And another tour ends. The caravan of cats moves on. And so many presenters move on to next shows, and people move on to next dates, and cats move on to next gigs. And Jonathan Kelly and I are no longer joking or playing chess or Facebooking or anything but working on notes day and night and day and night….And Frank, Boss Bragg and I prepare to ride into the midnight from Lincoln, Nebraska to New York City…20 hrs after the last gig of the tour. Whew!
All of the experiences of the past month hit us. A year crammed into three and a half intense weeks. The cats ad hoc assemble in Old Chicago, a restaurant across from the Lincoln Holiday Inn. (We usually end tours with some type of drink or fellowship but nothing was planned tonight). We sit under TV screens which broadcast final highlights of the Yankees' drubbing of the Twins, eating, drinking, breezily enjoying each other’s company without the oppressive presence of an impending deadline, and looking at old recordings of bad shit collected by Ernie Gregory and David Robinson in the various cities we have passed through. Sarah Vaughan with Count Basie, A.K. Salim, Benny Goodman Live, and so on…..
"Man, you remember that recording I got in Japan of all the outtakes of Sarah singing Stardust from this record? And you asked me why would I do that? Look at Jeter get every ounce of this ball. Pow!" That's Rob. He's coming up on his 20th year of being our soundman and lightman and resident hard, hard lover of the swing. Joe sits on the corner stool and responds to our questions about Salim with, "What was his original name?"
Curious patrons watch us inspect and discuss these recordings and notice the age ranges and physiologies of the men. They recognize the unforced intimacy that only comes from some type of well traveled group or team.
As folks from the concert come in and greet us, the room begins to buzz with the genial glow of informal significance. "They're a band you say?", "Yeah! They just played the hell out of some music. There's the drummer. Man you were working tonight. I play percussion. Damn! That was sweet. Let's get this picture.", "My mother taught elementary school and she took me to jazz concerts. I never GOT it until tonight. The way you all played with and for each other and us made me understand the jazz experience. Take a picture with my friend please. He is a musician." A young woman of twenty something. We enjoy talking with everyone and letting the dust of the tour settle.
Ted and I talk about beer (I never have liked it because my uncle drank a lot and damn near killed my grandmother doing it) and he summarizes the tour. "That was fun. It gets better and better as the years pass." That means a lot. He is not given to gratuitous enthusiasm. Ted is perpetually youthful (I think it’s because he avoids sugar). A few hours ago he was leading the University's Jazz band in a master class.
He is great with college kids because he gives them candid and quality information in a straightforward manner…then encourages them to be who they are. And he loves and can play all kinds of music with all types of musicians.
Ernie is telling people who we are and where we're from. Soon he will come to me, "Squazz, come get this picture with my man and his old lady, they from Seattle and dig the music." Billy Banks, our original road manager-now production manager in the House of Swing, once said if Ernie was as interested in doing his job as much as he was in collecting records…he wouldn't be Ernie. But Ernie loves the music and brings a down-home feeling and originality of character that can never be duplicated. He listens to the gig EVERY night and snaps pictures of us at various inopportune angles. These we see the next days with a blow by blow, "This was the King's (Ryan Kisor) expression when Marcus was playing all that horn on ‘Free for All’."
We played the Lied Center tonight. It was the inaugural concert of their 20th season. I could swear we played here about 20 years ago. I have the honor of playing with these great musicians and meeting parents and girlfriends and boyfriends and husbands and wives and supporters and critics and sponsors and old friends alike. All are present tonight in Lincoln, Nebraska, and though sleep was in very short supply on this tour, it was as it always is…the profoundest of pleasures.
To continue to live out a boyhood dream which proved to be far less (as a dream) than the reality which becomes even sweeter as a memory, makes me want to be better. That people get dressed up or not dressed up; travel from their homes, jobs, and dorms; spend their hard-earned money on tickets and come together for two and a half hours to find solace and enjoyment in the jazz music we play early in the Twenty-first century still gets to me even after 35 years of gigs. To play with a swinging rhythm section and be surrounded by cats who want to and can play is something I cherish at every gig. To have dedicated fans for years and the respect of the people that present your group; to be able to look at Victor, Marcus or Ali or Ryan after all these years and still feel that love and respect that comes with sharing the experience of playing all the various and difficult musics we have played under all types of tenuous circumstances and not have to be about any bullshit because every night the music makes you strive for more even if only through listening. I love to watch Walter Blanding listen to other cats play. He is more enthusiastic about what we play than we are.
It is 5:30 in the morning. Boss Bragg, Frank and I are crossing the border of Iowa and Illinois. We just pass Moscow, Iowa, about 200 miles from Chicago. The faintest hint of light breaks the sky and illuminates a light fog or it could be the lights of another city in the distance. We travel on in silence and pass the world’s largest truck stop, Iowa 80. Packed with trucks that resemble the gathering of wildlife around the one watering hole for miles on the Serengeti, this Iowa morning the sky is amorphous pre-blue gray with slight splash of orange that makes you feel something is about to happen . As we pass the top of the mighty Mississippi into Illinois, I reflect on some highlights of the tour:
1. The playing of the Monterey New Generation High School All-Stars.
2. The Turlock audience came to swing.
3. Kareem graced our gig in LA. So did the great acoustics guru Sam Berkow.
4. The hospitality of the Swalleys in Santa Barbara.
5. The softball game that was won by Victor's team over Carlos'…highlighted by the impartial pitching of boss Andre Bragg who once, as an outfielder, couldn't decide whether to put his beer down or catch a fly ball. This indecision resulted in a home run that is still discussed. We keep him away from the outfield.
6. Seeing Dave Brubeck, Inaki and Jasone, Carlo Pagnotta, John Patitucci, Gerald Wilson, Marcus Gilmore, Vijay Iyer and Joe Lovano in Monterey…and Clint Eastwood who always supports this great festival and jazz .
7. Talking to the Arts community in Sacramento at the behest of Mayor Kevin Johnson. (It felt like coming home.)
8. Ted's father playing with us in Thousand Oaks on ‘Ceora’ (Ted's arrangement).
9. The beautiful band of high school kids who came backstage in San Diego, all brimming with excitement talking about entering Essentially Ellington (our high school festival and competition).
10. The acoustics of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. Russell Johnson (he was the lead acoustician on the House of Swing and has passed away) would have loved the way his masterpiece of a hall sounded.
11. Katrina's pecan pie in Santa Fe.
12. Sherman Irby on ‘Blues Walk’ with our rhythm section maintaining a super slow tempo in Costa Mesa.
13. The second show in San Diego.
14. Both shows in Monterey.
15. The trombone section all over 6’3’ and swinging. The way our trombones loved the trombones of the Monterey young all-stars, some of whom we saw individually at other gigs later in the tour.
16. All the beautiful youngsters and their families I had the chance to hear and meet after almost every gig.
17. John Clayton, master bassist, composer and arranger, co-leader of a great band with Jeff Hamilton, one of the true gentleman of our time, came to our gig in LA…helped me carry my things to the car one hour after the gig ended…waited for me to talk to the remaining students (another thirty minutes)…stood in the loading dock with me 'til well after midnight (another 45 minutes)…agreed to look at my scores and gave me an impromptu lesson and sage advice on how to best orchestrate different passages. He showed so much concern and interest and love, I get full now thinking about me and him leaning into the car to use the light while Frank and David Robinson observed it all with curious smiles and no hint of impatience after they had worked all day and faced an hour drive.
It’s impossible to express the depth of my gratitude for all these things and many more.
Now we have put more than 9,000 miles on our vehicle. The cats have arrived home safely. We are still on the road in Pennsylvania, shrouded in darkness. It is 7:30pm. It looks like Boss Bragg won't have to buy me a too expensive meal from a bet he lost on the Dallas Cowboys vs. our NY Giants in Monterey which seems like two months ago. We begin to reflect on what we saw: the golden plains of Saskatchewan giving way to the sharp hewn Canadian Rockies. The majesty of the great American northwest with its crystal clear skies, Douglas firs, Redwoods and Sequoias. The peaks and valleys of California down through the wine country and past Cannery Row framed by the expansive Pacific. Many tangerine sunrises and sunsets sometimes through the lens of morning fog and the twilight shimmer of so many car lights and street lights and neon lights.
The down-home soul of the Worker Bee Cafe in Carpinteria, California – a true American mom and pop, breakfast spot featuring the cooking of a tough retired Marine chef known as Sergeant Grill with his sweet as honey wife waiting the tables. The windy fingers of a hurricane coming up from the Baja as we crossed the desert into Arizona. The craggy, rocky terrain sculpted with rusty mesas, canyons and plateaus that have the patience of old folks and tumbleweed, stingy cacti and the occasional dust devil kicking up to be dispersed and reformed later somewhere else. The indigenous American territory with its spiritual peacefulness, super dry air, elevated altitude and contemporary problems in need of continued attention.
Yes, we have traveled this country for many years and…Damn! Frank just got a ticket.
My kind of gig. Refurbished high school auditorium with excellent sound. Local people with an interest in culture. Just folks from the community come to have a good time and swing. A lot of cosigning and true interaction with the band.
As everywhere, people afterwards talk about all the different inventive solos. I meet the couples most responsible for presenting these types of events (always a highlight for me because I know how hard it is to keep artistic things going). A lady brought 60 students with her (I saw the roll sheet).
JK and I have our hands full with this music.
We open the gig in Eugene playing my arrangement of Wayne Shorter's 'Free for All'. Wayne wrote this for Art Blakey, and I always think of Bu (what we all called Art) and the integrity he always exhibited on the bandstand. So many highlights on the gig – Ali firing on all cylinders; Elliot playing so much trombone with such virtuosity and accuracy, I had to lean forward to see if it was a valve trombone (it wasn't); Vince sounding like a human voice on Horace Silver's 'Peace'; Ted Nash's pristine flute on 'Itsy Bitsy Spider'. I don't know what possessed me to sing Joe Turner's blues, but it didn't stop us from playing Duke's 1947 masterpiece 'The Tattooed Bride', and it didn't keep Vic from crooning that sweet ballad at the end and cresting that last high f concert up over the band for 6 or 7 long measures.
Yeah. We still out here swinging. And so is Duke and the blues and all of them. We bring 'em with us.
Finally, a drive that commences later than 4 in the morning. Hallelujah! 7am. The highway comes out of the mountain, and you are close enough to read the rock lines on both sides. Shimmering brooks run through mountain passes and give way to green vistas as we pass through the Shasta Valley. Back up through mountains cloaked in redwoods, Douglas-firs and other trees whose names I don't know. Rare, bare, stony peaks stand starkly against the sky. Down into the flatlands of northern California, we pass all kinds of farms and personal signs – "Julia's Fruit Stand – home of the Great Pumpkin Festival".
On side the road: people smokin’ ribs, wooden frame houses speak silently and eloquently of the everydayness of living. All this produce for sale in a down-home fashion reminds me of the vegetable man who came through the neighborhoods when I was growing up singing, "I got your peas – snap, sugar and black, your cabbage, your mirlitons just off the vine, and your watermelon ruby-red to the rind.”
The gig in Chico is absolutely swinging with a first set that catches fire. Just a lot of inspired solos and diversity in the rhythm section. Well, you have Sherman playing all kinds of blues, then Chris making it plain with the plunger, and the very next tune Ted playing every inch of the alto on 'Epistrophy', followed by Marcus Printup playing with deep soul andlogic, verbally and rhythmically cosigned by Ali at every fresh twist and turn. Victor and Walter lock horns on a galloping 'Stage West' which concludes with Ali taking over after a brief syncopated and soft 5 chorus discussion with me.
As we walk off for intermission Elliot says, "That was probably the best set of solos we've played since I joined the band," and Ted says, "Chris is so patient and unpredictable when he plays." Sherman observes, "Yep." Walter and Ted follow every minute of every solo. They are very enthusiastic listeners – excellent models for students who come to hear us. We speak to some beautiful young musicians after the gig and then J.Kelly and i meet at the hotel to lay out our battle plan for orchestration.
Tomorrow we play Monterey, but the gig is not until 10 or 11pm. Amen, brothers and sisters.
5am: Travelling through Washington going southwest. Farmlands and handmade signs, "fresh blueberries", "sweet corn all you can eat". We want to stop but all is still. Rolling hills in the distance and patches of communities periodically gleam on the horizon under the new, orange sun.
7am: School buses hit the road in Pasco. Many taco trucks painted "La Diferencia" await the day. Kids, in small groups and alone, walk to school with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
We're on highway 84 west, 130 miles east of Portland. The sun and clear, clear sky reveal a gorgeous day. Sand colored hills with intermittent fields of stark-white, three-pronged windmills in various degrees of motion give way to periodic oases of green. A super long train with two engines snakes along above the river bank. I am brought back to Kenner, Louisiana where we grew up down the street from a railroad track on the left and the mighty Mississippi on the right. Miles and miles of open highway and the Columbia River is crystal blue. Hmm…the Mississippi was brown. Here's some Bighorn sheep clustered on a ledge right above the road, looking for something to do. Passing Blaylock Canyon and everything is a living postcard.
Coming into Portland to visit Dr. Monette's shop, we are so tired it's comical, but the drive was inspirational. Frank says, "It was like being in a cathedral at some points. Stained glass and all." Portland reminds me of Leroy Vinnegar and Ben Wolfe. Two bassists of different generations — one love of swinging.
We're at Dave's shop outside the Portland airport. We have a needed a visit with the Doctor. The shop and everyone working there is a model of soul and concern and first class workmanship. We share a noonday meal and discuss various issues of the day, like George Blanda's age when he retired from the NFL and the beat-down my Raiders received on Monday.
Andre Bragg (diehard Cowboys fan from D.C. no less) is not a man given to lots of talk. He says only one thing the entire time. "They needed Blanda on Monday." We look at old photos, and I play the horn I'm fortunate to be taking…and Frank and Dave ruminate on some issues, and Dave shows Frank the components of an earring he's about to make for him, and we give hugs and respect to all these wonderful craftsmen…and we're off.
Two hours to Eugene when we thought it would be twenty minutes…Well there goes any hope of working on my orchestration this afternoon before sound check.
We leave Banff at 3:45am and come back to the U.S. Rolling hills speckled and blanketed in evergreens as we pass through northwestern Idaho into Washington. The northwest is crisp and alive with hospitable people possessing the hard-edged realism of nature. We still remember a great gig in Orcas Islands years ago that had tenor saxophonist Todd Williams wanting to move there. Frank gives a seminar on hawks, eagles and buzzards. "You see, hawks and falcons don't fly over thermals. That's a buzzard." Highway 90 west. We pass a Steinway piano gallery on the left, then immediately right, a fisherman's fly shop. A mile or so down the road, we find what seems to be the world largest junkyard…reminds me of when my daddy and I put up a too high basketball hoop in our yard years ago. We got the pipe from a junkyard and the cement and hoop from Sears. It was 10 feet 4 inches, but we were still proud of it.
Keith, a high school trumpeter, sits in on our sound check. He plays a couple of well constructed solos and brings a great attitude. He's probably going to the University of Washington next year. Marcus and Ryan and I tell him we've been playing together for 16 years. He is 17. Hearing him and feeling his love for our instrument and for jazz music inspires us.
Two hours later, our audience is very lively and interactive. We love it. When people shout and cosign and participate, we are encouraged. That's jazz. It's what our music invites you to do. Carlos is playing all kinds of bass tonight – making up beautiful lines and inventing interesting vamps and counter grooves, listening and interacting with soloists even when they can't hear him, negotiating the time with Ali (all night they look at each other and ‘yay or nay’ decisions to put the beat in a certain place, to play in two or four, to groove or swing, to push or relax the time, to play at a balanced volume), and keeping the energy positive and flowing. Someone knows what 'Crepuscule' means. She wins the prize. (Even though we don't yet know what it is).
After the gig, I luckily catch the New York Philharmonic playing the hell out of Berlioz's ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ on TV. Now it's 5 in the morning and we are driving to Eugene. 7 and 8 hour drives day after day wear you down, but so do a series of 1 hour plane rides. It takes hours to move a big band around, so the plane travel will consume roughly the same time.
Now I like to write about what is inspiring to me, what I like. But let me tell you, this is not a vacation. The road kicks you in your ass. In the 90's we toured constantly with the septet and the orchestra. Some members of cats' families would think we were out 'travelling' and partying—we always encouraged them to come out here. One tour is all it takes. When they would be sleeping all day in public spaces, struggling with the constantly changing conditions while being victimized by the various unexpected mess-ups that cost you the two hours of normalcy you need to achieve any type of equilibrium, we would laugh and say, "Dee road, dee road! Fun!" They understood. The only thing resembling vacation is the gig. "Put together thirty years and we can talk about it." That's what Elvin Jones told me about 15 years ago.
Well…all is dark and quiet. Let me go before I begin to dislike my angle on this seat. We got 6 hours to go…
The feeling of jazz…trumpets, trombones, saxophones scooping, swooping and squeezing notes to life. Piano sparkling, bass homping and drums smacking skin and metal, painting with brushes. The constant stream of ideas and the strain of perpetual negotiation (under the pressure of time) excites the room.
Somebody cain’t help theyself after Sherman tells 'em on “Blues Walk”. To and fro, in and out, back and forth, me and you, us.
Ted Nash playing something so fluttery on “Epistrophy” makes Ryan and me say, "What is that?" After some time off, the sound of the band is always unique and refreshing.
We won't start aggravating each other for at least two weeks.
People in Banff, a resort with a deeply spiritual overtone in a valley 4800 feet up in the Rockies, come to swing…hard. They are cosigning solos and having a generally great time, making it easy for us to communicate. It feels good at any time, but after 40 something hours in a vehicle…better than good.
Is Frank Stewart sleeping? Hell no. He makes the sound check 10 minutes after arriving…then the gig.
On the road again. 40hour drive to Banff, Alberta, Canada…the type of drive that makes you reconsider your fear of flying. We travel this time in a Lincoln Navigator. I look forward to this ride because I know I will get some sleep. These last weeks have been rough.
We have driven so many miles up and down the U.S. in the last 25 years; the front seat of a car sleeps better than a single bed. Frank Stewart and Andre Bragg are driving and will be on the road crew, and Frank will also take all kinds of great pictures.
We have had more problems with vehicles over the years. One winter we had a Winnebago with no heat on a tour through the Midwest in the middle of a deep freeze. You had to sit right under the front vents to get any heat. "Man, is it supposed to be this cold in here?" I asked looking at my breath. Frank accused me of whining and volunteered to switch places. “Three blankets and still no satisfaction.” Later he observed, "Damn it’s cold in this m.f.!" We couldn't switch the vehicle until reaching the west coast so we eased the situation by using this inconvenience to considered real hardship that folks have endured. We ended up speculating on how Napoleon's soldiers must have felt in Russia which led to talk about why vodka doesn't freeze. Sometimes I read books or poems out loud to them. They wouldn't admit it but they always say, "Read another one man… read another one." We also pass hours by telling the stories of each others lives from first memories to the present. It's called 'the life of', but Frank's life is so interesting, we never get past him.
You may have noticed we had fewer post in the last weeks. That's because J. Kelly and I have been up day and night with notes, notes, notes…thousands of them. Wayne Shorter once told me, "Notes are like people. You have to go up and meet each one." Well I must be running for something because I've met a lot of those people in the last three weeks. These were hard but extremely intense days of 15, 16 hours of concentration. It’s funny because that type of absorption is difficult to get to and harder to let go. Once rehearsals began for tour, no more day and night vacation withmusic. And I'm still late and not working on orchestration yet, so this is gonna be three or four completely sleepless weeks. I love this, and when waking up at 5am after 2 or 3 hours of sleep, mutter to myself, "Let's see m.f. Let's see." J. Kelly joked with me after one week of intense work. "No posts huh?" He sent me this list of number of notes for each movement in the piano sketch:
Whenever I compose long pieces and see page after page of hard-earned music, I think about Sandy Feldstein-drummer, composer, arranger, music publisher and educator par excellence, man of sartorial splendor and down home humor. He would always say, "Are you suffering with diarrhea of the pen? Man, turn the music upside down when you’re halfway through and that's your whole piece with half the work." Good drummers hate to see a lot of notes anyway. You have to let them do their thing for the music to be free. Duke didn't write drum parts (I think). Sandy used to laugh when looking at a pile of notes and say, "Yes, there are a LOT of notes, but are they GOOD notes?" I loved him. We lost a great friend of music and American education whenhe passed away. I'm gonna check on Wendy today.
Before satellite radio we used to search all over for games and have the radio cut out at the crucial moment. Well, I slept from 9pm (when we left) to 5 in the morning (now) and missed that Packers-Bears game last night. We tease whoever sleeps about their snoring but Frank wins the prize. Now it’s just past 6 and the sky is that deep Matisse blue. We are chewing up open, American highway, and the trees are shadows that dot the misty landscape. The pre-sunrise lights of people's homes make us nostalgic for the school time mornings of our own childhoods, and the big trucks roll on and on and on…and so do we.
Today is my big brother Branford's birthday.
We had some helluva times growing up. He is a musician with such great ears and reflexes that playing with him was something you could take for granted…until you played with other people.
I remember us learning tunes in the mid-70's off of Earth, Wind and Fire, Parliament, Stevie Wonder, Tower of Power and all the recordings of funk bands with good horn sections. We were so country…we would write the names of notes (a-b-b-d-f-f) on regular loose-leaf paper.
Our first gig was an elementary school dance in Kenner, LA. We had a four piece band——sax, trumpet, guitar and drums. The gig was supposed to be two hours and took place in the school cafeteria-gymnasium-meeting room. We learned about 12 songs. Well, those songs took us about 35 minutes into the gig. We stopped. People said, "We came here to dance, y'all better come up with something, NOW". The next hour was a continuous medley of all 12 songs with some of the saddest solos you ever heard in your life. We were 11 and 12 then.
4 years later we played in a funk band called the Creators. Girls would ask us, "What do y'all create?"
The band was about 9 pieces, and Branford and I were the youngest by 4 or 5 years. We played a talent show in the 9th ward at Nicholls High School, and some kind of way had neglected to learn one of the contestant's songs…and to add insult to injury, didn't realize it till he walked out onto the stage.
Now these could be raucous brown affairs with the audience commenting (back and forth about what they liked and disliked) to the band. One group of singers earlier that evening had butchered “Kung Fu Fighting” and had the nerve to announce to the audience, "The band is fuckin' us up, y’all."
We had 9 and 1 packing, so we took the mic and announced that they weren't shit. It was funny, but we had to think about whether they would go home and come back with something because it was their neighborhood and those karate outfits probably gave them the feeling they could whip someone's ass. So we were on edge and the people were ready for some Crescent City type excitement to jump off.
Here comes my man whose song we definitely don't know. The show stops while we discuss another song to do. "Hey man, this is what I know. You motherfuckers better play my song." He has his country-best clothes on and probably all his friends and girlfriend there.
It was tight.
The people start murmuring which soon leads to shouting which we know will lead to a really colorful story, if you survive to tell it. Branford had only heard the song a few times on the radio. He sat down at the electric keyboard and played the intro and changes of the tune. He guided our bass player and drummer through it all with complete cool and saved us from a very unpleasant physical encounter with a hyped up audience.
My man made it through his song, yellow suit intact, and we all couldn't believe Book pulled that off. That was Branford's nickname Book, Bookie, Book-Book Nova, Track Star Book. He could play any instrument he touched and run the hundred in 10 seconds or faster if being chased through South Boston.
Happy Birthday Book.
Jonathan Kelly is from Maine. He plays bass.
J.K. copies music (translates the hand score into playable parts). He is a one-man team of copyists. When we did my Abyssinian Mass he turned 2hrs of music into professional parts in one week and made the choir director tremble.
He used to have a bass at my apt. and we would play after going through something to be copied.
His wife Phoebe is perfect for him. They were married in a most soulful and completely unpretentious ceremony in Manhattan's Central Park.
J. Kelly and I will be up and sleepless for 4 or 5 days rushing to meet some deadline at 3 in the morning but we still sit down after every music pick-up to play a game of chess.
We always say, "no need to be uncivilized."
He immediately walks out the door upon making a winning move to let me assess what has happened. Not a word. We have worked on hundreds of pieces.
Phoebe asked jk once late at night.
"What ever happens to all this stuff you are killing yourself over?
"We laugh about that all the time because we don't know what happens to it and wonder why we do it especially on really long pieces that never get recorded and everyone complains about it's too long and hard. Let's just play Black Codes forever. It would be a lot easier… Then jk says, "pick up at 2" and I have to be ready. When I'm really late, we compete. Can I compose faster than he copies? I knew I would miss the deadline for the symphony last year when jk said," we're not going to make it. This is too important to write with this type of fatigue."
He never says that. It's ready to be that time again.
Long live JK and Phoebe!
I'm thinking about how he can translate my completely homespun scores with thousands and thousands of notes into all that printed music and almost never make one single error. Must be something in Maine.
I'm thinking about whippin his ass on that chess board.
I'm thinkin' we're gonna be up for the next 4 weeks.
Happy birthday to my brother Ellis.
He is to the point and no frills. He is a photographer, poet, and computer engineer. Has three kids and works his ass off. We call him the oracle. He is constantly studying something. He was reading a transcript of Justice Scalia's opinion and decrying the lack of precision in the language.
All the while he's reading passages that he's marked in fluorescent blue to highlight this lack of judicial integrity. He backs every opinion with some form of evidence. We called him Lut when we were growing up. I still call him Lut or Lil 'Lut even though he's the tallest one of us. He's writing a book on war.
Ellis said he has been getting distracted lately and not doing what he is supposed to do. So I'm wondering what was he doing. Maybe looking at TV, gambling, hanging out, going to clubs, some frivolity…….he's reading the Old Testament.