St. Vincent

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Bill Murray Bill Murray Bill Murray. One of the funniest and emotionally appealing films of the year. Bill Murray turns in an Oscar worthy performance as the curmudgeonly neighbor and Naomi Watts knocks it out of the park as the pregnant Russian hooker.

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Rainstorm

From the Hagakure

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“There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.”
Tsunetomo Yamamoto, The Hagakure: A code to the way of samurai

EXPERIENCE HENDRIX

Are You Experienced?

Lot’s of serious guitar playing going on at last nigh (3/19) at the Jimi Hendrix tribute tour at the Louisville Palace, in the heart of beautiful downtown Louisville, Kentucky just blocks away from Positively Fourth Street.

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All the old familiar tunes like Hey Joe, All Along the Watch Tower, and Purple Haze were on display for an adoring audience. Some of the biggest names in Show Biz were there to cut some mean licks and shake up the bricks.

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Buddy Guy

80 year old, down by law, Buddy Guy was there. He was a major influence on Hendrix as well as Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughn. Buddy Guy is a six time Grammy winner and is ranked #23 best guitar player of all time by Rolling Stone.

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Beth Hart and Kenny Wayne Shepherd

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Beth Hart and Johnny Lang

Beth Hart was the whole reason I went to this concert. She has already stolen my heart and damned if she didn’t steal the show. Blues Magazine once dubbed Beth Hart as the Ultimate Female Rock Star. But to me she is the best blues singer this side of Blue Heaven.

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Zakk Wylde is a former Ozzy Osborne band member and now solo artist and master guitarist.

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Ana Popovic

Of all the things I have ever done in my life I don’t think there has ever been anything quite so exciting as attending a live musical concert.

Excuse me while I kiss the sky….

 

 

BETH HART IN NASHVILLE

At the Ryman Auditorium

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Beth Hart killed last night (3/10/2017) in Nashville at the storied Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Killed in the sense she slaughtered her material and slayed her audience. I have  never seen a performer so committed to her material as Beth Hart. She has a power and a force that will blow you away! She simply gave it all she had. She is one of the best blues singers I have ever heard and she just keeps on getting better.

Beth looked great in a sparkly mini dress and high heel shoes which showed off her toned legs to great effect. She wore sheer nylon stockings with seams down the back. How sexy was that? She must be eating right because her tiny waist, beautiful skin tones, and irrepressible energy were much on display.

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And the music! She has a great band around her including her guitar player who has been with her for 17 years. Beth writes a lot of her own material and there is as story behind each song which she generously shares with the audience before she delivers the goods. The audience loves Beth and she loves them back!

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When she performed the song  California, which is a paean to the one she loves, who should appear from behind the black curtain but her husband, who rushes up behind her and hugs her close and kisses her neck and we are swept up in the moment of an emotional highlight.

Throughout the show and on numerous occasions I was moved to the point of tears and the goose flesh was in motion.

She will be appearing in at the Louisville Palace in Louisville, Kentucky on March 19 as part of the Jimi Hendrix experience. I’ll be there.

 

 

 

LOGAN (2017)

Logan

 

I can’t believe I let myself be seduced by the critics into watching this movie. It got an 8.9 on IMBD and 92% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. I give it a solid 7. There are many reasons this movie loses points with me chief of which it is based on a comic book! I have vowed to never again watch movies based on comic book characters. But no! I get dragged back in by all the hype! I liked comic books when I was a kid but when I grew up I put away childish things. Sure, this one had good writing and character development. Sure the movie had high production values and was very entertaining, but it is still a comic book! How can anyone take a character seriously who sprouts 18″ inch razor sharp stainless steel talons each time he gets riled? If this is your cup of tea by all means go see it. It certainly isn’t mine.

I Feel Bad About My Leg

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

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When I was in South Florida recently I injured my right leg. I don’t know how exactly, I just know I got up early one morning and I could barely walk. With every step I felt an excruciating pain in my right knee. It slowed me down for sure. Stairs were out, which meant I couldn’t get down the staircase to walk Gideon the Dog, a little white Shi Tzu with a boatload of energy. I took to wearing a knee brace which seemed to help. I hoped my leg would heal in a few days if I stayed off  it and I would get back to normal again. I am a pretty active guy.

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Gideon, the Dog

It did get some better for which I was grateful, because I had to travel back to Kentucky in a few days and there would be a lot of walking and schlepping of suitcases and bags. But as luck would have it, on the day of travel, I aggravated the injury to my leg as I stepped up onto the train platform. Ughhh!

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Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgefulness

I had to take a train from Delray Beach to Ft. Lauderdale, a  bus from the train station to the airport, then upstairs to the ticket counter to check in. I was carrying a backpack, a suitcase, and a small carry-on item. I checked the suitcase at the ticket counter and stumbled through security with the other two bags. It was more like a shuffle than a stumble but I managed to get through. There was more security than usual due the fact that there was a mass shooting at this airport just a few days earlier. Guy took a gun out of a packed suitcase in the baggage claim area and started shooting people. This would be your worst nightmare. He ended up killing five people.

I sat a moment in one of the ubiquitous lounges that lined the terminal and had a cheeseburger and a beer. Pretty good. So far so good. When the appointed time came I made the queue and boarded the aircraft. It was short flight to Atlanta but sitting on the tarmac and waiting to take off, then the time in the air didn’t do my leg any good. I was pretty stiff when I got off the plane and not just from the drinks.

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I had to change planes for the final leg of my journey back to Louisville. I arrived at Terminal 1 and had to make my way to Terminal 2. Thankfully there as an escalator, a moving sidewalk, and a train to take me to my destination. Then I had to walk the distance to gate 32, which of course was the furthermost gate away.

It was 7:30 at night when I finally got home. Had been traveling all day. All the sitting made my condition worse. By the time my daughter picked me up I could barely walk again. Once home I fell into bed exhausted. Weary, but glad to be home.

I continued to wear the knee brace and took it as easy as I could and gradually my leg began to heal. I was pretty worried actually, losing one’s mobility is a pretty frightening prospect. All this time I was thinking well this is it, this is how it’s going to end…I will lose my mobility and my life will change forever…

I got a little depressed while convalescing. I picked up a book I had recently purchased by one of my favorite authors, J. M. Coetzee’s , the novel Slow Man, and began to read. Turns out his protagonist, Paul Rayment, an older gentleman much like myself, as a matter of fact the same exact age, sustains a knee injury in a bicycle accident in the very first chapter in the novel. Only his injury was much worse than mine. He lost his leg just above the knee. Ironically, the things he thought about were the very same things I thought about. Here is what he had to say about it.

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“A circumscribed life. What would Socrates say about that? May a life become so circumscribed that it is no longer worth living? Unstrung. That is the word that comes to him from Homer. The spear shatters the breast bone, blood spurts, the limbs are unstrung, the body topples like a wooden puppet. Well, his limbs have been unstrung, and now his spirit is unstrung too. His spirit is ready to topple.”

My spirit was ready to topple too. But, as previously stated, I got steady better and now I am back to nearly normal. I don’t know what I would do if I were to permanently lose my mobility and my being became so circumscribed. It might not be a life so worth living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO

A Movie Review

 

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The movie, I Am Not Your Negro, played to sold out crowds recently at the Speed Cinema here in Derby City. This movie comes at a most propitious moment in time when the American Negro is again under assault by the white ruling class now that the alt-right has taken over the White House.
It is a timely tale told by Samuel L. Jackson in the words of the brilliant novelist James Baldwin in a documentary filmed by Raoul Peck. It has been nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary. The film is based on Baldwin’s work, Remember This House, which details the civil rights movement and assassinations of his close friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The film expands on the work and brings it up to date to modern times and the Black Lives matter movement.

It is a powerful film well worth seeing.

Media is the Enemy

 Really?

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Donald Trump recently tweeted the above loathsome comment in his ongoing battle with the press. White nationalist, chief strategist, and senior presidential adviser, Steve Bannon, has said the press is the opposition party. Senator John McCain has described these words as the words of a dictator.

Freedom of the press is perhaps the freedom that has suffered the most from the sudden degradation of our liberty under the tyranny of would be dictator Donald Trump. With freedom of the press we cannot be sure of moving towards justice but without it we can be sure we are not going there.  Justice is done when the rights of the people are recognized and there is no right without freedom of expression.

We must be vigilant regarding this principle of freedom of the press which is enshrined in our constitution and is the first right enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

Whoever does violence to the truth or to its expression eventually mutilates justice. Censorship and oppression prove that the word is enough to make tyrants tremble. Every lowly person, when he rises up from oppression, reaffirms by so acting the solidarity of all men. Only he who is uncompromising as to his rights maintains this sense of duty. The great citizens of a country are not those who genuflect before authority, but rather those who rise up against authority, if need be, and are adamant to the honor and freedom of our great country.

You see the protest in the streets. What is beginning is a period of indomitable men and women devoted to the unconditional defense of liberty. Those who, like me, have broken with friends and family by the rejection of any complicity with parties, whether on the right or left, that justify the suppression of a single one of our liberties.