Tuesday, September 28, 2004

This And That

I think I've finally managed to attract some mockingbirds to my yard. For nearly a month I've been hanging fruit (apples, oranges, etc.) from a tree in my yard. Last night I saw two large, white and black birds checking it out in the late afternoon. The days continue to shorten. The Saint James Art Fair is this weekend and next week is the New Albany Octoberfest usually a harbinger of rainy, dark, cool days. Mark and Patty called late last  night from Cincinnati. They were stuck there at the airport trying to get to New York. They couldn't land in Atlanta as planned because of the latest hurricane. They will be back this weekend for a couple of days so, we plan to attend the St. James Fair together.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Jet Set

The last three days have passed rather swiftly. Mark and Patty were married in the gazebo at Cherokee Triangle. Yardhog carried Patty's ring securely in his pocket despite Dottie Reese's worry that he might have a hole in his pocket. D performed her functions as "Maid of Honor" perfectly as usual. Ron Whitehead and Sarah Elizabeth, plus Mark's sisters there spouses and several attended. Afterwards, the wedding party was treated to a meal in the Pee Wee Reese Room at the Audubon Country Club. David Amram played piano and Sarah Elizabeth sang a couple of songs. Saturday morning Patty, Mark, David Amram and D and I had brunch at Lynn's Paradise Cafe. Then everyone came to our house and studio until Mark and Patty had to leave to take David back to the airport in time to catch his flight.
     David Amram is a living relic. In the hours we were together he talked of his experiences with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Jack Kerouac. Yesterday was spent mainly recovering from the excitement of the previous two days. The weather was totally gorgeous. I finally was able to ride my bike for about ten miles. Mark and Patty are leaving for New York today or tomorrow but will be back for a brief stay next week before going back to L.A.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Wedding Bells

Mark Reese and Patty Brand are to be married today in the Gazebo at 14OO Willow. They picked David Aram up at the airport last night but I haven't heard anything since. David will be giving the bride away. Yardhog will be "best man." Immediately afterwards there will be a reception at the Pee Wee Reese Room at the Audubon Country Club. It should be a wonderful evening.
     A bizarre mistake in the entertainment section of today's Courier. Gordon Brisker, who died two weeks ago, is listed as playing with the Dick Sisto trio tonight at the Seelbach. Maybe they are having a seance.
     My class at KSR last night went beautifully. The prisoners read their papers on the first two chapters of Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg Ohio." And there was passion in their prose. It's amazing to hear their reactions to Anderson's classic stories.
     KSR looks like the "land of broken convicts." Going through the security check yesterday I had to wait while two prisoners in wheel chairs were processed. One held his artificial limb in his lap while a guard removed his hand-cuffs and chains. There must be some mindless bureaucratic rule that all prisoners, even the disabled must be handcuffed. Out in the yard men limped past me on crutches and walkers. One man in a wheel chair asked me what I taught. When I told him he said," My wife has a Masters Degree in literature from the University of Kentucky." A strange sad world.

Thursday, September 23, 2004


This in my email today:


A prosperous future, increased earning power, more money and the respect of all is within your reach!
No required tests! No classes! No books!
Get a Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate (PHD.)
All the benefits of a university graduate can be yours.
No one is turned down.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

A Marvelous Night For A Moon Dance

A marvelous evening outside on the deck last night with Mark and Patty (soon to be Reese.) The late summer night sounds reminded Mark of his childhood in Kentucky. He says in L.A. they only have "one sick cricket." D prepared a wonderful pork roast and we consumed two large bottles of wine before entering into some insane polemics. The wedding should be wonderful.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Fenced In

Mark Reese and Patty flew into town yesterday on the early morning "redeye" flight. They'll be here all week for their marriage on Friday. Yardhog will be best man, D is maid of honor and the great David Aram will be giving away the bride.
     All this comes at a opportune time for he Hog since he was quickly falling into the abyss. Black twirlies were gathering around him.
     So far, the prison classes are not having the same effect as last year, although I may need to give it some time. Walking in the yard last night I noticed the numerous "warning signs" everywhere I looked. "Restricted Area," "No Communication with Prisoners in This Cell Block," "Failure to Comply Will Result in Disciplinary Report." No wonder these guys don't like to read.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Addendum - Take Me Out To The Ball Game

Regarding the Pee Reese story this morning. I sent it to Mark Reese in an email and he replied:

     "That was the last time my father ever went to a movie. I took him.
And he loved it. In fact, we were both teary eyed because we were thinking about our respective fathers and playing toss with them after they had left this earth. Ain't that something."

    On another sad note, Gordon Brisker, the great tenor saxophonist and flutist died Sunday night in his sleep in Cincinnati of pancreatic cancer.
I emailed him on Friday a note that said:

Gordon: I thought I'd drop you a line. I'd like you to know I think of you often. I don't know if you remember but I was with you at the Seelbach last spring when you told Dick Sisto about your illness. I'll never forget it. When ever anyone talks about illness, death or dying it's easy to fall into cliches and bullshit. So, I instead would like to give you a moment of deferential silence. Call it a prayer if you wish.
     I just got back from the Chicago Jazz Festival. Last friday they had a birthday tribute to Count Basie in Petrillo Shell. He would have been 100. On stage were a number of Basie alumni including Clark Terry in a wheelchair, Frank Wess, Benny Powell, Sid Catlett, Harold Jones and Buddy Defranco recreating the Kansas City 7. Then Frank Foster came out on a walker, he was felled by a stroke a few years ago, and made some announcements. My wife Deborah called it "geriactic" jazz. I called it sad. All my old heros going down the drain.
     Gordon, I've always been in awe of musicians and singers like you and Gail. Artists who have the kind of talent they can't teach in schools no matter how many Jamey Aebersold records they listen to. You have a wonderful gift that you've shared with people lucky enough to recognize your talents, although they may be small in number.
     I wish you could have been here to accompany Gail for Sunday's concert. Your club date together in Cincinnati at the Blue Wisp was the best I've ever heard her. Much love and thank you for being my friend. Danny

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

A huge hurricane is bearing down on New Orleans and the Gulf as I write this. Our weather is moderate as it has been all summer. The Showcase Cinema Complex on Bardstown Road closed yesterday. An article in the Courier this morning quoted one man who remembered viewing the baseball drama "Field of Dreams" and upon leaving the theater spied an older man wiping away tears. What made the event memorable was that man was Pee Wee Reese. Mark Reese and Patty will be in Louisville in the next few days to be married in Cherokee Park. D is making all the arrangements. I  hope the hurricane doesn't arrive before they do.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Not So Wild Weekend

Jazz singer Gail Wynters gave a wonderful "caberet" concert last night at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. Backed by pianist Harry Pickins, bassist Tyrone Wheeler and drummer Colby Inzer, Gail sang her heart out as usual. It was a family affair. At one point she was joined by two of her sisters and later her son Trip, a percussionist.
     Despite absolutely no press coverage, the concert was well attended. Probably due to fact that it was part of a music series at the center that is pre-booked. Outside of that interlude the weekend, although beautiful weather wise, was uneventful. It's always like this after my late summer Chicago trip. While bike riding yesterday I had a flat tire in front of Mayor Jerry Ambramson's house. I don't know if there is any hidden meaning in that or not. As the light wanes the Hog deflates just like his back tire. At the concert last night I shared a table with Maggie Reily, a local actress who was in one of Mark Reese's Inonesco plays 10 or more years ago. Reily is 80 years old and quite a wonder. Youthful and alive.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Chicago Serenade

Ruminating on the Chicago Fest yesterday. It's a end of summer tradition and therefore sort of sad. I couldn't remember if I had gone last year until I looked in my journal last night. And sure enough I was there. D and I went in early on Thursday last year and caught Ira Sullivan at the JazzShowcase on Thursday.
     But back to the present. Friday night we saw a birthday tribute to Count Basie ( it would be his 100th) in Petrillo Shell.  They assembled a group of Basie Alumni for a re-creation of his small band the Kansas City 7. They came out on stage in wheel chairs and walkers and did a fine job of bringing back the Count's spirit to Grant Park. The great  Clark Terry, who I remember as a young, flashy dressed trumpeter playing in concert on Guithre Green in Louisville in 1966 with an orchestra made-up of Louisville's finest including drummer John Roy and saxophonist Bobby Jones, looked very old and frail parked in a wheel chair on the far side of the stage.
     Tenor saxophonist, flutist Frank Wess was also in the group plus clarinetist Buddy Defranco, who never seems to change except his black pombadour is now white instead of black.
     Other members of the group included trombonist Benny Powell and bassist Sid Catlett.
And drummer Harold Jones, who I remember seeing with Basie in 1969.
     Then the great saxophonist and arranger Frank Foster, who was sidelined by a stroke a few years ago, limped on-to the stage and announced a few of the numbers.
     D called it geriactic jazz. I call it sad. All my old heros going down the drain.
     Sunday morning I went to the Jazzmart's annual free jazz brunch. Free Chicago jazz saxophonists Fred Anderson (owner of the Velvet Lounge) blew the roof down. Free, frenetic jazz the first thing Sunday morning. Only in Chicago.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

Convention Blues

In Lexington all week at a "convention." A perfect way to waste an entire week. BORING! So boring I was praying for a tidal wave or a hurricane to hit the hotel. But no such luck in Kentucky. The light is failing. We just turned the corner of September but the cool, cloudy weather is saying Fall is just around the corner. I slept walked through last week's Chicago trip. I've been trying to remember just what I did. But it's all sort of a blur. Got into the city early Friday morning. Went to the Jazzmart and bookstore and had lunch at the Thai restaurant next door. Then walked down to hear the early afternoon Jazzfest sessions in Grant Park at Jackson Square. Alto saxophonist, flutist Jerry Dogion was on stage when I got there. An old bebop pro who has played with all the old masters. But his set was rather tepid. Next up a local group modeled on the old Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan piano-less Quartet with another attractive female musician. This time playing the unwieldy, strictly unfeminine baritone sax but doing a great job.
    Wasted most of the day time Saturday drinking Margaritas at Sui Casa and then passing out for a couple of hours before leaving for Petrillo Shell with D for the night time concert.
(To be continued.)

Thursday, September 2, 2004

Going To Chicago

Off to Chi-town in the morning for another Jazz Fest in Grant Park. D and I have been making the trip every year since 87, except for a couple of years when either the weather or circumstances (a political convention one year)prevented. We usually have a good time and it's a good end-of-summer marker. In 1981, the first year we attended, so many of the greats were still alive and kicking. Count Basie's Band was featured with Joe Williams, who was subbing for Helen Humes, who died that year. Also the great Dexter Gordon was the featured act at the Jazz Showcase and admission was free, or reduced for those staying at the Blackstone. So many of the greats gone now that were featured in Grant Park over the years. As Ben Webster said so many years ago, "We're all dropping like flies."

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Prose Power

A good turn out for my second class at KSR last night. Twenty students read aloud from their papers assigned last week that included their most intense moments and thoughts on Mongo Bear Wolf's "Man in his Cocoon."
     I was told when I first started teaching at KSR that the prisoners were secretive and would not want to read their papers out loud to their class mates. Quite the contrary. In three years I've had only a couple of students who complained. It really is a catharsis for most of them. And once they get started look out.
     Last night two of the men actually wept during their readings. One fellow wrote about his beautiful wife who died of cancer in front of him and his two children. Another wrote about his dead mother who he adored. The others wrote about their crimes or seeing their children born. All of the writing was heartfelt and all the men listened in respectful silence.
     What they witnessed was the power of prose. Carefully written, emotional descriptions of the their lives that at times approached poetry.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Bird Lives

Today is the birthday of the one and only Charlie Parker. Another August baby. This is indeed a strange month. Cloudy, cool and Fall-like this morning. The Hog has rather dull weekend which I guess is fitting considering last week was the birthday bash and later this week I'll be in Chicago. Interesting line-up for the JazzFest in Grant Park this year. Two 100 year birthday tributes one for Count Basie the other for Coleman Hawkins, both who I was fortunate enough to see perform.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Boots and Cowboys

Twenty-one new students in my class last night at KSR. Thursday night the class is split between regular and Tech students. I seldom can tell the difference. I'm always amazed at how deferential they are during my opening "lecture." And when I give them their first writing exercise, "Take 30 minutes and write down your most intense life-time experience. That moment when you felt most ALIVE," they go nuts. Sometimes I feel like the most intense moment in their lives was when some crazy professor asked them to write down and then read out loud to their fellow classmates their most intense moment.
     One older, gray haired man in a wheel chair kept looking at me while the others were writing. Finally he said, "Your wearing cowboy boots. Do ride a motorcycle or a horse." "Neither" I said, I just find them to be comfortable. "Yeah I know, I used to wear them every day before I went to prison," he said.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hot Salsa Addendum

A couple of notes on last night. The salsa band I was trying to think of is Timbason. Maybe Yardhog had too many mohitas last night. They were on special and he couldn't resist. According to D, mohitas are the current "in" drink. An unusual combination of rum and mint. Sort of a Cuban Mint Julep. Lots of jazzers in the crowd last night including Ken Clay, Jamey Aebersold, Marty Sussman and Patty Bailey.
     There has been a dramatic sea change in the Louisville jazz scene since the early days of clubs like Washington St., On Broadway and Just Jazz. I don't know where the people are coming from but they turn out in large numbers on week  day nights to hear jazz and other alternative music.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Hog Logs On

Yardhog's birthday month celebration continues tonight at the Jazz Factory with a performance by saxophonist Jane Bunnet and her Cuban band. I first saw Bunnet last year in Chicago at the Hot House, one of that city's most interesting venues for international music. I hope to get some good photos with my new digital camera. For some reason I've been taking a lot of photos lately of attractive female musicians and singers. At the Jazzfest Sunday I got a wonderful shot of singer Sonia Hensley in a short yellow mini dress and matching high heels. Bunnet is also a very attractive woman, although not as flashy Hensley. I remember I couldn't take my eyes off of her in Chicago. It's always amazing to me that someone who is beautiful and wonderful to look at, can also be a great musician.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


"Losing hope is not so bad. There is something worse: losing hope and hiding it from yourself."

                             Walker Percy
                             "The Moviegoer"

School Days

"I have discovered that most people have no one to talk to, no one that is, who really wants to listen. When it does at last dawn on a man that you really want to hear about his business, the look that comes over his face is something to see."
                           Walker Percy
                           "The Moviegoer"

     Nineteen students showed up last night for my class at KSR. Let's see how many stay when they find out they'll have to do a two page paper after each meeting, plus read it aloud to their class-mates. I explained to them that my classes are like jam sessions and everyone will have a chance to solo.
     Walking by the large, imposing brick building with broken windows that serves as the "hole" at the prison last night. One of the inmates yell's at me "Hey, you a preacher man?
In a way, I guess I am.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Hog Heaven Addendum

Going through the check out lane at Kroger's today a headline on a tabloid screamed "Repent or Yea Shall Surely Perish." Actually, to born is to surely perish. So, NOW IS THE TIME.

Hog Heaven

Yardhog's birthday weekend ended last night with a spectacular Jazzfest on the belvedere. Vocalist Sonia Hensley, a graduate of Louisville's Brown School who moved on to bigger things, including a stint with Mercer Ellington, sang and danced like a pro. In a short yellow, mini dress she belted out songs like "Besa Me Mucho" and "Moon Dance." Backed by the superb rhythmn team of bassist Tyrone Wheeler and drummer Colby Inzer. His father, Denny, would have been proud. The concert ended with the legendary alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson's band featuring Dr. Lonnie Smith, one of  world's greatest masters of the B3 organ. This was definitely the best concert I've seen this year. The Hog ended the night by stopping at Indies and ordering a large dinner of spicy fried chicken, wedges and peach cobbler. Shear ambrosia!

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Truths and Birthday Trivia

2004-08-22 17:09:35</logtime>

"God ain't no white bearded man up in the sky somewhere. He's a spirit. He ain't got no body... The only body he's got is us."

                         Brother Carl Porter,

"The poet hath the child's sight in his breast,
And sees all new. What oftenest he has viewed,
He views with the first glory. Fair and good
Pall never on him at the fairest, best,
But stand before him holy, and undressed
in week-day false conventions, such as would
Drag other men down from the altitude
Of primal types, too early dispossessed.
Why, God would tire of all his heavens as soon
As thou, O godlike, childlike poet, didst
Of daily and nightly sights of sun and moon;
And therefore hath He set thee in the midst,
Where men may hear thy wonder's ceaseless tune,
And praise His world forever as thou bidst."

                       Elizabeth Barret Browning


 A glorious weekend. Yardhog is now  officially 57 years alive. D gave him a raku pot engraved with a woman's face, he had actually picked out for himself several weeks ago after seeing it at a shop on Frankfort Ave. He told the owner to put it away for safe keeping until D purchased it for his birthday. Sometimes you just can't take any chances.

Friday, August 20, 2004

What Is This Thing Called Life?

Today is the begining of "Yardhog's Commemorative Birthday Weekend." Which the Hog will spend celebrating the mystery of LIFE. "What is this thing called life, this funny thing called life. Who knows the mystery, it's made fool of me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Crepuscular With Yardhog

Ten more invigorating miles on my bike last night after an hour workout with weights in the gym.      
     As the Hog's birthday approaches (August 22) he can't help but wonder what all the fuss is about. The world would be much better off if instead of people asking how old you were they would ask "How alive are you?"
     Sitting last night watching a male and female cardinal make out on my bird feeder. Actually the male was feeding the female. He'd take a few seeds from the feeder then jump up to where she was perched and gently place them in her beak. They perform this loving ritual every night. Cardinals are crepuscular feeders, preferring twilight or just before sunrise. Some say this may be because of their bright plumage.
     After the cardinals left the stage was taken over by four or five brown bats soaring high above my deck.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

If you want to be in the play, don't forget your lines

Ever notice how people communicate, or should I say don't communicate in groups. Fellow came up to me today, who hardly knows me, and said "boy they're always giving you a hard time aren't they?" My reaction is rather slow to blather so, for a split, rather scary second he and I just stood our ground and looked at each another. He's expecting me to respond with some mindless cliche and I'm looking at him like he's totally fucking nuts. I wanted to say "Don't you realize man, I'm not in the play. I didn't study my lines and I don't have a clue what you're talking about!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Burroughs' Truths

"We make truth. Nobody else makes it."

"Writers are very powerful. They can write and "unwrite" the script for the reality film."

"Every object you touch is alive with your life and your will."

"Whites are the only ethnic group that marshaled an army before they had an enemy."

"To speak is to lie--to live is to collaborate."

                              William Burroughs

Just For Jolly

When asked by the police why he committed all his horrible crimes the Boston Strangler replied "Just for jolly." That's the same reason I keep this journal.

Sunday, August 15, 2004


According to an article in the Courier, that word was coined by  a psychotherapist to define "the clinical fear of Friday the 13th." The dreaded day went fine for the Hog. I purchased a new Trek bicycle to replace my ten year old Schwinn and as of today logged 52 miles.
     I just returned from a 4 hour ride that took me from Saint Matthews to Cox Park to Waterfront Park, then Portland to the lily pad pond in Shawnee Park. It's been a couple of years since I made that trip and I'd forgotten just how far it is.
     Riding a bicycle works on the mid-section. Flattens and tightens the stomach, the body's center. I haven't lost any weight this summer but my stomach is tight as a drum.
     My luck hasn't been bad just hilarious. Yesterday I opened a fortune cookie and got a misprinted fortune. "There's no greater pleasure than seeing your lived ones (sic) prosper."
School hasn't even started and I'm already having to read bad sentences.
     Picked up a beautiful book half price at CarMical's yesterday. A bio of Marie Laveau the New Orleans Voodoo Queen published the University of Mississippi Press.
     The weather continues to be heavenly. I've never experienced an August like this in my life time.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Reality Check

There is no such thing as sanity, only varying degrees of insanity. To be human is to be insane, and those most in touch with reality are the worst off.

Luck Would Have It

Last night the preternaturally cool summer day was ended by a spectacular rosy sunset sunset on one side of the horizon and a rainbow on the other. Quite a sight. The Yardhog was already buzzing, having just survived a breakdown on I-64 in the Hogmobile. The car stopped just in time for him to seek the left shoulder lane and hop out for a two mile walk to the Hurstbourne exit. But a good Samaritan in a SUV picked him up and not only took him to the nearest service station but let the Hog use his cell phone to call road service and then took him back his car to wait. The fellow sacrificed  a sizable portion of his day to the Hog's rescue. What wonders! The tow truck driver, who happened to be a woman (do we see a pattern here?) also did a wondrous job in saving the Hog from harm. All this while thousands of rush hour crazed drivers drove by at high rates of speed. Oh I'm a lucky Porker!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Endless Fox Hunt

When you are on a search (D.H. Lawrence compared it to an endless fox hunt, where the fox is never caught but the joy is in the chase)
Every moment of your life has meaning. There are no coincidences. You live in synchronicity.

The Search

"The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. This morning, for example, I felt as if I had come to myself on a strange island. And what does such a castaway do? Why, he pokes around the neighborhood and he doesn't miss a trick.
     To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. NOT TO BE ONTO SOMETHING IS TO BE IN DESPAIR."

                                                Walker Percy
                                                "The Moviegoer"

"And this is the simple truth: that to live is to feel oneself lost. The ideas of the shipwrecked are the only genuine ideas. All else is rhetoric, posturing, farce."
                                            Soren Kierkegaard

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Enigma - Addendum


A strange,
 clown faced man
    performs perversions
      and sells choir robes
             in his

Ape Rape

Faye Ray, the original "Damsel in Distress" died in her apartment in Manhattan yesterday. She was 96. She said over the years she'd grown to see a spiritual side to her confrontation with the big ape Kong. Here was this creature that had such power to destroy and yet he had the capacity to appreciate beauty, she said. Actually I think he really wanted to ravish and do sundry unmentionable things to her body. It's just hard to do that while clinging to skyscraper tower and being attacked by numerous fighter planes.

Monday, August 9, 2004

Knife Play


An elderly couple at Wal-Mart
trying to operate a digital photo machine.
She's fumbling with the controls as he looks over her shoulder.
"I can't figure this damn thing out," she complains.
"We've already wasted 45 minutes!" he fumes.
Suddenly a voice comes over the store's p.a. system.
"Today everyone in the store will be given a free stainless steel paring knife."

Bird Droppings

Yesterday morning, around 7 a.m. a flock of geese flew over my house. And when I drove over to Winn Dixie for some coffee I saw a crow as big as a turkey pick up a piece of carrion on the street and fly off with it clasped tightly in its greedy beak. People fight wars, seek money, pleasure, fame. The birds continue...
     Saturday night I went to ParkSide a little night club tucked in one corner of the new ball park downtown. Gail Wynters was singing with guitarist Greg Walker and three other musicians. Gail was great as always. Unfortunately the p.a. was terrible and distorted her voice.
     The acoustic bassist was a lovely, little brunette girl, who couldn't take her dark eyes off the lead sheet in front of her. It was probably the first time I ever enjoyed just looking at at bass player sexist pig that I am.
A few minutes into the set drummer Rob Williams came in and told me she was his girl friend. Rob plays drums in my band Lush Life and is a wild man. I'm glad he's found a woman to calm him down. And on top of that she's a good bass player!

Saturday, August 7, 2004

God Is Pooh Bear

You might be asking. What was all that Winnie the Poo stuff about yesterday. Well, I'll tell you. I was at lunch yesterday in Frankfort and passed a table in front of a little flea market store. And sitting on the table was a brightly colored purple, red and green plastic lunch box made to resemble a house, with a banner that read "Poo's House." And sure enough, standing out front was the Bear with Little Brain. It only cost $6 and I had to buy it. Because I kept hearing Jack Kerouac's voice reciting the from the last paragraph of "On the Road."
     "So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all the raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars will be out, and don't you know that God is Pooh Bear?"

Friday, August 6, 2004

Crustimony Proseedcake

"What does Crustimoney Proseedcake" mean because I am a bear of little brain and big words bother me."
                                       Winnie the Pooh

     Our favorite local columnist and mangler of the language C.D. Yaplan is up to his old tricks. Yesterday while waiting in line at a fast food eatery I made the mistake of picking up a LEO and found my self perusing (wait a minute I'm starting to sound like him) "reading" his column.
     He was ranting  about the recent Baxter Ave. nightlife fiasco and comparing it to Frankfort Ave. back in the old days when he used to drink and chase women. Neither of which he indulges in today, the first for health reasons and the second for, well you HAVE seen the photo adorning his column.
     C.D. likes to use big polysyllabic words to prove how smart he is. Trouble is, he don't have no rhythm and he sings off key. The fact that he has inflicted his ego on local readers for so long must point to fact of some strange, perverted relationship he has with the publisher. BUT I AM A HOG OF LITTLE BRAIN AND BIG WORDS BOTHER ME! luv, Yardhog

Birds, Babes and White Castles

Warning: Never drink five martinis late at night and chase them with five White Castle grease bombs. It's not a pretty picture.
     Instead of riding my bike last night I decided to go to the Jazz Factory downtown and catch Pete Peterson. I called singer Gayle Wynters earlier in the day and she met me there. Pete was playing with a trio led by Jamaican drummer Hugh Peterson (no relation) and featuring tenor saxophonist Tim Whalen, and young bass player. I can't remember his name.
     Pete kicked ass on the club's big Yamaha grand. And I got some great pictures with my new digital camera, although I'm still learning and all thumbs.
     Gayle had great news. Pianist Roger Kellaway, for those who don't know his outstanding jazz credentials, he's the guy who composed and played the opening piano theme on the 1970s tv show "All In the Family," is wanting her to record a new cd with him of Cole Porter songs at Vic's a jazz club in Santa Monica, California. He loves Gail's singing and wrote to her in an email that they should have performed the music in the recent Cole Porter film "Da' Lovely." He said even Natalie Cole couldn't over-come the lousy arrangements used in that flick.
     Yesterday before I left for the club I went to Winn Dixie in Saint Matthews, which is located in the middle of what was formerly a horse farm before suburbia encroached. The paved lot, which contains several large stores, is still the home of many birds including mallard ducks, crows and a little bird, I forget its name, that resembles a sand piper.
     Last night the lot was full of these tiny creatures. There were also several colorful, old customized cars from the Classic Car show that's in town this weekend. Lots of eye candy. All you have to do is PAY ATTENTION.
     There was so much to look at that I nearly missed seeing a young, attractive woman in a Hooters t-shirt holding hands with her boy friend at the super market's entrance. But she was just a cliche, a distraction. Everybody looks at a  pretty girl.

Thursday, August 5, 2004

Addendum For Pete

Here's a quote from an article by Marc Stone from this month's edition of New Orlean's OffBeat magazine:

"Pianist Mike Hood grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and caught the music bug while still in junior high school when a friend's dad showed him how to play the organ parts to the Doors "Light My Fire." From there he began to teach himself, following his keen ear and the advice of older players. "I'm mostly self-taught, I guess but with a whole lot of help from the outside."
     "I didn't take lessons, I went out and bought books, and one day I actually did, I took lessons from a guy named Pete Peterson, who gave lessons where I later taught, at Mom's Music (in Louisville). I took about two lessons from him but I but I got away from it."

It's A Slippery Slope

Last night, before the latest cold front rolled in, I was feeling rather tired but instead of lying down I hopped on my bike and did a quick 10 mile ride in the park. It worked wonders, got me completely out of funk city.
     I'm going to miss it when the days become short in the Fall and I won't be able to use this therapy. Walking doesn't do it. I'm sure there's some advantage but it's not stressful enough to get the heart pumping and the endorphins going.
     Yesterday I bought a new helmet and a pair of bike gloves. The old ones I hadn't replaced in years and they were getting pretty funky. The gloves stunk to high heaven and my old helmet looked like something a street person in Chicago would wear. Today I'll work out with weights in the gym for an hour and then do another ride tonight.
     Had a close call this morning I was backing out of my drive-way when I suddenly remembered I needed gas, which caused me to stop for a split second. Just then a car whizzed past going at least 40 miles an hour. If I hadn't stopped I'd probably be a dead man. Moments like that make you think and come up with old cliches like "I guess it wasn't my time."
     Speaking of death I'm currently reading "It's a Slippery Slope." by the late monologist Spalding Gray. I picked the book up two years ago because of the title before I ever heard of Gray. I had a little intrigue with one of my muses on her front porch one night and she warned me "We are approaching a slippery slope!"
So, when I saw the title on the remainder table at Hawley Cooke I bought it to give her. Luckily I didn't so, two years later I discover it's by Spalding Gray, who I just learned of after his suicide earlier this year. Gray's mother committed suicide in her early 50s and he seems to have a morbid wish to join her. Early in the book he quotes from Becker's "Denial of Death."
     "The irony of man's condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation--but it is life itself that awakens this anxiety, and so we shrink from being fully alive."
     Being fully alive is something you have to work on every day.
     I keep waking up about 3 a.m. every morning with mini-panic attacks. Not fully blown, I don't have to jump in the car and drive around town in the middle of the night like a maniac trying to out run my angst. I just turn the tv on and let its babble wash over me. I don't really watch it of course, too inane. But this morning I turned it on and there was Little Joe Cartwright with a full head of hair and Dean Martin on his old tv variety show. It was an advertisement for a DVD that featured Martin and his show from the 1960s. Later clips showed him with Ethel Merman, Frank Sinatra and all these other dead stars. They all looked so alive and healthy. Boy, if they'd only known what was waiting in the wings. luv, yardhog

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Summer Musings

I'm starting to enjoy the benefits of 14 months of house renovation. Last night I was sitting at my new granite breakfast bar, when I realized the two rooms together have an altogether different acoustic balance. By sitting further away from the speakers you get the effect of being in an actual nightclub sitting at the bar facing the bandstand. The sensation is exquisite.
     At the same time I could look out into the yard and see at the birdfeeders - Get This - black-caped chickadees, tufted tit mice, cardinals, doves, robins, woodpeckers and an occassional hummingbird.  Plus squirrels and chipmunks feeding on the ground. A much better show than "Thunder Over Louisville."
     These are re-cyclable natural pets. They don't cost anything. You don't have to walk them in the morning, take them to the vet and if they die they're immediately replaced. COOL! D said it would be a good thing if husbands were like that.
     Pianist Pete Peterson is playing at the Jazz Factory downtown tonight and tomorrow. I was reading an article in New Orlean's "OffBeat" magazine yesterday that mentioned Pete. The piano player being profiled, a fellow named Hood, I forgot his first name, said the only piano lesson he had ever taken was from a guy named Pete Petterson at Mom's Music in Louisville.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Prison All The Time


     I've always thought that working for state government and the prison system had a lot of similarities. Like every morning I have to unlock three large doors to gain access to my office. And there are always several prisoners from the state rehabilitation center working on the grounds in their distinctive brown prison garb.
     Today I had a further confirmation. I was driving through the guard shack at the base. Each time I pass through there I have to show my picture I.D. to a female soldier dressed in camouflage, despite the fact I drive the only blue sports car in the agency, wear three ear rings and always wear a loud Hawaiian shirt. Today when I was asked for my i.d. I gave her the one I use at the prison that has a photo of the Kentucky State Reformatory prison tower coming out of the back of my head. "JCC Professor" it says officially. Although the prison secretary that made it for me three years ago wasn't really concerned. "What do you want on your I.D. Sir? "Oh, JCC Clown," I might have told her. Anyway, when I showed the guard my card she smiled broadly and said " How about that, I'm a security guard at Luther Luckett Prison. Been there nine years. It's a small world."  I thought I recognized that lady!


The other day I was having lunch at my favorite, next door Mexican eatery and I couldn't help but notice that everyone in the room must have been over 70. The fellow sitting with his aged wife across from me had something wrong with his throat (probably from smoking) and everytime he spoke he would emit a low gurgle. One lady sitting with her friends at a table was so bent that her face was practically  lying in her plate. I felt like I was in a nursing home. What bothered me most though, was the fact that this was all rather up-setting to me, almost ruined my meal.

Monday, August 2, 2004

Blogging Along

Long time no blog... Too many distractions, mainly preparation for last night's open house, which was a resounding success. Among the exalted guests were singers Gayle Wynters, Vickie True, poets Bill Smith, Ron Whitehead and Elizabeth, photographer John Hill and pianist Pete Peterson. Not bad considering it was really D's soiree, celebrating the completion of a project that she fully orchestrated and paid for. (My own "Mid-Summer's Night Dream will be coming up in a couple of weeks.) It's been a trying 14 months. What I really enjoyed last night were the reactions of everyone as they took in all the photos, paintings, books, music, sculptures, etc, etc. As I said last night, you can not look in any direction in any room of the house that there isn't a story. But where oh, where was the Guru of Bardstown Road. Missing in action?

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Mistaken Identity

The yardhog was doing his normal Sunday bike ride on River Road this morning when he noticed a number of other cyclists passing him at a great rate of speed. Several of them were wearing bathing suits. And some gave him high five signs as they passed and yelled things like "Isn't this Great!"  and "Come on you can make it!"
     Turns out the Hog had been mistaken for one of the participants in today's River City Triathlon. The bikers who had passed him were in the process of finishing a 20 mile ride to Prospect that had been preceded by a quick swim across the Ohio River. The final leg of their tour was a foot race.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Flying Home

Yardhog is going through some serious chemical changes. Tittering on the precipice of a panic attack. Too much pent up energy and no immediate outlets. It will pass.
Illinois Jacquet the great tenor saxophonist died of a heart attack in his home in New York yesterday. He was 81 years old and had been leading a band nearly up until the end. He was mostly known for his famous boisterous solo on "Flying Home" with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. The song was a national hit and Jacquet was forced to play it almost every night with the Hampton Band. According to the article this morning that's what made him leave the Hampton Orchestra two years later claiming physical exhaustion. He said later in an interview. "I had to quit. Hamp was getting rich and I was dying." Jacquet and drummer Joe Jones had trio with my friend organist/pianist Milt Buckner in the 1970s. Milt died around 1975, lugging his Hammond B3 organ down the steps of Joe Segal's Jazzshowcase in Chicago, but Jacquet seemed to go on and on. According the obituary this morning he was born in Louisiana, the son of an American Indian mother and a French Creole father. Can you think of a better lineage for a jazz musician? Heard about his death this morning after hearing him on a 1956 recording with Ben Webster entitled "The Kid and the Brute" they were playing on WNOZ New Orleans radio. Jacquet was one of the last great Texas tenors that included the likes of Arnette Cobb and Buddy Tate. Ain't none of them left now.
     Got an email the other day from the president of the Louisville Bicycle Club. The young man I saw in the accident Monday night is apparently doing okay. He broke several bones in his arms and hand. Thanks to the gods.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


2004-07-20 12:41:51</logtime>

Horrible incident last night in Seneca Park during my bike ride. I was coming back from Big Rock and had just made the turn off of Pee Wee Reese Lane when a large group of bikers (probably the Louisville Wheelmen) streaked past me. I was anticipating a few stragglers coming up from back when I heard a loud thud. When I turned around there was a young bicyclist lying in the middle of the road bloody in a ball moaning loudly and complaining he had no feeling in his legs. People were already gathered around him offering aid. He evidently turned directly into a car coming in the opposite direction. The car, which was driven by a woman, and the cyclist hit head on. There was no screeching of tires. The lady  didn't have time to brake and he took the full impact. In recent months there have been several cyclists struck in that same area of the park. And plans are currently under way to change the traffic pattern there.
     One of the dangers of riding in large groups is that some less experienced  riders have trouble keeping up with the pace and often take unnecessary chances that can cause serious accidents. In any case, it was the worst accident I've seen in ten years of bike riding and I'm still in shock.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Bird Brain

Yesterday, a backyard phantasmagorical bonanza of birds. Finches , flycatchers, robins, cardinals, hairy woodpeckers, doves, gold finches etc, etc.
     48 miles on bike last week despite five day power black out. Beautiful cool summer weather.

Thursday, July 15, 2004


The most violent weather to hit the  Louisville area since 1974 has thrown the Hog off a bit in the last few days. Tuesday night a severe thunderstorm with hurricane force 75 plus winds knocked all our power out for the last two days but thankfully didn't cause any house or tree damage. According to the morning paper all this severe weather is due to an unusual weather pattern that has the Midwest locked into a type of severe weather cycle we normally only experience during the spring. Unfortunately they predict more is yet to come.

Monday, July 12, 2004


Sixty two miles covered on my bike last week. Yesterday a 32 mile ride along the river from Cox Park to Portland. All before the blazing hot weather began in the afternoon. Summer is here.

Friday, July 9, 2004

A Poem For D

Religion is That I Love You

As time will turn our bodies straight
In single sleep, the hunger fed, heart broken
Like a bottle used by thieves

Beloved, as so late our mouths meet, leaning
Our faces close, eyes closed
Out there

     outside this window where branches toss
     in soft wind, where birds move sudden wings
Within this lame air, love, we are dying

Let us watch that sleep come, put our fingers
Through the breath falling from us

Living, we can love though dying comes near
It is its desperate singing that we must not hear

It is that we cling together, not dying near each other now.
                                Kenneth Patchen

Cafe Lou Lou

Setting in Cafe Lou Lou last night with D when we were suddenly approached by a local singer/poet who was outraged that the new restaurant's sign had replaced the old "Black Cat" logo on the awning.
"I'll never eat in this restaurant again," he yelled storming out the door. What a DRAMA QUEEN! I think the real reason for his outrage lies in the fact that the old restaurant featured live music six nights a week while the new place has a no entertainment policy except when local madmen like the fore-mentioned musician decide to provide an impromptu floor show.


The Stars Go to Sleep so Peacefully

The stars go to sleep so peacefully...
Their high gentle eyes closing the white flowers
In a child's dream of paradise.

With the morning, in house after grim house,
In a haze of money, proper to kiss kiss their war,
These noble little fools awake.

O the soul of the world is dead...
Truth rots in a bloody ditch;
And love is impaled on a million bayonets

But great God! the stars go to sleep so peacefully

                                 Kenneth Patchen

Tuesday, July 6, 2004


A couple of bike riding images from the last two days. Six young girls exercising atop large balls inside a shelter in Cherokee Park. Strange sight at 8 in the morning.
     A lone, ancient, shaggy dog limping on one foot on River Road walking toward downtown.
     Cox Park strewn with morning after 4th of July firework trash.
     Slum: Carny word for cheap trinkets won at booths.

Friday, July 2, 2004


"My sympathy is always with the shark. At least the shark is sincere and honest with his intentions, whereas Homo Sap conceals himself behind veils of evasion, as he or she dances an unsightly can-can...
     Someone long ago starts singing this:
     "Temperature's rising, it isn't surprising, she certainly can Can-Can."
                                               William Burroughs
                                               "Last Words"

Thursday, July 1, 2004


Another great 10 mile ride in Cherokee Park last night. It's wonderful how it stays light until after 9 p.m. this time of year. I feel as though I want to soak up all the elements in the air. Riding in the evening my skin feels soaked in the soup of  life. Not sitting encapsulated in a air conditioned house or automobile but out in the air with the birds, bugs and bees. FULLY ALIVE!     Just had a wonderful compliment from a fellow office worker. He said some of the women in the office were raving about an attractive UPS delivery man. The women said they bet all the men in the office were envious of this guy. He told them "I bet Danny's not envious."
HOW DID HE KNOW? luv, yardhog

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Jamey Jazz

Jamey Aebersold did his usual summer thing at Masterson's restaurant. He produced a night of great jazz featuring members of his UL Jazz Summer Camp. Tenor saxophonists Gene Walker and Don Braden were the highlight of the evening backed by a wonderful guitarist, organ and drummer ( I didn't get their names.) Walker's sound is a dead ringer for Gene Ammons. JUG LIVES!

Monday, June 28, 2004


28 June 2004 @ 09:12 am

During a 25 mile bike ride yesterday, Yardhog paused a moment in Riverfront Park and was entertained by a young Mockingbird, nature's own jazz musician. Although these birds don't really improvise, but merely mimic other birds. If any true improvisation is involved it must be song selection.
Yesterday's experience was unique because of the bird's proximity. He was sitting in a tree not five feet from the Hog. His little beak opening and closing singing his song.

luv, yardhog

Friday, June 25, 2004

We are all Heros - a good one by a local boy

25 June 2004 @ 03:12 pm

that special bond of people
united by crisis bigger than themselves--
soldiers surrounded by brutal thunder
and flash of nightfire or
skinsoaked levee shores sandbagging
against an indefatigable muddy rise

facing death unalone
behind the veil of
that opiate of higher purpose
suspends the soul's normal chaos
simplifying our choices

the sweat stained grind
of snagging a weekly paycheck
harbors no opiate
no "win one for the Gipper"
alone against the white noise
of rush hour gridlock
the code is less lofty here
but the stakes are no less high
where survival is the only
viable option

Christian or Lion
we are all heroes
in our own arenas

Dean McClain

Thursday, June 24, 2004


"Which of us is not flesh?...

Everyman is me, I am his brother. No man is my enemy and he is in and of me.

This is my faith, my strength, my deepest hope,
and my only belief."
Kenneth Patchen

Tuesday, June 22, 2004


The heavy set, black woman
in the convenience store
talked on a pink cell phone
while reaching for a large box of
Juicy Fruits and said,



22 June 2004 @ 07:45 am
"The Blind Boys of Alabama" tore up the last two hours of the Indianapolis Jazz Fest Sunday. Yardhog and D utilized the gorgeous "first day of summer" weather to drive Gracie on her first sanctioned road trip. We managed to get lost in the maze of downtown streets for an hour before finally finding a parking spot, but managed to catch both featured acts.
Alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett's set was a bore. When I first saw him with Miles Davis over 15 years ago I was impressed. Unfortunately his idea of jazz is to play as hard and long as possible. His trio works from the same principal. I don't like his tone. I don't like his attack. Nuff said.
The Blind Boys gospel group started off a little slow but soon got into the groove and had the crowd, which was rather small, jumping. Some of these guys have been in the band since 1939! At one point three members of the group took their portable mikes and with the help of several security guards formed a human chain and wandered the perimeter of Military Park shouting praises.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Volvo Land

20 June 2004 @ 12:07 pm
Due to the recent purchase of a new (used) Volvo 940, Yardhog has been thrust into the world of "Volvo Mania." Suddenly wherever he looks there they are; boxy, impregnable and ubiquitous. But it's yet another reason to start a conversation with a total stranger. And remember if you don't talk to people you don't learn a damn thing.
Just yesterday the Hog was sitting on street at a local coffee house during a respite from a morning bike ride, when he began talking to a middle-aged lady at a nearby table.
"Beautiful weather isn't it? By the way, is that your Volvo sitting across the street?"
"Oh yes! I've had it for years. The thing won't die. It's been wrecked several time....."
And on and on... Will everybody who owns a Volvo in the eastend of Louisville please stand-up. Then again, maybe not. It might start an earthquake. luv, yardhog

Friday, June 18, 2004

Last Words

18 June 2004 @ 08:06 am
"Evil covered by transparent lies, that only the very stupid will believe. And (that) the liars and promoters of the Big Lie work tirelessly (since they have nothing else to do) to promulgate..."

"People in the mainstream are actually getting stupider, under a deadly hail of lies and misinformation from those in power."

William Burroughs

Very interesting, reading the last journals of a dying man, especially when the man is one of most bizarre and wisest thinkers of his generation.
So, Yardhog was more than enthralled yesterday as he sat in a local Mexican restaurant drinking a Margarita and perusing the "Final Journals of William S. Burroughs."
The Hog had just gotten to the April 1997 entries, where Burroughs is lamenting the recent death of his great friend Allen Ginsberg, when a young Mexican boy approaches and asks "How much you pay for car?" The lad, one of the workers in the restaurant is looking out the window and beaming at the Hogmobile.
When the Hog told him the price, he became even more enthralled, opening the front door of the restaurant and going outside to get a closer look. When he returned still smiling ear to ear he asked, "How many gears?"
"Six," the Hog told him. "Six!," the boy exclaimed. "Six! Six! Six," like a mantra.
The Hogmobile had worked it's magic once again. luv, yardhog

Thursday, June 17, 2004


17 June 2004 @ 09:56 am


They'd make you believe that your problem is one of sex,
That men and women have mysteriously become
Strange and fearful to one another-sick, diseased, cold-
And that is true. But no loss of father-image or of
Any other image, did this. Why don't you face the truth for
You have accepted the whole filthy, murderous swindle with-
A word of protest, hated whomever you were told to hate,
Slaughtered whomever you were told to slaughter; you've
Cheated, made the earth stink with your very presence-
Shouldn't you despise and hate one another?
Why should you expect to make "love" in a bed fouled with

Oh, you poor, weak little frauds, suckling around
Frantically for something to ease your guilt-
Why don't you face it?
Your birthright, liferight,
Deathright, and now your
Sexright, you've lost. What
Did you expect? How
Else could it be? You've
Made property and money your only gods-
Well, this is their rule,
This is what you wanted.
And now they'll wipe you out.

Why don't you face it?
Stop sucking around.
Your pet witch-doctors can't help you,
They're all sick from the same thing.
Your pompous intellectuals can't help you,
They're all sick from the same thing.
Your sly, vicious statesmen can't help you,
They're all sick from the same thing.
Why don't you face it?

No, your problem is not one of sex-
Your problem is that you have betrayed your animal
Into hands as cruel and bloody as your own
Man is dead
I don't know what kind of thing you are.

Kenneth Patchen

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


Yesterday Yardhog helped clear the ennui laden afternoon air with an exciting acquisition; a cheap, gold chain. The kind worn by leisure-suited lounge lizards in the 1970s. The Hog never sucumbed to that fad back then, which is very unusual since he once wore with pride everything from platform shoes to hot pants.
So, in this retro-infested decade he was not surprised to suddenly see the recent re-appearance of this anachronistic bauble. Walmart to the rescue! After looking at several models, he purchased a particularly flashy, gold one at an economical price. This morning after draping his neck with the item, he asked D how it looked. Without missing a beat, she said, "YOU LOOK RIDICULOUS!" No worry. That's the same thing she said about his ear rings. luv, yardhog

Tuesday, June 15, 2004


15 June 2004 @ 11:54 am
The birds have finally returned to Yardhog's back yard feeders. For two months they hung full of seed but ignored as my winged friends surfeited on cicadas.
But now they are back in full force. Saturday I counted at least five different species (which is unusual, most often the feeders are made up of the more common variety of sparrows, etc.)
I still have trouble identifying all the different kinds of birds. But the more I observe them the more I'm able to see their differences.

Monday, June 14, 2004


In Order To

Apply for the position (I've forgotten now for what) I had
to marry the Second Mayor's daughter by twelve noon. The
order arrived three minutes of.

I already had a wife; the Second Mayor was childless: but I
did it.

Next they told me to shave off my father's beard. All right.
No matter that he'd been a ennuch, and had sucumbed in
early childhood: I did it, I shaved him.

Then they told me to burn a village; next, a fair sized town;
then, a city; a bigger city; a small, down-at-heels country;
then one of the "the great powers"; then another (another, an-
other)- In fact they went right on until they'd told me to
burn up very man-made thing on the face of the earth! And
I did it, I burned every last trace, I left nothing, nothing
of any kind whatever.

Then they told me to blow it all to hell and gone! And I blew
it all to hell and gone (oh, didn't I)...

Now, they said, put it back together again; put it all back the
the way it was when you started.

Well...it was my turn then to tell them something! Shucks,
I didn't want any job that bad.

Kenneth Patchen
(Yardhog's tribute to Mose Allison)

Sunday, June 13, 2004


Yardhog completed 70 miles of biking today in three days. Rode down to Shawnee Park Golf Course this morning along the river. All kinds of wild life breaking in front of him, rabbits, doves, robins. mallard ducks. The track was wet from yesterday's storms. When I got to the park just before entering a heavily wooded area a quarter inch of mud covering the asphalt and assorted sticks left from the river, caused the Hog to use caution and turn back. No use tempting fate.
I did managed to stop at the new children's playground and boat dock that opened last week at River Front Park. A very nice area with lots of seating and good views of the river.
Last night D and I sat through two sets of singer/pianist Mose Allison at the Jazz Factory. A large, but not very attentive crowd. Couldn't these people save their cash and go some place like Walmart to hold their loud, long, boring conversations.
Allison doesn't look much different from when I last saw him playing on Washington Street in Louisville in the 1970s. A little grayer, a little thinner but the man is 77 years old.
I first became aware of Allsion over 40 years ago when I bought a record by saxophonists Al Cohn and Zoot Sims entitled "You n'Me." Allison was the pianist on the date. Not long after he began a solo career based on an odd melange of classically influenced piano, nearly dissonant vocals ( he sings around the edges of a chord where few vocalists dare to go) plus an eclectic repertoire of originals, blues and country music.
Trouble is, I know the man's music by heart and last night there were no surprises. I did enjoy the crowd's reaction when Allison sang an old original with the lyrics "Everyone wants peace on earth as soon as we win this war." Somethings never age. luv, yardhog

Saturday, June 12, 2004


A nice bike ride down to the river this morning. The air full of the scents of fresh mown grass and road kill. A bloody, fly blown raccoon smashed into an unrecognizable pulp save for it's tell-tale striped tail.
The mighty Ohio was much cleaner and drift wood free than last week, although there wasn't a pleasure boater to be seen. I hadn't paused a moment until the distant rumble of thunder and dark clouds on the Indiana side caused the Hog to head for home. Good thing, it has been storming all day. Severe weather has hit the state again.
Despite the weather L and I drove downtown to the Galt House for a casting call for extras in a Hollywood movie that is being shot here. I should of known better. The event had been announced all week both on TV and the newspaper so, it turned out to be a cattle call. Everybody including Betty Lou and Bob with their photos clutched tightly in their greedy, expectant hands were there waiting to be transformed into "movie stars." I told L how this phenomenon is fully explained in Walker Percy's novel "The MovieGoer." How an ennui laden day can be transformed by the mere presense of an "ACTOR." As Spaulding Gray so eloquently put it "America is a pagan land and all the Gods and Goddesses are movie stars."
When we arrived at the hotel we boarded a packed elevator to the third floor and when the doors opened, I panicked. Bodies as far as the eye could see lined the room in front of me and some Hollywood type was standing amid the hoard announcing "Alright we're going to take the first hundred people and if you all don't cooperate we're going to be here all day."
Visions of Dachau and people being loaded on-to box cars filled my head and I said to L "Let's get out of here!"
Gearing up for Mose Allsion tonight at the Jazz Factory. I'm looking forward to it. Unlike tuesdays Rick Jones concert I'm sure I'll be able to understand the lyrics. Funny thing, both Jones and Allison are musical poets with a lot say, but I swear to the heavens I couldn't make out a word that lady uttered during her show. I can't even make out the words on her latest cd and the liner notes don't provide song lyrics, So, I'm still in the dark.

Friday, June 11, 2004


Jeffrey Lee Puckett wrote in the Courier Journal today that the late Mary Ann Fisher sang in the 1970s with Ray Charles and was one of his Raelets. Wrong on both counts. Fisher was a featured singer in Charles 1950s band. She performs a solo piece on one of his early Atlantic albums. She had a romantic relationship with Charles and she was never a member of his back-up singing group the Raelets.
In the 1970s she was living and performing in Louisville. Yardhog will never forget the night at the old Downs Supper Club on 4th Street when she encouraged and complimented his singing.
To borrow a quote from Roland Kirk, "WHY DON'T THEY KNOW!"

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Addendum - Telling it like it is

10 June 2004 @ 12:52 pm
Saxophonist Joshua Redman on Stan Getz:

"He's one of the greatest lyric voices and melodists in jazz. He always sounds like he's singing a song...

He could play any tune in any key at any tempo-sometimes ridiculously fast tempos-with command, control and a sense of relaxation...

More than anything, Stan's music is about natural, unforced, uncontrived beauty. EVERYTHING HE PLAYED WAS BEAUTIFUL."

Downbeat July 2004

Ricky Lee Jones

Ricky Lee Jones blew into Louisville for a performance at Headliners Tuesday night in two very shiny, sliver tour buses.
After standing outside in the muggy evening air for 45 minutes, D and Yardhog were ushered into the cavernous music hall and took seats at one of the few tables provided.
After another 45 minutes or so Jones took the stage with her band which featured two horn players. Performing many of the songs off her new album "The Evening of My Best Day," Jones alternated between guitar, piano and several hats. Her one standard "On the Street Where You Live" was a disaster. Very sloppy with intonation problems galore but Jone's version of "Coolsville" accompanying herself on piano was hypnotic.
One other note, Headliners needs to get their air-conditioning fixed. At times Yardhog felt like he was in New Orleans at Tipitinas

Tuesday, June 8, 2004


John Lee Hooker

Monday, June 7, 2004


"You have to live a life in order to tell a life. It's better to tell it, because you are always in control. You're like God."

Spaulding Gray


07 June 2004 @ 10:14 am
Logged over 20 miles on River Road yesterday morning. Talked to a ice cream vendor on downtown's Water Front Park, who last week saw a tornado drop down across the river in Jeffersonville, Indiana. "I told my boss I'm getting out of here. I jumped in my car and took off."
The weather was much better this weekend. Gorgeous, low humidity and cool tempt. Last night Yardhog and D were invited to a "soft opening" of Lou Lou's restaurant on Frankfort Avenue. Housed in what was used to be "The Black Cat" nightclub, the new eatery specializes in an eclectic menu that features everything from pizzas to hummus dip. The pizza is wonderful. Very tasty crust and the cheeze is a delight.
The owners moved last month to Louisville from New Orleans where they operated "The Mystic Pizza" on Magazine Street.
Looking forward this week to seeing Best songtress Ricky Lee Jones at Headliners.


So, because of wearing a certain t-shirt Yardhog found himself in the testosterone charged environment of a blues club, where normally passive, young suburban husbands and wives go to act out their sexual fantasies.
At least that was the case with Stevie Ray's. Yardhog hadn't been in the place more than five minutes when he noticed a 30-something year-old fellow in a loud Hawaiian shirt wandering around the room in a slightly inebriated state. When he got to where Yardhog was sitting he managed to accidently rub his pants leg across the bottom of the Hog's cowboy boot which was sticking out in the aisle.
Looking like a wound spring ready to pop he stares down the Hog and gives out a mean "You wanna fight?" look the Hog hadn't seen since he was a kid on the playground.
To diffuse the situation, Yardhog immediately said "Excuse me!" To which his combatant only looks more menacingly in his direction, which calls for another "Excuse Me!"
This time it worked. The cocky fellow assumed a less dominant pose and thrusts out his paw in friendship. Disaster avoided, the Hog watched while the fellow gets on the dance floor with his pretty, well built wife
and does some low down, dirty dancing.
You gotta watch them blues clubs. They can be bad for your health. luv, yardhog

Sunday, June 6, 2004


Yesterday morning I went to Lotsa Pata to buy a muffalata sandwich wearing a t-shirt I bought at a club in Nashville called Bourbon Street Blues. It's a loud tye-dyed shirt with bright white letters that announce "Bourbon Street Blues - Nashville, Tenn. It always confuses people and I always wind up explaining to them that "Bourbon Street Blues" is a blues club in Nashville that recreates the New Orleans ethos with beads, booze and sometimes bare female breasts.
I did that with a young male clerk at Lotsa Pasta yesterday. I also told him about the club's house band Stacy Michart at "Blues You Can Use."
Yesterday afternoon I changed into the "Buddy Guy's Chicago Blues Legends" t-shirt I bought last Sunday. I was having a beer with a friend at the Cumberland Brewery on Bardtown Road when a woman comes up to me wearing another Chicago Blues t-shirt, not the same one but with a reference to Chicago. Turns out she lives on the North Side of Chicago and had driven to Louisville to see a Chicago Band, "The Buzz" perform at Stevie Ray's. She asked me if I was interested in going because the sax player and the guitarist were formally with the Buddy Guy Band. I said "Sure" and a couple of hours later I found myself seated in Stevie Rays' watching a kick ass white blues band do the blues... to be continued. luv, yardhog

Saturday, June 5, 2004


The last several hours have been very interesting. It all began yesterday afternoon with a private consultation with a man Yardhog many years ago dubbed in an article in the Louisville Times "the Guru of Bardstown Road," one Harold Maier, the owner and "OPEN EAR" of Twice Told Books.
Yardhog usually drops by his shop on Saturday afternoons when Maier is leading a circus of loquacious individuals in a roundabout of verbiage. This obviously isn't Yardhog's favorite environment considering his solipsistic nature so, he was more than pleased to have the Masters' full attention for over an hour.
This morning Yardhog was primed for his 11 mile Saturday bike ride to Cox's Park on River Road. When he arrived at the boat ramp he was shocked to see the river banks clogged with the detrius of last week's storms. Layers of driftwood competed with old tires and bottles, to clog the mighty Ohio. Weren't no speed boaters are bikini babes to be seen and the air had a distinct sour smell.
Yardhog parked his bike and stood for a while watching an intrepid fisherman with one of those heavy duty, salt water rod and reels designed to catch 300 pound Tarpon or Sail Fish, when all of a sudden a car pulls up and out pops a good natured looking middle-aged black man who moseys on down to where Yardhog is standing and says, "This is all a gift. People don't realize everybody doesn't have all this beauty."
Meanwhile the river is churning and looking very ugly hardly reflecting the beauty of the early summer sky.
"You see all that drift wood piled up out there. It's dead like we're all going to be one day, but it will be pounded into sand and clay by the river and come back. This was all given to us by God and we should appreciate it."
Yardhog realizing that this cat was on some kind of a roll began a extemporaneous interview. Almost immediately the man revealed that his name was Lester Goin and he was one of the first inter-racial graduates of Jefferson Community College in 1969. "My name and several others is on a plaque in the entrance hall of the College."
He was an only child born to a poor farmer in Tennessee, five miles outside of Middlesboro, Ky.
"Four states converge at that point of the country and I used to sit in my back yard and look out at the Blue Ridge Mountain range," he said wisely, ever now and then looking over at Yardhog's tattooed arm.
"There was a GreyHound Bus that used to pass on the Highway down there everyday and I said one day I'm going to be on that bus out of here. And I did it. I've been a lot of places in my life."
One of those places was Vietnam where he served a full term before being discharged and finding work as an electrician. "I learned a lot about people there. We are all alike just different."
Much of Goin's conversation concerned religion, so Yardhog asked him if he belonged to any certain denomination.
"No, I just read a lot. I read the Bible and Spinoza, Kant, a lot of the Philosophers."
Did that all begin in College? "No my family was religious we all went to church together and they encouraged me to read."
He paused and pointed out to the muddy river. "You know, there is a war going on out there. Nature isn't pacific.
Baby Boomers don't want to face death. They think they're going to live forever."
luv, yardhog

Friday, June 4, 2004




d.o. 6/4/04

Thursday, June 3, 2004

A Take on Merton

 According to Jean Leclercq talking about Thomas Merton in "Those Who Knew Him."
"I think (Merton's) legacy has been to call attention to the importance of prayer in life. Not so much prayer as an actiivty, as an obligation, a particular exercise, but a prayer life. TO BE A PRAY-ER."
Yardhog would like to take that idea a step further. MAKE YOUR LIFE A PRAYER! luv, yardhog.

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Chicago, Chicago

Chicago, Chicago a toddling town! Back from a weekend in Chi-town. One of our best trips. Got into town early Saturday morning. Stayed at the sumptuous Conrad Hilton next to the old Blackstone, which is being renovated for condos. I haven't stayed this far up on Michigan Ave in a while and it was a nice change. Grant Park is directly across the street and Buddy Guy's Blues Legends is in back of the hotel. And Powell's Books, one of the best remainder book stores in the country is a block away.
The legendary jazz singer Sheila Jordan was singing at the Green Mill over the weekend. An annual event every Memorial Day. I brought Jordon to Louisville to appear at a Louisville Jazz Society concert at least 15 years ago and I hadn't seen her since. Now 75 she hadn't changed a bit. D and I were seated in a booth waiting for the concert to start, when suddenly D said "There she is!" Jordon, who was married to Charlie Parker's pianist Duke Jordon, had come in the front door and was headed for the bandstand. I stood up, went over to her and said "I picked you up at the airport for concert a long time ago. Do you remember me?" Whether she did or not, she jumped up and hugged me. Then I said "Gail Wynters said to tell you hello from Louisville." "Oh! I love Gail Wynters. Tell her, I hope she's doing well," she said.
The rest of the night was magic. Jordon was in fine voice and the young trio of piano, bass and drums was tight and swung like mad.
Chicago is cultural gumbo. The first thing I saw when I stepped out of the hotel Saturday morning was a large Indian wedding being held on the sidewalk in front of the parking garage. Several drummers were playing along with a recorded sound track while men and women danced, jumping up and down, their hands high in the air. The men wore white, gold trimmed ceremonial hats and the woman were dressed in saris.
The streets were also full of military men and women participating in the Memorial Day parade.
At one point a rather worn looking white horse was led to the front door and a large man, I presume the groom, mounted it. The dancing and drums became more intense and the group marched in a procession around the block to the front of the hotel where the wedding was being held.
It is impossible to stand out or be a freak in Chicago. To much competition. On the way to Water Tower I saw in quick succession; A man in a large black hat, striped shirt and boots, a man wearing a sandwich board which announced something about the Russian communists being responsible for world terrorism, a very thin middle aged man running in a bikini shorts, and a young black male midget who asked for a contribution. "We're having a party for boy who went down. Tickets are only $3.50."
The weather was a great, high in the 80s, but thunderstorms, part of a severe weather system that spawned tornados back home in Kentucky and Indiana, occurred of and on.
It rained Sunday night so, it was perfect for walking across the street and hearing the blues at Buddy Guy's Legends. A really nasty looking store-front but a nice spacious interior. The evening began with an acoustic blues group followed by a rather dull electric blues band. The music and the bland cajun food made for a convenient but less than memorable evening.
Before leaving Monday afternoon D and I walked down to Lake Michigan from Grant Park and got caught in a down pour that caused us to seek shelter under the trees in Grant Park.
Yesterday, a severe thunderstorm hit Frankfort just before quiting time. I waited it out and when I got to Louisville the weather looked like it had cleared up. So, I decided to ride up Frankfort Ave. on my bike for dinner. I stopped at El Mundo's and ordered a burrito and had taken about two bites when I looked up and saw a large black cloud bearing down on me from the north/west. One of the restaurant workers came out and said something about a tornado warning, which caused me to began eating my burrito even faster than I was previously, which had to be some kind of a record for burrito consumption. As the sky darkened and the wind picked up, I jumped on my bike and rode like hell for four miles arriving at home just as the first drops of rain began to hit the pavement. Whew! I spent the rest of the night sitting on my new screened in porch watching the first fire flies of the season compete with the lightning.

Friday, May 28, 2004


A delightful evening with last night marred only by the incessant weather warnings bleeped across the small tv at the Red Lounge. It was "Dirty Soul Night," but most of the patrons, which were in small number, seemed more concerned with the weather, pacing around the room with worried faces, cell phones in hand.
It's impossible to enjoy a summer storm with today's technology. Every local tv station had suited weather men or women dancing in front of flashing, lighted screens that would make Jackson Pollack blush.
L said she thinks it's all about selling. Keep those people in their seats at home scared to death so they'll be ready for the next laxative commercial.
"Fear" is the control word of the day.
But we survived the storm unscathed and managed to have a wonderful conversation while consuming four blood red margaritas a bacon & tomato sandwich plus a Cuban sandwich.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


The world is infected with "experts." But experts are frauds. "Expert" comes from the root word "experience." Experience is a process that never ends. It is "the active participation in events or activities."

Jean Leclercq said about his fellow monk, the famous writer Thomas Merton:
"He was not a scholar or an historian; he Was an expert in nothing. And he knew it and didn't want to be. He didn't want to play the game of an expert. But he was always inquiring about new texts, new publications, asking me to send him books and articles..."

I always began my college classes by telling my students "I don't know a damn thing. You tell me something."
AND THEY DO! luv, yardhog


Okay, I admit it, yardhog's in love with Poppy Brite. Ever since discovering this writer of transgressive/horror fiction on a display table at Borders in Chicago I've been transfixed.

It's all a matter synchronicity. I had just come from the Mardi Gras in New Orlean, where I spent several days visiting friends who are in the restaurant business. So, when I spied Brite's new novel "Liquor," and read that it was about two young men who open a restaurant in New Orleans, I couldn't resist. When I got home I looked Brite up on the internet and discovered she had her own Web page, which included a daily journal.

And now I'm hooked... More about Poppy later. luv, yardhog

Monday, May 24, 2004

Sage Advice Addendum - this time Martha Graham

"There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening
That is translated through you into action.
And because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.
If you block it,
it will never exist through any other medium
and be lost.
The world will never have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is.
Nor how valuable it is,
Nor how it compares with other expressions.
It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly
to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.
You do have to keep open and aware
directly to the urges that motivate you.

Keep the channel open.
No artist is pleased.
There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.
There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction,
a blessed unrest that keeps us marching
and makes us more alive than others.


Martha Graham to Agnes Demille


"If one is lucky enough to be born with a beautiful face and the corresponding physical attributes, instead of moaning "Oh, people only want me for my face,'play your face card. Youth plays the cards of youth and vitality -- In youth play your youth cards. In old age claim the privleges of age, and get your snout in the public trough before it dries up."

William Burroughs
The Final Journals

Sunday, May 23, 2004

On the Road with Ella Fitzgerald, Gail Wynters and Ed

Great evening last night. Attended Dr. Ken Beilman's 16th Annual Jazz Party in Middletown, Ky. For my guest I took the fabulous jazz diva Gail Wynters. We spent much of the drive to the party listening to a 25 year old tape of my old WUOL FM "Jazz Insights" Radio Show featuring my interview with Ella Fitzgerald.
During one the recordings I played on the show that had Ella scating with a number of jazz legends like saxophonists Stan Getz and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis plus trumpeters Harry "Sweets" Edison and Roy Eldridge, I realized that everyone on the recording, that was made sometime in the 1960s, was now dead including Ella.
Wynters got to know and perform with many of these greats during the 20 years she lived in New York City. She had a close friendship with trombonist Al Grey who was also on the recording. So, we had fond memories to share.

The party featured this year baritone saxophonist Denis DeBlasio and pianist Harry Pickens, bassist Chris Fitzgerald and drummer Jason Tinamon. Unfortunately DeBlasio, who is a veteran of a number of great bands including Maynard Ferguson's Orchestra, had intonation problems. His technique on the big horn was well executed but his tone was clearly on the flat side, which ruined it for me.
DeBlasio's flute playing on Monk's "Straight No Chaser" and his scat singing later in the night was excellent.
I completed 30 miles on my bike in the last two days. Rode down to Cox's park yesterday and peddled all the way to Portland this morning. Discovered a few things during my trek. Bike riders are more human than those crazed souls behind the wheels of automobiles. You seldom pass anyone on a bike that doesn't wave or wish you good morning. And they never hurl an expletive at you or try to run you off the road. There is something about the power of a car that brings out the killer in everyone. BEWARE!

Since it is Sunday the Yardhog is going to take time out and look back on the past week.
One highlight was dinner in Lexington with the famous Kentucky humorist and author of great books like "The Natural Man" and "Famous People I've Known."
I hadn't seen Ed since a poetry reading at the Rudyard Kipling last Fall and he looks great. At 72 he looks a good ten years younger and his humor is sharp as ever.
At dinner I gave him a book of photographs of well known poets and writers and incribed it "To Ed McClanahan one of my favorite famous people I've known," I also found a couple of cool stickers at a gas station on my way to Lexington, one which I pasted into the book that read " Too Many Freaks, Not Enough Circuses" The other one said "FREAK" so, I just stuck it on the front of Hawaian shirt to give Ed something to talk about. He loves freaks and writes about them often. Of course I've always thought that being a freak is part of the human condition. What other animal walks around wearing clothes, making foolish pronouncments and starting wars. We're all a bunch of freaks. Only those that realize it are better off.
Which brings me to the second part of my story. After dinner I took my "Freak" sticker and stuck it up on the sun visor in my Miata for safe keeping. The next day I went to the gym at the state agency I work for in Frankfort. After working out on my way to the car I had to pass several female soldiers in uniform that were hanging around out front. I immediately got this image of a naked Iraq soldier on a lease but I managed to block it. Then one of them, a cute little brunette, said "Hey you got something on your butt!"
Yeah!, another exclaimed "It says "Freak." I turned to face them and began checking my ass with both hands. "It's on your left cheek, man. Want us to get it?" I'm still groping myself and trying to feel embarassed but I think I'm beyond that considering where I've been. It wasn't exactly as shocking as the time I was stripped naked by five strippers on a burlesque stage, but that's another story.
"Hey it's alright to be a freak," the cute brunette added.
I was trying to keep that idea in mind the next day when I attended a planning meeting given by my supervisor at his new house outside of Lexington.
I'd been given strict orders to bring a notebook, writing materials and wear my "agency shirt." But emboldened by the previous days events I decided to wear a 1960s tye-dyed t-top instead. Full of 1960s protest, although I lived through that era and was a total wimp, I stopped at my neighborhood gas station and walked up to the counter t-top, tatoos and ear rings ablaze.
Looking for the owner, who normally appreciates my eccentricities, I spied a fellow in the back of the store with a bald head. Then I realized it was the owner.
"Oh, I didn't recognize you," I blurted out. "You trying to make some kind of a statement?"
"No, I just spent a week in the hospital taking chemo. I've got in-operable lung Cancer. But I'm not going to let it stop me from doing what I'm doing."
Yeah, we're all freaks. You me and everybody and we're all headed for the junk pile. luv, yardhog

Saturday, May 22, 2004


Billons of creepy, crawly creatures are assaulting my ears. After a 17 year hiatas the bugs are back. A New York Times article yesterday reminded me that 17 years ago politician Gary Hart was banging Donna Rice and preacher Jim Bakker was in trouble with Jessica Hahn. I remember seeing that story on a tv in a motel in Cincinnati 17 years ago, on a morning not entirely dissimilar to this. The bugs were singing then to. Ah, time how strange. The cicadas will all be dead soon. But their progeny will be snug in the ground waiting to return and bug everyone seventeen years down the road. I'll never forget the question posed by William Burroughs. "Why does death need time? Answer: Death needs time for what it kills to live in." Common knowledge to every cicada and every other time bound creature. luv, yardhog