were the bridges to an even earlier era of traditional music (and even early country music), then you realize how incalculable this loss is. 

I'm talking roots here--history and culture--the stuff that matters.  The generation that was influenced by these folks has also started passing on.  None of them are getting any younger.  Even my beloved Emmylou Harris will turn seventy next year.

Thankfully, there's a generation after them still coming on strong.  And one coming up after that.  And so on.

And somewhere in one of those small rural Kentucky (and Virginia, and Tennessee, and etc.) towns, like the one I came from, there are boys and girls just starting to sit down with their instruments and learn to play the old songs.  The connections are being made and the thread will continue. 

Over a decade ago, one particular movie brought renewed attention and interest to this music and the musicians who perform it, including Dr Ralph.  That kind of interest often fades when the next fad comes down the line, but there's always more than a few new enthusiasts that hop on board for the ride. 

The next time that happens, we'll be short one amazing voice.  Rest in peace, Dr. Ralph Stanley.  You're going to be missed.

There's no way to pick just one for this post, so here's some prime Ralph Stanley.

First, with his brother Carter as the Stanley Brothers.  (In case you don't know, that's Dr. Ralph with the banjo.)





As the banjo virtuoso that he was.  (He's the one with the hat.)



With the Clinch Mountain Boys:



On a more personal note, I can't find out what kind, but several news sources are listing the cause of his death as "skin cancer."  Of all the things to have in common with one of the greatest musicians in Bluegrass history!



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Bursting Forth! (Out of Mazda!)

I'm not sure what happened earlier wit the blank post, but I deleted it.  I had been working on this post last night and went to bed with the post still up on screen.  I had treatment yesterday, so I usually spend the next day or so dropping in and out of projects to lay down.  My computer was off when I woke up today, so it must have crashed overnight.  How that led to a blank post getting uploaded, especially when the draft had some content in it, is beyond me.

I guess every so often I have to prove, however unwittingly, what a low-brow, amateur production this blog is.  I can cross that off today's "to do" list.

How about we look at what was in Mazda?  Most everybody got most of the major bits, but there were some surprises here and there.  For instance, the rusty cash box in front was full of bits of hardware that are destined for a jar or two.


I thought I got a pic of that bag of thread, but I guess I didn't. Still, everyone who said it was thread was right.  Even though, I sure do wish it was a bag of wheels (especially roller skate wheels), because that would be cool.


Otherwise, it was Pairs Day, because most everything came in twos.  Not necessarily matching pairs, but they were found in pairs.  Except for the industrial look chair on the end, which is a repro, but a well-made one.  All heavy-duty metal. The window (which is part of a pair) was a curb find on the way home from the yard sale.  I've sold all the windows from our set out, so I really needed those.

Like I said on Sunday, I wasn't really intending to go to any sales at all on Saturday.  Keith was going camping and making really optimistic proclamations about leaving  by noon, which never happens, yard sales or not.

Then Friday night, I saw a listing for a sale that was not to be missed, camping or not.  There's a woman who lives on a street not far from here who has a garage, attic, shed, basement, and house full of wonderful junk.  She at one point tried to be a vendor, but told me she never got around to actually taking stuff to her booth.  She and her boyfriend would buy a big batch of stuff  at auction, bring it home, store it, then a year later, sell it cut-rate at their yard sale to make room for more auction buys.

Not exactly the most effective re-selling plan, I admit, but it worked for me.  And I made sure the stuff I bought got to the booth.  Regardless of any other issues, she had good taste and a good eye for stuff.  Things from her sales have always sold fast for me and made good money.

So, when I saw the listing that said she was having a moving sale, my first response was:  "Gotta go!"  My second responses was:  "Oh no!  She can't move!"  The third response was: "Really gotta go!"

And so I broke my "no sale" vow.  But it was only for one.  That turned into two, because we found another sale on the same street and went to it first thinking we were at her sale, but we weren't.  That's where I got the metal chair.    


In case you're wondering why I'm only showing one of each item when it was Pairs Day, I was trying to get the car cleaned out in a hurry, so Keith could load up and leave.  This was my favorite of the two metal cabinets.  I love the detail on the front.  They were both shop/garage cabinets, so I did have some greasy grime to scrub off.

Now, on to the two items that perplexed nearly everyone.  I actually bought these on Friday, while I was on my way to meet Keith for coffee. Because of their size, I had to leave them until Saturday, when Mazda was available.


It's an old metal file organizer thing for a wall.  It's all one piece, instead of several joined together.  Plus, a swinging door, but only one half of it.  I loved the color though.  It's more orangey in person.

And that was the Mazda that was!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday Rambles

TOP OF THE MORNIN'!

Is June really almost over?  Egads!

Have I really only done less than a dozen posts this month?  Odd's Bodkins!

I shall have to do something to rectify that.  Jinkies!

I've decided that I'm going to divide Monday Rambles posts with  headers from here on out.  On weeks when I really ramble, the posts seem to be really disparate and jarring to read, so hopefully this will smooth things out a bit.

Now, if you don't want to read me babbling about toenails, comic books, Komodo dragons, or making mashed potatoes while dancing the Mashed Potato, you can skip those sections.  Or at least you could if the headers made any sense.  Chances are they're not going to.  Not at this blog.  But, hopefully, maybe, they'll at least be entertaining.

Now someone remember to email me on Sunday to remind me to have headers next Monday.

BELATED HAPPIES!

No, not "belated hippies" although that does sound kind of interesting.  Belated Happy Father's Day to all the Dads, Grandpas, and people with Dads out there.  I hope you all got to do something fun together yesterday. If, like me, your father has passed on, then I hope you had some happy memories to look back on.

HE WAS THE GREATEST!
 
Muhammad Ali's funeral was one of the biggest things to ever happen in Louisville.  Outside of the Derby each year and visits by the President or candidates for President, I can't recall another event that stirred up this much attention for our fair city.  The Queen came through once, but that was for the Derby.  Usually, the only way to garner excitement around here is to either be a horse or dress up like one.

The story behind the caption.

Anyway, along the procession route, people were given sidewalk chalk to express their feelings about Ali's passing.  I was walking downtown a couple of days later and saw this one and thought it was cool.

HEALTH WOES

I'm having some issues right now, but I'm hoping they will pass in a while.  It may take a few weeks, though.  I've stopped taking the steroids.  Between the effects on my blood sugar (sky high), my blood pressure (getting that way) and my weight (approaching aircraft carrier status), I decided that I couldn't take them any longer.  I refuse to be known as "Fat Cancer Guy."  (Although that could be an interesting super-hero concept.) Or, as I told Keith, "I'm beating cancer.  I will not be taken down by Diabetes aggravated by the drugs given to me to help make the treatments more tolerable."

Of course, being me (and also my mother's child), I just stopped taking the damn thing.  I never took the full prescribed dosage, so I though that one little milligram would be easy to step away from.  Oh my galoshes!  I've had muscle and joint aches like you would not believe ever since!  At least the headaches have stopped.  And the joint and muscle pain only flares up now when I've been busy for a while.  At first, I would just sit there and throb and moan.  (Yes, I did moan.  I'm a man.  That's how we deal with illness.)

Ibuprofen seems to keep things under control.  I know some of this is from my body adjusting to life without Mother's Little Helper, but some of it is all the little aches and pains I've always had, but was not noticing thanks to the steroid.  I'm also experiencing periods of weakness and major fatigue and seem to move awfully slow these days.  Some of that last comes from being as large as a parade float.  You never see one of those suckers tearing around like an Indy car either.

Of course, being me, I only did research about coming off steroids when the effects started getting really bad.  It was then that I found out about tapering the dosage.  Keith thought I should go back on them and then start taking them every other day or something, but I'm soldiering ahead cold turkey.  My mother was a Campbell and this is the way that Campbells go about doing things.  At least in my branch.  Well, except none of the others would have bothered to research anything. I'm counting on mine being after the fact to help keep me in the clan.  True to my family, I did not consult with my doctor either.  (I'm not saying you have to do it my way, in fact, you probably shouldn't, but some things are genetically predisposed to happen.)

Right now it's all playing higgeldy piggledy with my life, but I think once it settles down, I'll be able to manage.  I told Keith that once I'm down to just dealing with the fatigue from the cancer drug (which is the major side effect), I'll take it slower if I have to or add in extra days for rest or add in more naps.  You'll never ever hear me complain about more naps.

OH THE HEAT!

Something else contributing to the sluggishness around here is the HEAT and its bff HUMIDITY.  This one is not just hitting me, but everyone.  Full blown Ohio Valley Summer is here.  Staying in and taking more naps doesn't sound so bad.

OH THE KITTIES! 

Especially when you can do it with these two.



This is Lacy.

Of course I'm his sitter!  He's named after a Hobbit!

And this is Frodo who wouldn't sit still for a picture, so this is the best I could do.  He did manage to photo-bomb Lacy's pic.

They're the two little friends I was pet-sitting most of last week and part of the week before.  I've been sitting for Frodo nearly ten years now, whenever his Mommy goes away on vacation.  The other pets that were part of the family when I started have all gone on.  The year after my mother died, I spent the better part of two months over there while she was tending to her father in his final days.

Lacy's the new girl.  She still hasn't figured out if it's okay for me to be staying there, but she did figure out that I give good head and belly rubs.

YARD SALES

So anyway, the reason that I didn't have a Mazda shot the other Saturday was that I had started having one of my weak and achy spells during the middle of the day.  It was too bad too.  This was the sale at the last gold standard church, plus the surrounding community.  It's always good.

The church sale lived up to its reputation.  They fill just about every room but the sanctuary with stuff, all organized by category.  It's the same every year too, so if you're a regular, you know what is going to be where.  They set a rule this year that nothing would be priced less than 50 cents, which kind of bummed me out.  I imagine it bummed out a few of the old lady pricers too, because I still found 25 and 10 cent stuff.  I think if i were an eighty year old chruch lady volunteer who had been doing this for years, I would go ahead and price it how I always did it.  Silly rules!

The community sale was great too.  We went to grab some eats at McDonald's first, so we went into this city from the opposite end we usually do.  It's a pretty good-sized little community, full of all kinds of twisty little streets and cul-de-sacs.  We do this every year and we've never been through all of it.

I met some sellers who were selling all their sushi dishes, because they finally realized that they love sushi a lot more than they love the idea of making it themselves.  We laughed about that and I told them about the sushi making kit I bought with the same plan in mind and never used.  I have no idea what they thought about me buying the sushi dishes.  We just all kind of acted like it was natural.

At another house there were four or five different people set up selling stuff.  The owners got the cool spot inside the garage, of course.  They told me that their yard was "just like a mini-mall."  I bought a vintage Bingo set from them and they threw in a stack of old game boards for free.  One of the women in the yard was selling her mother's old books and magazines from the 40's.  We talked for a long time about our love for old graphics and designs and she showed me a portfolio she had made of the ads from some of the magazines that had fallen apart.  It was cool, but way too pricey for me.

My favorite spot was the one where two little boys--"going into third grade" they told me--were running the show, under the watchful eye of dad, who stayed at the top of the driveway.  He let them do everything, and most of the stuff was theirs, but he was also close at hand to supervise and answer questions if needed.  They also took the money to him and he kept it out of sight of any wandering hands and eyes.  I bought a nice Wolverine race car from them, so of course we had to talk about Wolverine for a bit.  Then Spider-man.  Then Batman.  I finally asked if they were brothers, and one of them said they were just friends, but he was helping so he could earn enough money to buy something there that he wanted.

 Anyway, we don't have any pics, because we cut things short when I started feeling bad and I went back to nap with Frodo and Lacy.  We just kind of unloaded in a hurry and I forgot to take any pics.

But I do have pics to go with the stuff from yesterday's Mazda shot, so check back tomorrow for the reveal.

LISTEN TO THE VENDOR MOAN

And this is the part where we (or rather I) wail about how bad June's booth sales have been.  This past weekend was probably the worst one I have ever had.  Wednesday was the strongest day last week, and it was a really good day.  But it was bookended by one day that was less than five (!) dollars and one that wasn't much over that.

I know all the drill about slower sales in the summer, but I swear this is the worst summer I've had in seven years as a vendor. 

Oh well.  I'm heading over today with a Mazda load of crap lovely merchandise in hopes of turning this big ole ship away from the iceberg.  I finally made next month's rent, but it's a good thing that I've done some bulk buys cheaply, plus snagging a lot of freebies lately, because I'm not looking at a big check for the other expenses.

If you happen to know a wealthy person named Penelope or Duke--you know the type, diamond-studded sunglasses and a Chihuahua with a designer collar--who's looking to drop several hundred on quality secondhand flea market merchandise, send 'em my way.  If they buy enough, I'll even cut you in on the action.

You can sing that header to the tune of a Hank Williams classic, if you're so inclined.

MY WHAT TALENTED PACHYDERMS!

Apparently, the elephants in these parts are quite prodigious.



I don't care how skilled they are, though.  No elephant is getting near the parts of my anatomy associated with fertility with sharp needles.  I'd end up having to get the treatment for stress after that, for sure!

NERDS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN

This is one of my favorite weekends of the year coming up--DERBY CITY COMICON!!!!!!  I got my pass the other day.


It has been a real pleasure to see this one grow and improve year after year.  Homegrown cons by local folk are the best.

Of course, I go mainly for the shopping, but I've not had a lot of luck with the comic hunting this year.  I've gotten small batches here and there, but not the big scores of great stuff that I'm used to finding.  Hopefully, this will be a good con for that.  I've already checked out the list of vendors and seen several that should be pretty good, including several of my regulars.

Failing that, maybe I can find another Batman shirt.  Do they make them in blimpo size?

DVDS OF THE WEEK 

Since I was pet-sitting in a house with no WiFi and none nearby to surf on, I had the world's longest and cheesiest bizarro film festival.  I seriously must have watched at least two dozen DVD's.  Me and Frodo had a ball.  Lacy's not much for movies.

It was two hard to pick one favorite, so I ended up choosing two.  First, from legendary Hammer Films, starring equally legendary Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing:

Image Source
You seriously cannot have a cheesy film festival with that many movies and not include at least one Hammer Dracula film.  This one is a total ball.  Sure there are plot holes galore and a truckload of unanswered questions at the end, but it's a ton of fun to watch.  Lee and Cushing are actor's actors and they give it their all, no matter how silly things get.  And they do get a bit silly.  Dracula has a bevy of vampiric women in matching outfits chained up in coffins in his basement for starters.  Why?  Because he's Dracula!  They actually get nearly as much screen time as the big guy himself and all they do is writhe around and squeal and hiss.

It doesn't get much better than this.  I am now hunting through my stash to see if I have any more films from Hammer.

My other choice was a cartoon show I had never heard of before.

Image from good old Amazon!

This show is kind of a mix between X-Files, Men in Black, and one of my fave animated shows ever:  Ben Ten Alien Force.  The basic premise is that aliens have been visiting Earth for centuries, giving rise to most of our myths and legends and monsters.  Most of their purposes are less than benevolent.


An alliance of government agencies created the Roswell incident as a hoax in the 40's, to try and convince the world that aliens don't exist.  Ever since, they've been fighting the evil creatures, while denying they exist.  The plot definitely takes some twists and turns, and like most shows of this nature, you're never quite sure who to trust.  The Wikipedia page for the show does a good job of breaking it down.  (SPOILER ALERT!)


Plus, one of the characters is a Banshee!  I am now on a quest to track down more of this fun show.

THIS MEANS YOU




WRAPPING UP!

 Well, this was a rambly ramble.  I had a lot stored up since last week.  Have some Music for Monday to help it all go down.




Sunday, June 19, 2016

What's in Mazda?

Finally!  A real Mazda shot.  I know that I promised one last week full of awesome hauls, but we actually ended up cutting things short as I started feeling sick.  I'll explain more about that tomorrow.  It's actually got a little to do with why I didn't post as much as planned last week too.  Don't worry.  It's not serious and it's not the cancer, although it is treatment related.  I'll be okay.  I promise.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about Mazda, not me.  Here you go.


This was supposed to be a no sales weekend!  In fact, We had Mazda empty so that Keith could go camping, hence the blue cooler in the lower right.  Actually, this is still mostly from one sale, with one item from a sale we went to by mistake.  (Yes, I can "accidentally" go to sales.)

So, what do you see?

If you're new here, feel free to play along!  If you're unsure what to do, just watch Linda.  She's a pro!  (But no fair just commenting: "What Linda said."  You have to use your own words.)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Retro Y'all (Orlando Edition)



I came out at the height of the AIDS crisis.  A good friend had passed away from the disease several weeks earlier.  It was a scary and uncertain time to be gay, but (for me) it was even more scary and uncertain to keep denying it. 

I don't want to talk about my coming out here, except to say that it was difficult and scary.  Also, it was not something that I really chose to do at the time it happened.  There were outside forces at play--malevolent ones.

If it hadn't been for my mother and Keith, I would not have made it.  There were times that I contemplated not going on.  It was just too rough and I was not sure at the time I could do it.  Coming out cost me something that was really important to me at the time, and that something had given me a sense of purpose and direction for several years.  Without it, I was nearly completely lost.

A few years later, Keith and I were on a Halloween cruise on the Ohio River, sponsored by a local gay group.  We were on the top deck, watching the river, listening to the music play below us.  Suddenly, the music switched to old school disco--Donna Summer, the Village People, and of course the ever-playful, subversive Sylvester. 

I made a remark to Keith that it was kind of funny, but in the face of everything, we as a community kept finding ways to go on.  Ways to endure.  Ways to dance and sing and celebrate instead of closing in on ourselves.  Ways to live without fear.  Somehow, without even realizing it, I had learned how to it too.  Those dark, ugly, early days seemed very far away.

This was still years before the medical breakthroughs with AIDS treatments.  Years before the passage of anti-discrimination laws in Louisville and many other places.  Years before presidential candidates even spoke the words "gay" or "lesbian." 

A lot has changed since then.  The world is completely different.  We as a community have become a lot more inclusive in our understanding of ourselves.  We speak of "LGBT people" as opposed to "the gay community."  We've grown.

So had society around us.  Same sex marriage is a reality.  So is anti-discrimination protection in many places.  The broader culture sees us as a part of the world--a vital, contributing part.  This is a world that I could never have imagined all those years ago.  Ever.

The old world still finds ways to rear its ugly head, however.  I'm not just talking about the tragedy in Orlando with so many dead or wounded.  I'm talking about what has gone on since the shooting.  What still goes on.  There is a real concerted effort to focus solely on the identity of the shooter to the expense of that of the victims.  This crime has to fit in the box that is being designed for it, and to do that anything that doesn't fit is being left out.  Like the LGBT identities of the victims.  There seems to be this thought that this is a terrorist attack, but not a hate crime, as if it cannot be both.

The problem is the extra messages this attack carries with it--that our identities don't matter.  Our lives don't matter.  The prejudices that are still directed at LGBT people don't matter.  The hurt we are feeling right now doesn't matter.  Neither does the fear.  Or the anger. Or our loss.

If there's one thing that the AIDS years taught us, it was to never take anything lying down.  We don't have to be crammed into those "official" boxes.  We don't have to let our truths be covered over to fit convenient theories.  We can and we will make sure our stories, our voices, get heard.

We will go on.  We will live without fear.  We will find ways to live, laugh, dance and celebrate.

It's what we do.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Monday Rambles

Much too much going on right now, with no time to ramble!  Ack!

I'm going to be house and cat-sitting for a week starting on Wednesday.  That means I'm leaving the house in the hands/paws of Keith and Chiquito.  I'm mildly concerned.

I don't have wifi access at that house, so look for a bunch of silly season posts after Wednesday.  I'll finally get those awesome smalls from set out up tomorrow and Wednesday.

There will be a Mazda shot on Sunday.  Saturday is the church and neighborhood sale that led to the birth of the Mazda shots a couple of years ago, so there will definitely be one.  I haven't been hitting a lot of sales lately, so there hasn't really been good material for a Mazda shot.

May finally ended with my lowest sales total in a while.  I realized when I got my check that, in spite of it all, (1) I did get a check and (2) that check is still several times larger than the first one I ever got.  I really don't have a lot to whine about in the end. 

But that might not stop me.

Last week, I told you all that I was offered the chance to buy out a booth for 50 bucks, which I took.  The deal was supposed to be for the merchandise only.  The vendor had 10 or so sets of shelves that were not part of the deal.  She was going to take those with her.

Well, last Monday, I went to the mall to start sorting out and moving the stuff out.  The vendor was there with her husband to get the shelves.  They had already taken a couple of plastic shelves out.  The husband wasn't really too keen on the idea of moving any more of the shelves out.  Every time she went to start moving a shelf, he would start hemming and hawing about how she didn't need that and they didn't have room for it and so on.  After he did this for several minutes, she would offer the shelf to me.  This process repeated over and over again until she had given me all the shelves at no extra cost.

On one hand, this is cool.  I can always use shelves and free is good.  On the other hand, now there's a lot more work to do.  Some of the shelves are pretty crappy too.  A couple have loose backs and one has no back whatsoever.  I put prices on all of them right away--super cheap for the crappy ones and not so cheap for the rest.

It took me a couple of days to deal with all the stuff, and during that time, all the crappy shelves sold and so did a couple of the good ones.  I made my money back just on those!  I put all the remiaing shelves in my newest booth, replacing the tables I was using in there.  This gave me a lot more room.

It ended up taking more time than  I originally planned, but it worked out fairly well, I think.  Out of the stuff in the booth, about three-fourths of it got moved to my booths.  I'll leave the prices alone for right now, then reduce them a little later.  I threw away about a third of what was left--broken, nasty stuff that should have never gone into a booth.  Another third went into a free cart--stuff that was okay, but not anything I wanted to dedicate booth space too.  It was gone in a day or so.  The last third came home to go in my yard sale.

And that was pretty much all I did last week.  Pretty dull, I know.  I was even too busy to take any pics.

Let me make up for that with some Music for Monday and then I'll split.



See ya!