JUNE, 2007


Tuesday, May 1. 2007

After spending yesterday afternoon at the doctor's office for attention to the broken arm, I had to stay in and do a little housework this afternoon. A rainy day kept me from playing outside.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Today I went back to working on the garden. It was delightful to finally yank one stubborn stump that had been refusing to budge.


Saturday, May 5, 2007

These are the guys who set out to elevate jazz, raising it from saloon music to the concert hall. Fifty years ago the Modern Jazz Quartet was the epitome of coolness and musical sophistication, and remained so for over four decades. Sometimes I hear musicians who obviously have great talent and skill, but whose music I don't particularly enjoy. There's none of that here. The members of the MJQ have the requisite talent and skill, and I find their music satisfying and enjoyable. Drummer Mickey Roker, bassist Percy Heath, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, and pianist John Lewis, individually and collectively, are the best.

It was a good day in Okieland. I spent the day at the antique tractor show in Pawnee. It was cloudy, but not the mudfest of some previous years. This is always a good show, with a nice variety of equipment and interesting demonstrations. This year's featured tractor was Caterpillar, and it was interesting to see how some models were more plentiful than others. It will take some time to sort through all the pictures to pick out the best ones and get them posted.


Sunday, May 6, 2007

It was an afternoon well spent. I got my tomato plants in. I bought them Wednesday afternoon, and they rode around in the car until today. A few were drying out and getting droopy, but a little water got them standing up in an hour. I bought 18 plants for $6.39. I have no idea whether that will be enough plants to keep me from resorting to store bought tomatoes for a month or two. This year's gardening is experimental. Next time I should have some idea how much of what to plant.


Monday, May 7, 2007

Not much done today. By the time I got some groceries and ran a couple of other errands, the afternoon was pretty well shot. This evening I got started on sorting Pawnee photos.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I did some plow disassembly this afteroon, then dug up a little oak tree and transplanted it out by the west drive. We'll see if it survives. It seems oaks are tough to transplant. I've tried this several times before, and never had one survive.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

This afternoon's project was disassembly of the plow that's been sitting on my trailer since the middle of March. If I need to use the trailer, it will be easier to remove several separate assemblies than one heavy item. I suppose I'll restore the plow a few pieces at a time while I'm searching for the few missing parts I have to find to make it complete.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Most of the afternoon went into getting a new lens for my glasses at the eye doc's, getting cash at the bank, and enjoying a relaxing hour at the dentist's office.


Friday, May 11, 2007

After three days my litle tranplanted oak hasn't wilted, so maybe this one will survive the transplant.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

"I've become a living legend because everyone else has died," said Charles Brown. The number one male R&B singer from the late 40's and early 50's recorded Blues n' Brown at Modern/Kent Music Studios in Los Angeles in 1971. Among musicians featured in the session is Floyd Dixon, who plays piano in an upbeat/boogie style and shares the vocal on For You and Graveyard Song. The notes with this CD say it's "probably Johnny Moore" on guitar. Charles Brown is definitely a singer of the old school, which means he hits the notes and lets you understand the lyrics. "I like to bring the love first in my songs," he said, "not like modern songs that put sex above everything. I like to act out with my voice the meaning of the songs, which is why I sing the words so clearly. You have to set the mood, the same as music in movies help set the mood. My favorite singers were Pha Terrel with Andy Kirk and Helen O'Connell of Jimmy Dorsey's band because they enunciated the lyrics so well."

It was a warm and sunny day, and all the recent rain had the grass getting tall, so I mowed.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

After all the wet weather this spring, it looks like a big year for mosquitos, so I bought a couple cans of bug repellant. It was such a nice day I went for a little drive in the country. The back way to Dexter was very pretty. This evening the first lightning bugs of the season are out.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Went to see the doc this afternoon and got new x-rays of the arm. He said it's healing, but I'll have to wear the splint for at least another month "because we're getting older". I told him that's not fair.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I went to get my driver's license renewed today, then gassed up the car. All of that pretty well ate up the afternoon. When I got home, there was no dog again. I haven't seen him since I went to work Wednesday morning. Looks like I'm out another dog. It would be nice to get one to last more than a few months.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Today I unpacked the power lift unit for my 1937 WC tractor. It arrived yesterday and appears to have survived shipping in good condition. Now that I have this unit for the tractor, I'll need to find an implement for it to lift.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

The broken arm is mending, and feels enough better now that I spent the afternoon doing housework, including vacuuming the living room.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Another afternoon of housework. I've been putting it off so long that there's plenty to do.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

This is another of those bargain boxes I found at Wal-Mart. On five discs there are nine chamber music pieces, eleven piano solo pieces, twelve symphonies, eight piano concerti, and eleven serenades and divertimenti. That's an amazing amount of material for about ten dollars. As for the music, there's nothing new to say. The only composer better than Mozart is Beethoven, and the two are a study in contrast. Beethoven achieved sublime music through struggle, writing and rewriting, constantly revising until he could improve no more. For Mozart, the music was fully formed in his head and flowed through his hand and onto the page without changes, as if he were taking dictation from God. The result is some of the best music ever created, clever, inventive, beautiful.

Wow, what a surprise! After oversleeping for a few days, I got out and did my morning three miles today. I finished the three miles in 30:20, which is my second best time ever. I hope I can get my time down to 29:00, which is passing for guys 27 to 39 years of age. A time of 30:00 is passing for ages 40 to 45, so I'm still 46+.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Earlier this spring the pole supporting the wire to an old yard light rotted in the ground and was leaning over, prevented from falling all the way down only by the wire. One of today's chores was taking down the wire and the pole. Another afternoon activity was mowing along the road. While I was on a yard work roll, I also did some weed pulling.

By the way, my time for three miles this morning was 31:10. I probably need to shed some pounds to do any better.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Not much blogging material this week. Pulling weeds around the house, a little mowing, and a few other chores.


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Though she became better known for jazz and pop hits, Dinah Washington was no stranger to the blues. Born Ruth Lee Jones, she grew up playing the piano and singing in church. She began performing in night clubs at age fifteen, and joined Lionel Hampton's band while still a teenager. There's some confusion over whether it was Hamp or his manager who gave her the name Dinah Washington. Through the forties and fifties, her strong, high-pitched, penetrating voice and crystal clear diction made her a favorite recording artist known for blues, R&B, and jazz. In 1958, her recording of What a Difference a Day Makes became a huge pop hit, and she began recording a lot of ballads with big orchestra arrangements. She also recorded a series of duets with Brook Benton that produced some popular hits. At just 5'2" she had always battled a weight problem, and in 1963, at age 39, she died from an accidental overdose of diet pills and alcohol. Dinah Washington was a hugely influential singer, and just about everything she ever recorded is still available. This disk of twelve blues releases is a good starting point for a collection of great Washington recordings.

I was eleven again today. Recently I found a website where you can post a descripton of a book when you don't know the author or title, and somebody may be able to identify it. So I put up a description of a book I had in sixth grade. Happily, somebody recognized it from my description and I ordered a copy, whch came in today's mail. Engine Whistles is a reading text in novel form, and tells of daily life in a small prairie town. The first half centers on a boy named Tom living there about 1879. The second half is set in the same town in 1910. Now Tom is the father, and the story centers on his son. I sat down this afternoon and read the first couple hundred pages. It was interesting to see how some things are exactly as I remember them 55 years ago, and how I had completely forgotten other parts. Drawings in the margins, showing articles of daily life, are exactly as I remember them. I even found a couple of sentences I remembered almost word for word. On the other hand, I didn't remember the scene of boys listening to the men talk in grandmother's parlor. From the vantage point of half a century later, I remembered listening to Dad and my uncles and the other old timers who are all gone now, and it brought a tear to my eye. Buying this book was the best ten bucks I've spent in a long time. Now I think I'll get a copy of Singing Wheels, the preceding book in the series, which I've never seen.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Another rainy day. After grocery shopping, I read the rest of Engine Whistles. As a kid I assumed the story was set in Nebraska, because I knew there was a Hastings in that state. On second reading, I realized that the Hastings in the book is fictional. The name of the state is never mentioned , but the author was an elementary supervisor in Aurora Illinois, and the book was published by Row & Peterson in Evanston, so the descriptions of summer on the prairie surely apply to Illinois.





JUNE, 2007