Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

A co-worker's Halloween specialty fingernails got me all tickled, but not so much that I couldn't get a few shots. This one has the flash on. Look at the second one, and you can tell why I had to try one with it on. How about that mummy? And all of those googly eyes? I love googly eyes!
See what I mean? Her fingers look bloodless. Wait a minute! That ought to be good for Halloween, right? Serendipity strikes again.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tree to the left of our building's front door

I took this photo Wednesday morning about 6:30 a.m., right after I had walked Duncan. The street light provided enough light for a decent photo, I think, especially since the leaves are such a rich gold.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

"Cows ... Gals ... Decisions, decisions."

Like any responsible cowboy, Woody needs to make a decision on how to spend his time.
This is another one of my miniature art cars. I felt like a giving y'all a grin, so I decided to post these two shots. In case you can't tell, Woody's head swivels back-and-forth quite easily.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel ...

...let me explain. Besides things like family and fun thankfully taking up some of my blogging time in good ways lately, I've had some camera-to-computer downloading issues/frustrations and then additional uploading from computer to Flickr issues/frustations.

I had dealt with all of that pretty well and intended to spend a good deal of time Sunday, during the NASCAR race at Atlanta, working on a series of posts about one of several wonderful things I've been able to do in Portland recently, maybe the Dirty Dozen Brass Band at Jimmy Mak's Jazz Club or Michael Cully's Puppetry at the Oregon History Museum or Sharon Wortman's Bridge Walk involving the Morrison and Steel Bridges across the Willamette. I had a bounty of specials to choose from, as well as the unique every day things I notice all around town, until Sunday morning.

When I opened Honk, my precious little iBook, and then opened iPhoto, there was a message that read something like, "For iPhoto to run, the iLibrary needs to be updated," and I really only remember seeing OK highlighted as a choice, so I clicked on OK. In seconds all of my photos disappeared from the iPhoto Library, all 6992 of them. I sat here, stunned into silence.

To tell the truth, my calmness at this unreal turn of events totally shocked me. I didn't wail, holler, sob. I knew that I had many, many photos at Flickr already, so I accepted what had happened and then promptly downloaded my three full memory cards into Honk and started putting photos onto Flickr.

Now for the light at the end of the tunnel part of this tale. Today on the bus ride home, I talked as I often do with a young man who is a few years younger than my younger son. When I told him what had happened, he promptly said, "Why don't you use Finder and search for the jpg's?" So, I did. And I found gobs and gobs of photos. It will be some time before I know if I have found what disappeared on Sunday, but I'm some kind of hopeful! And blessed!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Autumn Blaze

I took this photo Sunday afternoon, in our neighborhood, the Alphabet District.

Y'all, I'm a little off pace with blogging--the World Series has grabbed hold of me. Mama is even missing Wheel of Fortune so that I don't miss an inning. Will wonders never cease? I've become a Tampa Bay Devil Rays fan, but I promise I'm not getting their haircut, the Rayhawk.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ABC Wednesday - N is for Necessity, the Mother of Invention

Y'all know Mama loves to do crossword puzzles. She subscribes to two of the little magazines. Being almost 83-years-old and left-handed, she has a huge need for the spine of said magazines to be pliable, to open back so that she can get to the spaces to write in her solutions.

I'll never forget the first time I heard her hammering away, in the kitchen. "What are you hittin'?" I asked. "My puzzle book," she answered. She's done it every time that the book proves itself to be too tightly glued for her comfort. I thought y'all would enjoy a series of photos depicting the process, blow by blow.

Inside ...
Outside ...
And a lot more inside, up and down the spine ...






Checking ...


She doesn't hit her fingers, just the puzzle book. Amazing! And she always does this during the day so as not to disturb any neighbors.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cheesecake run, down to the crumbs ...

... or the lack thereof, I should say!

After ordering two appetizers (for dinner), I got myself this beautiful Italian Lemon Drop, a just-right tart cocktail that ended up going so very well with my first appetizer that I ordered up another one to enjoy with the second appetizer.


My first appetizer appears below. I'm sorry to say that these are not the mushrooms that Lamont picked last week, but they are from somewhere in Oregon. The appetizer's description: Chevre crouton with Oregon mushrooms. Each bite satisfied my taste buds, from the crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside crouton to the smooth and creamy chevre to the delicately sauteed mushrooms. I would have licked the plate if it were an acceptable dining detail.

Here's the second appetizer, which also had me thinking about licking my plate. It's description: duck confit with white beans. Once again, each bite spoke to my soul, from the crispy skin to the tender, moist meat to the perfectly prepared beans--can you call beans al dente? They certainly felt just right to my teeth.
Well, I'll be. I just Googled "al dente to the tooth" and found this part of a Wikipedia entry: "'Al dente" also describes vegetables that are cooked to the 'tender crisp' phase - still offering resistance to the bite, but cooked through." I had no idea, but in searching my mind for the best description of the beans, I immediately thought of that term.

And now, for the final course of the evening, here's my slice of cheesecake with cherries on top and the lightest crust imaginable on the bottom. Talk about al dente. My goodness, this treasure satisfied my desire for substantial, flavorful forkfuls of pure bliss, from my teeth across my tastebuds and on into my vivid memory.

The only way it could have been better is if y'all had been there with me. Oh, and I have to report that while I did lick my fork very thoroughly after each bite of each dish, I followed acceptable dining decorum and refrained from licking each plate. After all, my older son was in the kitchen and my younger one had joined me at the bar. Plus, my Mama raised me right. I didn't want to embarrass anyone, now did I?

By the way, if you have an interest in duck hunting, you just might want to check out the Hoy7 Hunting Team blog. There's a video there which features Dave, the cheesecake man at 3 Doors Down Cafe (also owner/chef), and his tee-totally unreal hunting results. I predict you shall be laughing and clicking play more than once.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Cheesecake Run, Part One

This baby weighed in at seven pounds! I knew from past experience how it would taste--the flavor, the texture, the joy of it all--so right after work, once I heard Lamont say to me on my cell phone, "Dave made cheesecake," I set out for 3 Doors Down Cafe at SE 37th and Hawthorne, thinking, "I'm goin' on a cheesecake run!"

I mean, it had been since New Year's Eve, 2006, when I'd had my first and only other piece of Dave's cheesecake. That night Lamont had been directed to let me know ASAP when another one made an appearance. Now, practically 22 months later the magic words had been spoken into my unexpecting ear.

I left my building on one #14 bus, got off to take a few photos elsewhere--more on that later--and then boarded the one you see here, approaching me on SE Hawthorne.

Here's what I saw as I stepped off the bus, catty-cornered from 3 Doors Down Cafe.

And here's 3 Doors Down Cafe, itself. I opened the door right beneath the sign and headed for the kitchen so that I could grin at Dave and take a photo of the cheesecake. First, though, I grinned at Kathy who greeted me, smiling and saying, "You look like a roving reporter with your camera around your neck and your rolling bag." I just love that she said that!

Please come back tomorrow for Cheesecake Run, Part Two. There's food and drink involved, I promise.

Oh, by the way, I ended up grinning at everyone who works at 3 Doors Down, including my darlin' first-born son Lamont.

Friday, October 17, 2008

M Week continues with even more music, from Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings at the Zoo Concert on July 25, 2008

Tiny Sharon Jones came on stage, and within mere moments, she had the entire crowd right where she wanted them--in the palm of her hand! She was smokin' hot, having a blast--so were we!

I can't wait to see them perform again. I believe I'll get the chance, too, because this was their second time in Portland performing before awestruck, soul music lovers. I just know they'll come back to Portland, I just know it. Lamont, Leland and Lindsay saw their first show, at the Doug Fir over on E. Burnside. It was a sell-out, or I would've been there, too. In fact, they got in through a friend who works there--he could only get three tickets, and it was a work night. I'm no spring chicken, you know. Anyway, the kids bought me two of their CDs which I have on the iPod they gave me for Mother's Day.
Sharon hand-picked these three women to come on stage with her for a song, to gyrate and dance and live it up, making memories.
She really got them going, too!
This shot tells the truth about Sharon Jones, the secret that my camera caught. There's really two of her--that has to be the truth. How else could she boogie full-tilt, song after song, all over the stage?
At one point, Jones mentioned that she was from Augusta, Georgia, just like James Brown. Then she went right into his song, "There Was a Time," taking off her high heels and dancing every single dance mentioned in the lyrics (see the bottom of the post.) It was outta sight great! Funky to the infinite power!

Only once all evening did she get still enough for me to get a photo that wasn't blurry--using available light as requested by the artist.

Here's all about Sharon Jones from Wikipedia:

Sharon Jones is an American soul/funk singer and lead singer of Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, who are widely considered to be at the forefront of a revivalist movement that aims to recapture the feeling of soul and funk music as it was at its height in the late 1960s to mid 1970s. Despite trying to forge a career as a professional singer since an early age, it has only been in her middle age that Jones has experienced breakthrough success.


Born Sheron Lafaye Jones, on May 4, 1956 in Augusta, Georgia, she moved to New York at an early age and lives there now, recording for independent Brooklyn based recording label Daptone Records. As a child, she and her brothers would often imitate the singing and dancing of James Brown, who was also from Augusta Georgia. A regular gospel singer in church, Jones often entered talent shows backed by local funk bands in the early 1970s. Session work then continued with backing singing, often credited to Lafaye Jones, but in the absence of any recording contract as a solo singer, she spent many years working as a corrections officer at Rikers Island and as an armored car guard for Wells Fargo Bank, until receiving a mid-life career break in 1996 after she appeared on a session backing soul and deep funk legend Lee Fields.

The session was organised by Philip Lehman and Gabriel Roth, co-owners of the now defunct French record label Pure Records. Jones was the only one of three singers who were called into the session to show. Having completed all the backing parts herself, Roth and Lehman were suitably impressed with her performance and recorded a solo track with Jones entitled "Switchblade". This track, along with another entitled "The Landlord" were included on an album by the Soul Providers called "Soul Tequila". The Soul Providers -- with members of the Brooklyn bands Antibalas and the Mighty Imperials -- would later go on to form the Dap-Kings, Jones' current backing band.

When Lehman and Roth relocated to Brooklyn, New York City, a new label was set up called Desco Records, now also defunct. The Soul Tequila album was re-released as Gimme The Paw which omitted The Landlord but kept Switchblade. Jones however recorded and released three 45 singles for the Desco label, Damn It's Hot (part 1) backed by (part 2), Bump N Touch (part 1) backed by Hook and Sling Meets the Funky Superfly (a medley cover of Eddie Bo and Bobby Williams tracks), You Better Think Twice backed by I Got the Feeling (a James Brown cover). The 45s gained some notice amongst 45 soul and funk collectors, particularly because in the early days of Desco Records some collectors may have believed the 45s to be originals from the early seventies as they were never dated. These 45s were also released on a compilation CD, the Desco Funk 45' Collection, alongside various other artists in the Desco stable. The Desco label itself had now established a firm reputation amongst enthusiasts. Desco continued to release 45 singles and also released LPs by Lee Fields, Sugarman 3, The Daktaris and The Mighty Imperials as well as a further compilation of funk 45s. The Mighty Imperials album proved to be the last release on the Desco label and due to a difference of opinions label owners Lehman and Roth parted ways in 2000. Lehman started another independent, Soul Fire Records, now also defunct whilst Gabriel Roth went on to start Daptone Records with saxophonist Neal Sugarman of Sugarman 3.

Launched on the back of the popularity of Desco Records, Daptone Record's first release would be a full length Sharon Jones album. A new band, the Dap-Kings was formed from the ashes of the Soul Providers and the Mighty Imperials. Some of the musicians went on to record for Philip Lehman's Soul Fire label, some formed the afro-beat band the Budos Band. From the original Soul Providers, Roth AKA Bosco Mann on bass, guitarist and emcee Binky Griptite, percussionist Fernando Velez, trumpet player Anda Szilagyi and organist Earl Maxton were joined by original Mighty Imperials, saxophonist Leon Michels and drummer Homer Steinweiss plus Neal Sugarman from Sugarman 3.

In 2002 and together as Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings they released an album Dap Dippin' with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings for which they received immediate attention and acclaim from enthusiasts, DJs and collectors. With two more albums under their belt, Naturally (2005) and 100 Days, 100 Nights (2007) they are seen by many as the spearhead of a revivalist soul and funk movement. They are particularly well-respected amongst their fans and contemporaries for successfully capturing the essence of soul as it was at its height in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Among her influences are James Brown, Otis Redding, Ike & Tina Turner and Marva Whitney.

Jones had a small part in the 2007 film The Great Debaters, starring Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, as a juke joint singer named "Lila". Her performance of Lucille Bogan's "That's What My Baby Likes" is featured in the film, and Jones' additional covers of 1930s-era songs are included on the film's soundtrack. Her appearance in The Great Debaters forced Jones to turn down a stint as back-up singer for Lou Reed’s Fall 2007 live show built around his Berlin album.

"There Was a Time"

There was a day, there was a time
When I used to play
There was a time when I used to play
But take me now, baby, don't worry about later
Teach the dance I used to do
They call it the Mashed Potato

There was a day, now dig this
There was a day, they call it the Jerk
Everybody relax and watch me work

In my hometown where I used to stay
The name of the place is Augusta, GA
Down there we have a good time
We don't talk
We all get together in time, for rhythm with you
So come and walk

There was a day that I used to do
The name of the dance
They call it Boogaloo
I may not do the dance as well as you
But baby, you can bet your bottom dollar
That you never hear me holler
I do the best that I can do

There was a time, sometimes I dance
Sometimes I dance, sometimes I clown
But you can bet you haven't seen nothing yet
Until you see me do the James Brown

Thursday, October 16, 2008

M Week continues with Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein--Zoo Concert, July 22, 2008

Jimmy Gaudreau and Moondi Klein opened for Emmylou Harris, yet she came out to join them on a song or two. How magnificent!
Once again, members of the audience had to get on their feet and dance. This couple was so far away that my photos don't do them justice, other than to suggest just how much they enjoyed themselves.



Here's Emmylou and her band. It was so wonderful to hear her soaring voice in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, accompanied by such accomplished musicians.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ABC Wednesday - M is for Mushrooms

Guest photographer, my elder son Lamont, picked these chantrelles (left) and lobster mushrooms (right) last Thursday, east of Portland.

He picked these chantrelles on Monday, off Highway 26, west of Portland.

All of them ended up at 3 Doors Down Cafe, where he's the sous chef, as part of nightly specials. Needless to say, the arrival of such fresh bounty excited Dave, 3 Doors Down's chef/owner.

Here's some Wikipedia info about both kinds of mushrooms:

Chantarelle or Golden chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) is probably the best known species of this genus Cantharellus. It is orange or yellow, meaty and funnel-shaped. On the lower surface, underneath the smooth cap, it has gill-like ridges that run almost all the way down its stipe, which tapers down seamlessly from the cap. It has a fruity smell reminiscent of apricots and a mildly peppery taste, and is considered an excellent food mushroom. Scientific research has suggested that the golden chanterelle may have potent insecticidal properties that are harmless against humans and yet protects the mushroom body against insects and other potentially harmful organisms.

Lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum) is not, in the truest sense of the word, actually a mushroom. It is a parasitic ascomycete that grows on mushrooms, turning them a reddish orange color that resembles the outer shell of a cooked lobster. It colonizes members of the genera Lactarius (Milk-caps) and Russula, such as Russula brevipes and Lactarius piperatus in North America. At maturity, H. lactifluorum thoroughly covers its host, rendering it unidentifiable. Lobster mushrooms are widely eaten and enjoyed; they are commercially marketed and are commonly found in some large grocery stores. They have a seafood-like flavor and a firm, dense texture. According to some, they may taste somewhat spicy if the host mushroom is an acrid Lactarius.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

M Week continues with Los Lonely Boys and Los Lobos, plus two of the crowd, dancing to Los Lobos, at the Zoo Concert, July 18, 2008

Los Lonely Boys--Henry, Ringo and JoJo Garza--put on an extraordinary performance at the outdoor arena.

From Wikipedia:

Los Lonely Boys is an American Grammy Award-winning musical rock band from San Angelo, Texas. They play a style of music which they dub as Texican Rock n' Roll, combining elements of rock and roll, blues, soul, country, and Tejano.

The band consists of three brothers, Henry (guitar, vocals), Jojo (bass guitar, vocals), and Ringo (drums, vocals). They follow the tradition of their father, Ringo Garza Sr., who formed a band with his brothers called The Falcones. The Falcones played conjunto music in southern Texas during the 70s and 80s. To date, Los Lonely Boys has released three studio albums and a live album, all on the Epic Records label. Their debut single, "Heaven," was a Number One hit on the Adult Contemporary charts, and a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.




When I got close to the stage, it was on the left side where Henry stood--I had fun taking photos of him, as you can see.







Opening for Los Lonely Boys, Los Lobos who also entertained the crowd successfully.


The crowd couldn't keep off their feet. Groovin' was the order of the day.

From Wikipedia:

Los Lobos ("The Wolves") are an American rock band. They are 3-time Grammy Award winners. Their music is influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex, country music, folk, R&B, blues, and traditional Spanish and Mexican music such as boleros and norteños.


Los Lobos released an independent LP in the late 1970s, and an EP in 1983. Their first major-label, critically acclaimed release was 1984's T-Bone Burnett-produced How Will the Wolf Survive? They released a follow up album entitled By the Light of the Moon in 1987. In the same year they recorded some Ritchie Valens covers for the soundtrack to the film La Bamba, including the title track which became a number one single for the band. In 1988 they followed with another album, La Pistola y El Corazón featuring original and traditional Mexican songs. Seen as akin to commercial suicide, the album sold poorly.

The band's first noteworthy public appearance occurred in 1980 at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles when they were hired by David Ferguson and CD Presents to open for Public Image Ltd. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the band toured extensively throughout the world, opening for such acts as Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead.

Los Lobos returned with The Neighborhood in 1990, and the creative and wildly experimental Kiko (produced by Mitchell Froom) in 1992. In 1991, the band contributed a lively cover of Bertha, a song which they often performed live, to the Grateful Dead tribute/rain forest benefit album Deadicated. In 1994 they also contributed a track, Down Where the Drunkards Roll, to the Richard Thompson tribute album Beat the Retreat.

On the band's twenty-year anniversary they released a two-CD collection of singles, out-takes, live recordings and hits entitled Just Another Band from East L.A.

In 1995, Los Lobos released the prestigious and bestselling record Papa's Dream on Music for Little People Records along with veteran guitarist and singer Lalo Guerrero. The band also scored the film Desperado with the Gipsy Kings. The album track "Mariachi Suite" won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, and stands as their last Grammy Award to date (the other two Grammy Awards were in the category of Best Mexican-American Performance in 1983 and 1989 for the albums Anselma and La Pistola y El Corazon.

In 1996 they released Colossal Head. In spite of the fact that the album was critically acclaimed, Warner Brothers decided to drop the band from their roster. Los Lobos spent the next few years on side projects.

Los Lobos signed to Hollywood Records in 1999, and released This Time. Hollywood also reissued 1977's Del Este de Los Angeles. In 2000, Rhino/Warner Archives released the Cancionero: Mas y Mas boxed set.

On the night of October 23, 1999, while the band was on tour, Sandra Rosas, wife of Cesar Rosas, was kidnapped from her house. She was found dead on November 22, 2000. Her half-brother Gabriel Gomez was convicted of her kidnapping and murder and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In 2002, the band released their Mammoth Records debut, Good Morning Aztlan; they released The Ride in 2004. The Ride featured artists such as Tom Waits, Mavis Staples, Bobby Womack and Elvis Costello covering Los Lobos music along with the band.

Los Lobos released its first full-length live-show DVD Live at¨the Fillmore in 2004. The DVD captures the band's act over a two-day period in July at the famed San Francisco venue.

In September 2006, Los Lobos released The Town and the City to much critical acclaim. The album's lyrics deal with Louis Perez's childhood in East Los Angeles while the music portrays complex and original soundscapes reminiscent of their previous release Kiko. Jaime Hernandez did the artwork for the album.

In 2007 the group performed the song Billy 1, Bob Dylan's cover from Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid album, recorded in I'm Not There soundtrack.

The group is now in the studio recording the next album which will be an album of Disney covers.