For what it’s worth, my advice to the graduates. | Shoe: Untied

My friend and fellow teacher Dave Shoemaker loves to create lists. Usually they are satirical and humorous but sometimes they contain life altering wisdom. Here’s Dave’s advise list for today’s graduating seniors. Us old farts could learn a little from it as well.

Source: For what it’s worth, my advice to the graduates. | Shoe: Untied

Johnny Paycheck and CW Friends Photo

Someone on Facebook posted this photograph and I thought it was worth sharing. That’s Greenfield’s Johnny Paycheck on the left, and the others from left to right are; Moe Bandy, Ricky Skaggs, Ronnie McDowell, Joe Stampley, and Rick Blackburn of CBS Records.

paycheck and friends

FAA exemption gives Sinclair UAS program new wings

uas droneDayton’s Sinclair Community College is quickly become a national leader in the field of drones or unmanned aviation systems. SCC was recently set up at our Paddle on Paint Creekfest and I know they would love to see students from Greenfield consider becoming a part of their programs. A blog reader sent me the following link to an article in the Dayton Daily News regarding the UAS program. This is a major emerging technology and you may want to direct your child’s attention to it

Just click the link below for the full article.

FAA exemption gives Sinclair UAS program new wings

Hunting Indian Artifacts, The Weidners

Hopewell pipeBeing a South Central Power Coop customer/member bring you two things each month. A bill and a copy of their often interesting magazine, Country Living. The May, 2015 issue includes an article titled “Hunting Indian Artifacts” and the story’s focus is Len and Janie (Jinks) Weidner of Sunbury, OH. Janie is originally from Greenfield and has been an avid artifact hunter and collector since early childhood. Both her and Len are recognized authorities in the world of Native American artifacts. For years Janie has been the editor of Who’s Who in Indian Relics and has been very involved with the Archaeological Society of Ohio.

Hope you enjoy the read.

Continue reading Hunting Indian Artifacts, The Weidners

The Day of the Drone

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) branch of Dayton’s Sinclair Community College had a demonstration and information booth set up at the recent Paddle on Paint Creekfest. UAS or drones are today’s big thing, an emerging technology that appears to have a bright future.

It was hoped that Sinclair’s people would be able to launch a drone and take aerial photos of the event but that was not to be. The type of drone they fly has, until very recently, been restricted to but a few air spaces. As luck would have it those restrictions were lifted just a couple of days ago but their drones were had been returned to the manufacturer for required safety inspection.

To the rescue came Brian Carle with his shiny white quad-copter armed with a digital camera. Brian’s drone could be seen photographing the area and hopefully he will make available some video clips of what was happening along Paint Creek.

Ann Byars is who brought Sinclair’s efforts to our attention and this morning she sent me a link to an article focused on the future of drones and their potential applications, especially in agriculture. Both she and I are excited about the career potential to be found in this technology. And given Sinclair’s close proximity to Greenfield this is an area of study Greenfield students should be made aware of.

The Day the Blues Cried

bbkingAs lots of blues songs begin, I woke up this mornin’. Well, I woke up this morning to the news that the King of the Blues had passed away. B.B. King left the building during the night and the world was left with a void. Years ago I had written a story about B.B. and went looking for it. For the moment it remains lost in several terabytes of stored data but I did come across a story I wrote in 2005 about a trip I made to Mississippi and the home of so many great bluesmen like King. This story first appeared in the Times Gazette and sometime later Ron Coffey asked me for a copy but I couldn’t find it. So for Ron, and in homage to King and all those who gave the world Blues, here it is.

Published August, 2005
For many years I’ve been interested in Southern culture and food. About fifteen years ago this interest evolved into a love of blues music and blues history. The blues that most people are familiar with is probably that performed by such greats as Stevie Ray Vaughn and B.B. King. The blues that I’m most interested in is far more raw and basic. It’s the blues that was born in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta and came out of hard times and hard living.

This blues is called country blues or Delta blues. It is acoustic music played on cheap instruments by people with no formal musical training and only the most basic vocabularies. It is rough, and crude, and unrefined, but the lyrics tell great stories of life, be it hard times or good, love gone wrong or love at its best. It’s the music that reinforced how tough life could be and it is also the music that swept away reality on Saturday night when a few dollars could buy you some beer at a local juke joint.

There are lots of places that lay claim to being the birthplace of something. Memphis claims to be the home of rock and roll and Jackson, Tennessee, claims rockabilly. But, if any town has a valid claim, it’s Clarksdale, Mississippi. The proof is in drawing a fifty-mile wide circle on a map with Clarksdale at its center. Then create a list of bluesmen that were born, raised or spent much of their adult lives inside that circle. The list will include such names as Ike Turner, Sam Cooke, Charlie Patton, Bukka White, Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Johnson, Son House, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. Besides these who became famous, there are dozens more who achieved little or no fame. The musicologist Alex Lomax once said that Clarksdale was responsible for more bluesmen than any place on earth.

The Clarksdale area is filled with historical icons of Delta blues history. The nearby town of Tutwiler is where W.C. Handy (considered the father of the blues) first observed a black itinerant musician singing about a place where two railroad lines cross and accompanying himself on a cheap guitar using a pocketknife as a slide. According to Handy, “It was the weirdest music I’d ever heard.” Because of this historical occasion, Tutwiler also lays claim to being the birthplace of the blues and proclaims such high on its water tower.

Tutwiler is also the final resting place of Sonny Boy Williamson II. Williamson, also known as Rice Miller, is considered to have been the greatest blues harp player in history. His style set the standard for all who followed.

In the rural areas around Clarksdale were huge cotton plantations such as Stovall and Hopson. It was on these plantations that many of the greats were born, grew up, worked, learned the hardships of being poor, and later fled. Several plantations still exist and one, Hopson, is trying to keep its place in blues history by offering tours and converting its field hand housing into sleeping quarters for tourists.

In Clarksdale itself, you’ll find the Riverside Hotel on Sunflower Ave. Once a Negro hospital, it is the site where Bessie Smith died following an automobile crash in 1937. After World War II the hospital was converted into a hotel, catering to black travelers it became a haven for black musicians performing in the area. You name the artist and he or she has spent time at the Riverside Hotel. The hotel is still open and caters to blues fans from all over the world. The room in which Smith died is filled with mementos about her and open to the public.

Depending on which music historian you want to believe, the Riverside can also lay claim to being the birthplace of rock and roll. In 1951, in the hotel’s basement, Ike Turner cut a demo tape of Rocket 88, a number that many to consider to be the first rock and roll tune. The tape was later sent to Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis and turned into a hit for Turner.

Further down Sunflower, and across from the cemetery, sits Red’s Lounge. Red’s is probably the last true juke joint in Clarksdale. It’s only open when Red is in the mood and I was fortunate enough to be there when he was. Greenwood, MS’s T-Model Ford was the attraction that night. T-Model is nearing 80 but still plays a strong guitar. Testifying to the international popularity of the blues there were at least four Germans, an Englishman and a young man from Japan in the crowd that evening. The Germans and the Brit even picked up instruments and took a turn at the microphone between sets.

Doing much to keep alive the blues tradition of the Clarksdale area is the Delta Blues Museum. Located in the old railway station and adjoining warehouse, the museum is a major repository of blues history and memorabilia. It is the place where you’ll want to begin your visit to Mississippi’s Delta.

Located next door to the museum, in an old commercial building, is the Ground Zero Blues Club. It was founded in 2001 by Clarksdale homeboy and actor, Morgan Freeman. The attempt was to recreate the look and feel of a traditional juke joint and breathe new life into the area’s native music. Guessing from the Saturday evening I spent there, it is working. The place was packed with people from many backgrounds, races and nationalities; all sharing in the emotion of this thing called the blues.

A few miles out of Clarksdale I stopped along the roadside and walked a few feet into a cotton field. Standing there in the 105-degree temperature I reflected on what it must have been like to spend endless twelve-hour days chopping cotton in these fields, countless years of backbreaking toil for little money and even less chance of attaining a better way of life. It’s easy to see why Mississippi’s Delta became the birthplace of the blues.

Texas Takeover

FACTOID: A recent poll indicates that only 40% of Republican voters believe the federal government is not attempting to takeover Texas as part of a military training exercise called Jade Helm 15. 32% believe it is a going to be attempted and the remaining 28% said they were unsure. GOPers just love a good conspiracy theory!

MHS Band Booster’s Annual Duck Race

duckWanna buy a duck? Well you can buy one duck or six hundred for this years McClain High School Band Boosters annual Duck Race. Tickets are on sale at Jett’s Embroidery and the Corner Pharmacy for $5 each. First place pays $300, second $200, and third $100. The race, which is part of G3’s annual Paddle on Paint Creekfest will begin at 2:00 pm at Greenfield’s Felson Park on Sunday, May 17th.

Advanced reservations for kayak and canoe trips during the Creekfest may be made at…

eventbrite pay button

2015 G3 Paddle on Paint Creek Fest is Coming!

It’s time to mark you calendars and pre-register for Greening Greater Greenfield’s 2015 Paddle on Paint Creek Fest. Sunday, May 17 th promises to be bigger and better this and far more organized by using Eventbrite as a method of pre-registering, and paying online with major credit cards. Simply click on the Eventbrite button and choose the vessel and time you want to hit the water and you’ll receive your ticket via email. Hopefully no more long lines like last year.

eventbrite pay button


And don’t forget to buy your duck for the MHS Band Booster’s 2015 Duck Races. Cash payouts to the winning ducks.

See the flyer below for all details.

PonP Flyer 2015 - Final Version-jpeg

Riots, you don’t have to like it but you have to…

baltimoreYesterday I became embroiled in a discussion on Facebook about systemic racism in America and what is happening in the streets of Baltimore. As I attempted to understand it all I was perceived by some as being in support of the mayhem and violence that is racking that city. The same thing happened when I tried to openly discuss what occurred in Ferguson last year.

In my life television has brought any number of urban riots into my living room and I have not supported or found justification for any of them. I do not support the violent expression of the rights to peacefully assemble and redress grievances. Rioting is illegal and not protected by the laws of the land.

Continue reading Riots, you don’t have to like it but you have to…

Playing for Change Heals Winter Blahs!

playing for change logoIt happened once again. Sitting in my recliner looking out the window at a winter that just keeps on keeping on. I click on my Gmail icon and there it is, Playing for Change Project 112, Pata Pata. It opens up with Grandpa Elliot leading me into an up tempo rhythm straight from the tropical warmth of Africa. My foot gets to patting and my spirit begins to breathe fresh air. Just as I think it can’t get better guitarist Vasti Jackson bridges into oh so familiar musical comfort food, Wimba Way, and a huge smile comes to my face.

Just yesterday I was told by a middle age woman that kids today don’t like music. While I’m not going to argue with her obvious lack ignorance of young people I’ll simply say that I’m one ageing old man who still finds joy, comfort, and warmth in music. P for P is a gift that keeps coming down my Internet chimney. Thank you so much.

Purveyor of Fact, Fiction, Opinion and Rumor. Not responsible for lost children, pets, or souls. Read at your own risk!

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