Friday, July 31, 2009


I got the idea to build this table after a visit to the gallery that is known as Space 301. Space 301 is located in beautiful downtown Mobile, Alabama. The space recently underwent a renovation and is a great place to see art. We enjoyed a Mose T show there a couple years ago. I think there was something like 300 plus pieces of Mose T art for this show and I looked at everyone of them. Twice. This show was a sight to behold. I must not have been writing this blog at the time or else I would have already written about the awesome Mose T show. (thank you Ann Bedsole)

Anyway, not long ago we found ourselves in Mobile, just hanging out with my sister and her son. Sunday morning not to early, but before the grits went on the stove, we decided to go to the the Space 301 gallery. I had just picked up the paper at Roper St and read about a show which sounded very interesting, but kinda of cuckoo.

The name for this show was Imagillaboration: Collaborative Sculpture Project.

A guy named Michael Cottrell who is a professor at Florida Community College in Jacksonville, Florida got together 106 professional artist and broke them down into regional groups. Each artist from each group started a sculpture then passed it to another artist in their group. They each worked on every piece in their group. They worked on the sculptures for 18 months. Then Cottrell pick out pieces and put together this show. Brilliant idea, right? I liked it.

A lot of the pieces were assembled with found objects. Some old rusty stuff, some new parts, ceramics, metal, wood, rope and lots more was used. Most of the show was a pleasure to look at. It got me to thinking, again, about all the stuff I have in my 2000 sq ft work shop. I got rope and metal and wood, I got rusty stuff and all kinds of stuff to make a nice sculpture from. This always happens when I see a show like this, makes me want to assemble old stuff.

Well, I didn't really make a sculpture, but I did use old wood and old, rusty metal disc to make a cocktail table.

I picked out these 3 pieces of wood from the pile.

The flat long piece I ripped down the middle and made an apron from it. From the red piece and the longer post with the rough end I made four legs. I cleaned the post up by running then through my table saw and taking off a little bit from each side. Then I cut 4 legs to 18" each with a 15 degree angle on each end of each leg. The 15 degrees is a good angle for splayed legs. I also used a piece of plywood for a sub-top that will not be seen.

So then I had this, an upside down cocktail table undercarriage.

So then I took 3 rusty disc that appeared to be the tops from 50 gallon barrels, like these.

I cleaned them a little, sanded off some rust and made sure the edges were not sharp. Then I took old wood bolts and large washers and attached the disc to the undercarriage through holes I had drilled in the disc. I painted the apron red and distressed the paint. I just sanded the legs down, no stain, just clear coat. I sprayed the whole table with protective clear coating about three times and there you have it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Your A Redneck If......

1. You take your dog for a walk and you both use the same tree.
2. You can entertain yourself for more than 15 minutes with a fly swatter.
3. Your boat has not left the driveway in 15 years.
4. You burn your yard rather than mow it.
6. The Salvation Army declines your furniture.
7. You offer to give someone the shirt off your back and they don't want it.
8. You have the local taxidermist on speed dial.
9. You come back from the dump with more than you took.
10. You keep a can of Raid on the kitchen table.
11. Your wife can climb a tree faster than your cat.
12. Your grandmother has 'ammo' on her Christmas list.
13. You keep flea and tick soap in the shower.
14. You've been involved in a custody fight over a hunting dog.
15. You go to the stock car races and don't need a program.
16. You know how many bales of hay your car will hold.
17. You have a rag for a gas cap.
18. Your house doesn't have curtains, but your truck does.
19. You wonder how service stations keep their rest-rooms so clean.
20.. You can spit without opening your mouth.
21. You consider your license plate personalized because your father made it.
22. Your lifetime goal is to own a fireworks stand.
23. You have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say 'Cool Whip' on the side.
24. The biggest city you've ever been to is Wal-Mart.
25. Your working TV sits on top of your non-working TV.
26. You've used your ironing board as a buffet table.
27. A tornado hits your neighborhood and does $100,000 worth of improvements.
28. You've used a toilet brush to scratch your back.
29. You missed your 5th grade graduation because you were on jury duty.
30. You think fast food is hitting a deer at 65.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Stacey and I bid on a $75 gift card at a fund raiser not long ago and won. The card was good at any one of the five restaurants owned and operated by the Fifth Group. They are South City Kitchen, 2 locations, La Tavola, Original El Taco and ECCO. They had The Food Studio at one time, it was a very good restaurant and the decor was great. I would say that's a trade mark of the Fifth Group restaurants, very nice design. I haven't been in La Tavola, but the others are nice. I especially like Ecco, it hits you right away. The entrance is beautiful. Two huge doors surrounded by towering glass, wood and steel. The lighting just pours out, making the whole place glow. The dinning room is wide open and is flanked on one side by a bright and shiny kitchen. The food was as good as the view, and it was not over priced at all.

I had vodka martinis, they were good

Lil Lady had TDYNHB formerly known as “The Drink You’ve Never Had Before.” Maker’s Mark, vanilla syrup and fresh raspberries topped with fizzy Session Lager.

Piquillo peppers stuffed with mushrooms, sherry and manchego.

Grilled squid with crushed olives.

Fried goat cheese, honey and black pepper.

Roasted shrimp, tomato, fennel and almond.

The only dish that disappointed was the one push hardest by the waitron and that was the
Fried goat cheese, honey and black pepper. I don't remember what it was, but the dish just didn't work. Everything else was really good. My favorite was the Grilled squid with crushed olives. It was the best squid I've ever had. It was big, it was grilled perfectly and the texture was just the way I like.
crushed olives is a great idea and something we will start adding to dishes we make at home. Crushed olives would work great with lot's of food. Oh, Stacey loved the TDYNHB and yes you read correctly, it had both beer and bourbon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Teacher Man

My sister, who is a high school teacher, and I were talking about the death of Frank McCourt. He died a few days ago. She was telling me her book club was reading Angela's Ashes and she was really enjoying it. Today I read this article in the NY Times and wondered if she knew he was a high school teacher for 30 years. From this article I would say he really reached some of those kids. I wish I would have had a teacher like him when I was in school.
Check it out.

Published: July 20, 2009

His former students will tell you that Frank McCourt, who died Sunday, was too attuned to the false note ever to declare, once he had become a huge success as an author, that he missed teaching high school. Even so, he spent three decades as a teacher of English and creative writing in New York City’s public schools. And he was the first to say that those years, while depriving him of the time actually to write, were what made a writer out of him. He had long been retired by 1996, when his first book, “Angela’s Ashes,” was published.

Mr. McCourt began teaching in 1958, when he was 28, at Ralph R. McKee Vocational High School on Staten Island, and from 1972 to 1987 taught at Stuyvesant High School, a highly selective school, then on East 15th Street in Manhattan. His students learned from him that literature was nothing more — and nothing less — than the telling of stories.

Of course he made his students dip into the canon; they learned to write from reading Swift, Joyce, Hawthorne, Hemingway and Flannery O’Connor. But, as many of them have said, the most inspired and inspiring hours spent in his classroom were devoted to listening to him share experiences from his own life.

“A lot of the class was him telling tales and telling them over and over,” said Alissa Quart, an author and a 2009 Nieman Fellow at Harvard who was Mr. McCourt’s student during her freshman year at Stuyvesant, in 1985-86. “He used to sort of recite from memory the stories that became ‘Angela’s Ashes.’ ”

The book, an international best seller many times over and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, chronicled Mr. McCourt’s sad, impoverished childhood in Ireland.

As the news of Mr. McCourt’s death spread, hundreds of admirers, including many former students, posted their recollections on They talked about his influence as a teacher, meeting him or hearing him read, and the joy that his books had delivered.

“Frank was the Lou Reed of high school English, sending writers, chroniclers and those with memory out into the world aware and ready to savor experience for its own sake, long before he ever took pen to paper to compose his now famous trilogy,” one commenter who identified himself as a Stuyvesant alumnus wrote, referring to the old line that the Velvet Underground’s first album sold 10,000 copies, and started as many bands.

A former student, Kwana Jackson, now a writer of romance novels, provided evidence to support this. She called Mr. McCourt “one my personal heroes,” and linked to her blog, where she wrote of his class: “It was where I started to really love the written word and started to crave the writer’s life. Only Mr. McCourt could make suffering desirable. Hell, you were going to suffer in this life anyway you might as well do it doing something you love.”

Dan Coleman, who studied with Mr. McCourt at Stuyvesant and returned to teach Mr. McCourt’s writing course during the 1990s, said students also heard stories less tragic than those from his childhood about Mr. McCourt’s life as a single man. (He was married three times.) “He would come in and tell us, in his beautiful brogue, charming, hilarious stories about how he tried to play off of the maternal instincts of the women he’d meet — making reference to how much laundry he had that needed to be done, things like that,” Mr. Coleman said.

“Looking back, it was all part of a technique,” said Vernon Silver, Stuyvesant class of 1987 and a reporter for Bloomberg News in Rome whose book “The Lost Chalice” has just been published. “He wanted you to tell a story too.”

A common exercise was asking students to describe what they had done when they got home the night before. “He would coax it out of us, showing us how to pay attention to mundane but telling details,” Mr. Silver said. “I remember a dialogue with a shy student. The kid said, ‘I did my homework.’ McCourt said: ‘No, no, no. What did you do when you walked in? You went through a door, didn’t you? Did you have anything in your hands? A book bag? You didn’t carry it with you all night, did you? Did you hang it on a hook? Did you throw it across the room and your mom yelled at you for it?’ ”

And on and on, until enough significant glimpses of the boy’s life emerged to begin to paint a picture. In “Teacher Man” Mr. McCourt wrote that he came upon his method by accident on his second day at McKee. A joke he made about relations with sheep as a boy in Ireland did not go over well with his colleagues:

“In the teachers’ cafeteria veterans warned me, Son, tell ’em nothing about yourself. ...You’re the teacher. You have a right to privacy. The little buggers are diabolical. They are not, repeat not, your natural friends. ... You can never get back the bits and pieces of your life that stick in their little heads. Your life, man. It’s all you have.”

He went on: “The advice was wasted. ... My life saved my life.”

There was more to it than that. “Frank had us sing salacious folk songs, he had us write courtroom defenses of inanimate objects and recite recipes as poetry,” said Susan Jane Gilman, a former student who has published two memoirs. “Stuyvesant was largely for math-science types, it was learning by rote. Frank’s class was an intellectual freefall. I looked forward to it every day.”

Although his books were still years off, Mr. McCourt was famous at Stuyvesant throughout much of his time there. “If you were at the school and you wanted to write, you went to meet McCourt,” said David Lipsky, the author, most recently, of “Absolutely American,” a book about West Point. “It wasn’t ‘go read the complete works of J. D. Salinger.’ It was one word: McCourt.”

Many of his former students became writers, and many kept in touch with him. Ms. Gilman said: “We all thought, ‘He’s such a genius, what’s he doing just teaching us?’ Everybody thought he was destined for bigger and better things. And when he became a global phenomenon, we felt it was justice.”

Thursday, July 16, 2009


So did ya forget we went to Bangkok this year. Not long ago as a matter of fact. I was looking at photos and thought I should share.

So this guy was just like everyone else in Bangkok, he wanted to sell you something or he had a service to offer. This guy had a service to offer. He owned and operated the "tuk tuk" taxi behind us in the photo. We were only a few blocks from our hotel, at the main intersection, we had already been ask if we would like a taxi, wanted a massage, needed food, or wanted a suit tailored just for us, me that is. No to everything, as it was early on our last morning and we didn't know what we wanted to do. It was raining so that put a slant on plans. Anyway this guy stopped us at the corner and ask if we wanted a ride. A tour if you please, 100 Bhat for 2 hours. That was a great deal, but we declined. We just wanted to hit the vendor a few blocks up and get some $3 tee shirts. So instead of trying to sell us a ride he started to chat us up. I didn't know Stacey was snapping photos. It was great, the guy wanted to know where we were from, how long would we be here, did we speak Thai, where were we going from here. Those are the same questions all the locals ask us. It was great the way people wanted to talk to you. They usually tried to sell you something and then they just wanted to talk. Like this guy. Believe it or not we were talking food.

So this was breakfast one morning. The guy who drove the "tuk tuk" for our hotel caught us coming out of the hotel one morning and it was raining. He stopped in front of us and ask us what we were doing. Don't know I said I guess we wanted breakfast. He ask if we wanted American or local. Of course we said local. He told us to get in and away we went. He dropped us just around the corner. He got out of the tuk tuk and spoke with the smiling lady there to greet us. Tuk tuk driver left and smiling lady sat us at a table. It was a indoor/outdoor place, many restaurants in Bangkok were. Once we sat and looked around we noticed three other ladies there a few tables away preparing food stuff for lunch. We were given menus and there was very little to choose from for breakfast. We both ordered the same thing. Omelet with Basil. We had no idea. The green you see in the photo is fried basil leaves. The other part is the omelet. I think we had potato's with it. I am sure it was very good.You can see the rice in the background and the small bowl of sauce next to the omelet. Scrambled eggs with fried Basil leaves, rice and a house made sauce. Shut up!

So I walked pass this place once. There is supposed to be a huge sex for hire scene in Bangkok, but we didn't see much of it. From what I read only 5% of the sex trade was from foreigners. It was a local thing.

This lady cooked for the King and Queen of Thailand at some point. Her name is Sisamon Kongpan. We were lucky, this is the day we were able to join the folks on the food tour. {see the guy below,mr.knuckle head} Sisamon was most gracious as were all the folks in Bangkok. Check Stacey out. She's looking hot and showing off her new cookbook.
This is the knuckle head we went with to Bangkok. Don't let the smile fool you.
This young lady was is a good example of the attitude of the people we met. Nice people and happy to have you as a guest in their country.

Monday, July 13, 2009


It has been a very painful month for me. Blog wise that is. Once I started writing this blog I was hooked. I guess I have always wanted to keep a journal of some sort and this blog filled that need. Stacey and I often took lot's of photos and wrote about trips we took, but we were never able to share like we can with this blog.

Writing a blog is not the easiest task in the world. Discipline is the toughest part. You have to make time to do it because it takes an hour or two to write most post. I guess I average about 250 words per post. Usually that's not hard to come up with, but then you have to edit yourself. Fine tune your post so that everything is just right. Then if you want to add photos, which you do, you have to take the photo, edit the photo on Photo Shop and then you have to place it on the post. Like anything one does regularly it get easier with time. I had a handle on getting post done without to much pain until the company who host my site upgraded the template I use for SOSOSOUTHERN.

That's when it all fell apart. The old way was not the same as the new way and I was lost. I had spent a year learning how to do the things I wanted to do with my blog when, BOOM it was totally changed. And the company hosting my site was no help, I was on my own.

So I have decided to try a new host, Google. Why not, they are a really, really huge company and hopefully I will be able to figure it all out and continue with this blog, SOSOSOUTHERN, which I enjoy doing so so much.

So stay tuned and be patient.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Yesterday was the worst day of my life. I woke at 3 a.m. to the barking of my dogs. I rolled over and went back to sleep. Wrong move. Dogs kept barking, I finally got up to find that my car was
missing from in front of the house.

At 5:30 a.m. I was at the city park starting my "boot camp" work out. It was still dark and it was still 78 degrees. I was 3 minutes into my work out and my cloths were dripping wet.

At 7 a.m. I was sitting at my desk, in front of the computer, where I would spend the next 9 hours working.

At 9 p.m. police call with good/bad news. Good news, found my car. Bad news, see above photos.

Hope your day was better,