everything you ever wanted to know about nothing at all...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Are You Ready?

Well, friends, it's been a while. Things have been very busy at work, which is good considering it's the end of the quarter. The end of the quarter can be very exciting or very disappointing depending on how well things are going. If sales are good, then you can see a direct correlation between the amount of paint you sell & the money you stand to make. Things are going well.

Enough of that, though. Nobody likes to talk about money, especially not me. Money it doesn't talk, it swears.

I'd like to talk to you about a customer of mine named Jose. He's a short stocky latino gentlemen about the age of 45, I'd guess. He is usually only around in the summertime, but he makes his presence known. I met him a few years ago, & to be honest, when I first met him I thought him to be quite nuts. He usually comes into the store brimming to the top with energy. He's very picky about the things that he buys but he always has kind things to say about just about everything. After a while I started to like the little fella.

The next summer a lady called me up looking to have her cottage painted. She lives in Texas during the rest of the year & also only comes to Grand Haven during the summer months. She wanted me to look at her house to see what it would need, & I went & looked at it & told her what kind of work would be involved in painting it. When she asked for names of painters I gave her Jose's name. She seemed to be quite nuts herself, I thought, & figured the two of them would be a good fit. Jose did the job, of course, & she was thrilled with the job that he did. The next summer she stopped in for a visit & treated us at the store as though we were close relatives of hers. It turns out that she referred Jose to a friend of hers & Jose has done several houses in the neighborhood. I've since referred Jose to other jobs that have turned into lots of business for him & us.

What I'm about to tell you is no embellishment & is certainly not meant for me to be propping myself up as any great human being, far from it, I'm quite humbled by the whole thing. Some time later Jose told me that after he first met me, he was driving through town to a job when the Lord told him the name Andrew. He then came in & we set him up an account & business has been good for him ever since.

When he first told me this, I thought it to be quite strange, & I thought him to be more nuts than I ever did. I've often been put off by the extremely religious types, thinking that the Lord has always worked best for me through upbringing & subtle suggestion. My cynical mind can't comprehend the fact that somebody could be that zealous without being phony, until Jose. As I talked to him, he's told me all sorts of stories that led me to realize that I was wrong. I've since figured out that Jose's the genuine article. He's told me stories about the places he's been & about how large medical bills that have been relieved, all as a result of Jose following what the Lord has told him. Recently, Junior was in the office telling a buddy of his that he needed a ride to Lansing. Jose overheard & immediately offered to give him a ride.

Let's hope Jose can keep on working on me so I'm not so cynical.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Poor Boy Blues-Ramblin' Thomas

Standin' Round Cryin'-Muddy Waters

Are You Ready-the Fairfield Four

Cry A While-Bob Dylan, Wembley, 2003

St James Infirmary Blues-the White Stripes

Someday Baby-Bob Dylan, Modern Times

Happy Tuesday, friends...


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's a one track town, just brown, & a breeze too..

Grand Haven's a great place to be in the summer time. There's anything you could ever need, especially if you like to be near the lake. I wonder what it would've been like to grow up here. If I grew up here I'd probably be one of those people that never goes to the beach. If it weren't for Christie, I'd probably be one of those people even though I've only lived here for a year & a half. It's got golf, tennis, hikin' trails, biking trails, beaches, rivers, bayous & of course the great big lake.

Waltz was a great place to grow up, though. I wouldn't have had it any other way. It's hard to be rude to people in a town like Waltz, as everybody knows who you are. I don't remember ever feeling unsafe about anything, except for the occasional tornado warning, the neighbor's doberman pincher or the time I heard that the gypsies were in town. Looking back, I don't think there's anything really scary about gypsies other than a house minus your valuable belongings.

You had to manufacture your own fun in Waltz, although there were very few things that were off limits. My own little world consisted of that small stretch of drive on Waltz Rd from Bell Rd down to Bud's party store. Come to think of it, I don't remember that they even sold beer at Bud's, so could it be considered a party store? I don't remember cigarettes or lottery tickets being sold there, either. They did sell three of my vices, however; baseball cards, faygo cream soda & combos. Most of my contributions to Wayne County's fledgling economy as a young lad went to Bud's. I went there just about every day in the summer, I'm sure the cashiers got sick of seeing me. The baseball field was the other place where I spent most of my time in the summer, however there were usually only 3 or 4 of us playing. It didn't matter, there were some epic games that went down on that little field.

Anyway, enough rambling for today. Enjoy some pictures of my fire pit's first outing from a couple of weeks ago, taken by Christie of course.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Thunder Road-Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Tortoise

Gethsemane-Richard Thompson, The Old Kit Bag

The Island-The Decemberists, the Crane Wife

Every Ghost Town Needs a Commission-Kevin Davis

Sixteen Maybe Less-Iron & Wine, In the Reins

Happy Summertime, friends!


In the Summertime, ah ah, in the summertime...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What's the matter with me? I ain't got much to say...

Maybe it's just me, but sometimes I have a strong desire to be sociable & to say whatever is on my mind to anybody who wants to hear it. Other times I don't feel like saying anything to anybody. Lately, the latter's been the case rather than the former. That reminds me of a couple lines from a couple of my favorite poets...

The man in me will hide sometimes to keep from bein' seen,

But that's just because he doesn't want to turn into some machine.
Took a woman like you
To get through to the man in me.

The Man in Me, Bob Dylan

Forget What Did

Stopping the diary
Was a stun to memory,
Was a blank starting,

One no longer cicatrised
By such words, such actions
As bleakened waking.

I wanted them over,
Hurried to burial
And looked back on

Like the wars & winters
Missing behind the windows
Of an opaque childhood.

And the empty pages?
Should they ever be filled
Let it be with observed

Celestial recurrences
The day the flowers come
and when the birds go.

Philip Larkin

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Girl in the War-Josh Ritter, The Animal Years

Ain't Talkin'-Bob Dylan, Modern Times

It Makes no Difference-The Band

Cellphone's Dead-Beck, the Information

Moving, Shaking-Great Lakes Swimmers

I can't write, I can't sing, I can't play
my inside's been broken
my inspiration has flown away
it's hard to see all the little things
there's a universe in a crack in a wall
or an ant crawling across the broken top
it's hard to see all the little things
when the big things get in the way...

Happy Tuesday, friends!


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Blues this mornin' fallin' down like hail...

I've been really into the blues lately. I don't know what it is, I've been in a pretty good mood. I'm not talking about the slick blues of folks like Stevie Ray Vaughan or Keb Mo', I'm talkin' blues that's got sharp edges to it, & that's so smoky it gets in your eyes.

There's just something about the blues that seeps into your soul. Pops Staples, the leader of the gospel group The Staples Singers was asked why he played his gospel songs in the smoky blues bars and he replied something to the effect of that when God looks down at the world he sure does get the blues. I think the blues was born out of the idea that if you're down & out you've got to dive head first into your troubles & sing about 'em before you can even think of getting out. And in singing about 'em you start to forget about 'em.

The local NPR station 'round here plays blues every friday & saturday night from 9:00 'til well into the morning. I spent many a night down in the valley listening to harvey mcknight & greg blubin play blues in the driveway. Good times.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Cry A While-Bob Dylan, 2002

Bob Dylan's done pretty good at the blues, sometimes he's imitating the greats, sometimes he is one of the greats. He's been playing the blues since his first album, but in this performance he finally sounds like the blues greats like Son House or Richard Brown. He looks like one, too. This version of this song displays everything I like about Bob Dylan these days. It's raw, angry, wise & ancient all at the same time.

St Louis Blues-Bessie Smith

I had no idea these videos existed. Fantastic.

Death Letter Blues-Son House

Yesterday When I Was Young-Charles Azanvour

Your Funeral My Trial-Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Got My Mojo Workin'-Muddy Waters & James Cotton

I've got the blues & ain't that bad, friends...


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

I can't help it if you might think I'm odd...

Happy Tuesday, friends. I just got home from work, & I just waved hello to the two elderly gentlemen I always see on my way home, as I do everyday. The one guy walks his dog seemingly all day long, just about every time I drive by, always on the same 50 yard stretch of drive. He's got one of them small yippy dogs that Christie likes so much. The other one is always sitting in front of his house, not doing much of anything. At first I thought these guys to be rather strange, but then I start to wonder what they're routine is. I wonder if they notice me drive by everyday around the same time. The fella who sits in front of the house at first looked rather puzzled when I first waved at him, but by now I get a regular wave. Perhaps they wonder what I'm doing, perhaps not.

The song I listened to today when I thought of these fellas is a song called I'll Keep it With Mine, written by a one Mr Bob Dylan for the beautiful German model/singer Nico. It always amazes me listening to songs like this & realizing that it was a song that was left off one of his greatest albums. Most any other songwriter would be happy to have this song as their defining masterpiece, but for Bob it was meant for someone else to sing. I'm not sure if this was intended for Nico to sing, or if it was directed at her. It works quite well, both ways. Both versions are stunning. Here's the lyrics.

I'll Keep it With Mine

You will search, babe,
At any cost.
But how long, babe,
Can you search for what's not lost?
Ev'rybody will help you,
Some people are very kind.
But if I can save you any time,
Come on, give it to me,
I'll keep it with mine.

I can't help it
If you might think I'm odd,
If I say I'm not loving you for what you are
But for what you're not.
Everybody will help you
Discover what you set out to find.
But if I can save you any time,
Come on, give it to me,
I'll keep it with mine.

The train leaves
At half past ten,
But it'll be back tomorrow,
Same time again.
The conductor he's weary,
He's still stuck on the line.
But if I can save you any time,
Come on, give it to me,
I'll keep it with mine.

Copyright © 1965; renewed 1993 Special Rider Music

This may just be the lamest blog I've ever had. Sorry to put you through it.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

You are a Runner & I am My Father's Son-Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary

I love it when songs toe the line between a great melody & complete chaos...

Hold on, Hold On-Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

I'll Keep it With Mine-Bob Dylan, Bringing it All Back Home Outtakes

Don't Let it Bring You Down-Neil Young

Your Funeral My Trial-Sonny Boy Williamson

I go back & forth between Sonny Boy & James Cotton, but for now I'm going to pick Sonny Boy as the best harp player to ever live. If you didn't have the blues before watching this, you sure will.

Happy Tuesday, friends...


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Grand Haven, Michigan
the sun shines on a dog's ass every now & then...