- Book of Walking Dead Basketball
Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
Who didn’t like what they received for Christmas – be honest? Everyone gets a few gifts each year when they look at their present and presenter combination and think “what the hell.”
I get a couple of odd ducks every year. I don’t think it is Christmas until you find out that a couple of people don’t really know you based on their gift.
Aside from the duds, you usually get at least one thing you really love.
This year I got a wallet and a “Walking Dead” comic book. (It’s a little more than just a book. It’s a collection of goodness based on zombies eating, or trying to eat everyone.)
My brother/sister-in-law combo bought me the comic and I think I finished it in a few hours. It is going to be something that I’ll read and reread just to give all of the great artwork a chance to sink in.
But since I’m the kind of guy that I am, I also bought myself a pre-Christmas present – Bill Simmons’s “Book of Basketball.” A must read for anyone that has watched at least one basketball game – preferably in person – or picked up a basketball in attempt to look athletic.
Simmons hammered out about 700 plus pages of cultural references, anecdotes and his theories of top basketball players in a remade Basketball Hall of Fame.
I now have a new favorite ESPN, not sure if I mentioned that Simmons works at ESPN, personality. He doesn’t make that many appearances on TV, but I’m starting to seek out his work more and more.
So that was my Christmas – buried in books while my son unwrapped his Christmas gifts. I had my head angled just enough that I could peer over my nose above the top of my books and see his enjoyment.Share
- Carter: The Best of 2010, Part 1
Sunday, December 26th, 2010
Carter: The Best of 2010, Part 1
by Richard Carter
Looking back over the first half of 2010, I wanted to revisit some of the more interesting happenings that I wrote about in this blog.
Enthusiast at the Albatross:
Finally, it was time for Enthusiast. They did play some Ten Cent Pistol stuff, which sounded solid, tight but still maybe needed a second guitar. Regardless, it was their last time to play their old material and they sounded very good doing it.
It was the new Enthusiast material that gives me cause to believe this band is one to really watch out for. That great Taylor drumming, the insanely smart and intense bass lines of Jason, the thick great rhythms and guitar lines of Ryan and finally the full-out vocals of Jesse. They’re not Ten Cent Pistol anymore. They are their own band and it’s worth checking out.
You can’t go home again, according to novelist Thomas Wolfe, and maybe that’s a good thing. Instead, you find yourself new game and show how much you’ve grown.
Last Sunday, six red dirt bands and a whole lot of adopted kids got together to raise money for a real nice woman. PJ Berry had undergone emergency cancer surgery last September and is presently undergoing chemotherapy until March.
One of the reasons so many people like her, besides the fact that PJ is such an awesome person, is that she is such an ultimate live music fan. One of the things she told me, when I interviewed her (and we didn’t have room for in my story about her for the paper), was what she does every time she goes to see a live act.
When we started to visit out son in Austin (about 12 years ago), we started to listen to (more Texas-based live) music,” she said. “This one old band that played, they weren’t all that great and the crowd wasn’t real into it, but I made a point to go up and tell them I enjoyed listening to their music. And he told me, ‘You know you don’t know how much that means. We go in and play these places and you never know if people like us or not. When someone tells us they enjoy the music, that makes it worthwhile.’
‘I told (my husband) Ron after that that’s something we will always do when the nights over, whether it’s a fantastic concert or just a mediocre one, we always tell the band how much we appreciate it.’
Hometown girl Kellie Lee doing good:
Last Wednesday area singer songwriter Kellie Lee performed at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles before an acoustic version of the LA Guns.
If you would have asked me if any area bands or musicians would ever play the legendary West Hollywood club, I would have said something stupid like, ‘eventually.’ Remember this is the same club that the Doors used to haunt, and that’s pretty amazing.
Friends and family night for “Crush” was Thursday, and by the time I got there at 10:30, there were a lot more people than just friends and family. It was really crowded with people milling about, sipping longnecks (not what I would consider an upscale club drink) and checking out how other people were dressed.
The light show was pretty interesting with colorfully checked floors, and a multitude of lights coming out of pretty much everywhere. There were explosions of light from time to time along with clouds of smoke. The music was fairly loud, and it was that techno-ish dance stuff mashed with occasional rock and stuff. To me, it sounded a lot like what the early ‘80s disco music would sound like when it grew up.
Queen for a Day sound checks:
It’s amazing that these four guys don’t practice at all. They just play shows like once a month or so, and sound like they have been practice twice every week or so. Any warm up means singer Greg will be playing piano and singing cheesy pop songs. Some I have heard, and some I have no clue who or what they are. Brian is getting his Queen guitar sounds set up on his floor pedal and doing the warm ups. Now, the bass is coming in, while the drummer is still setting up his two floor toms. It’s a musical cacophony that will start coming together in its own little way before too long.
And, then it’s Queen’s “Play the Game” and hearing some one stretch their vocal chords is kinda painful. Worse, hearing Brian Harris mess up a guitar lick is really strange. Wow, it’s kind of like watching a slugger strike out.
Brian just cut his finger on his ring trying to smash his guitar at the end of “We are the Champions,” so he’s looking for crazy glue and everyone is trying to stop the bleeding. It’s all fun and games until the lead guitarist cuts his finger.
Ely is still relevant in spades, while most of the people his age are anything but. There are a ton of people a good ten years younger than him who haven’t put out a good record in a decade or more.
We aren’t making people like Ely anymore, and the same is true of Billie Joe Shaver, who is a fellow Texas singer songwriter and who also brings something fresh to town whenever he shows up. I hope we get to see Shaver again soon and also Ely. You really don’t know what you’ve got musically until it’s not there anymore, and then all that’s left is the memories and the records and the lyrics somewhere on a printed lyric sheet.Share
- Santa makes it tough to keep Christ in Christmas
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
Pardon me for not blogging during the holidays.
Just wasn’t in the mood.
And this will be my final blog of the year. And it will be short.
I am feeling guilty about not celebrating the real “reason for the season,” for not “keeping Christ in Christmas.”
Every year I promise to put Jesus over Santa Claus. And every year I break my promise.
I get so caught up in the commercialism of Christmas — buying presents and planning what I am going to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
I enjoy the Jingle Bells of Christmas. I love the tree and the lights and the egg nog. The Griswold family’s “Christmas Vacation” never gets old.
I haven’t really given much thought about the birth of my savior.
Forgive me, Lord.
I know you will. That’s the reason you were born in that manger.
Merry Christmas. See you next year.Share
- Carter: Opera and Guitars
Monday, December 20th, 2010
Courtney Longcrier belting out the Broadway classic “The Girl in 14G”
“Opera and guitar”
If you happen to be out on December 25, I strongly suggest that you check out the Pub, because Ben Atkins will be playing in front of Johnny Cooper. I’ve always thought Atkins is one of our area’s best exports, and I was in a band that opened up for Atkins one Christmas at the Pub. Who knows what kind of crowd there be there, and what kind of mood they will be in, but I suggest checking out the show. Atkins was planning on recording not so long ago, and he showed up not that long ago for an informal string jam at the Pub on a Wednesday. Check it out.
Also, of note on December 31, the Minor Prophets will be headlining a show, and they are currently recording. The show will also feature Twice Broken, and it will happen at the Office. Should be a strong show with two good area bands. At the Pub, Tyler Rushing will be playing December 31 and the big event at the Pub will be Queen for a Day cranking it on January 1 with Jac Damsel.
If anyone knows of a place for New Year’s Eve that allows drinking but does not permit smoking, please let me know. I have friends who are healthy to a point, and want to avoid the smoke this year. Thanks!
Last night, Thursday, I got to go out to two very different live music events, which were both interesting in their own way. It was the dress rehearsal for the MSU-Opera Breve production of “A Christmas Homecoming,” which played Friday and Saturday night and Sunday at afternoon at the Akin Auditorium in Midwestern State University.
My other live experience was getting to check out the open mic at The Spot, but I wasn’t there for very long. I got to hear Willa Goldberg with David Thompson playing guitar, a short set by Chris Caruvana and music by Steve-O of Dr. Philgood and the Let’s Get it On’s fame. According to Phil and Steve-O, the band is finishing recording the new CD and there should be something to hear pretty soon.
Anywho, the majority of my evening was spent in Akin Auditorium talking to all these major music people who have made a living in New York City on the stage, or at least directly related to their music talents. It was Frank Sinatra who once said that if you can make it in Manhattan, you can make it anywhere, and I think that says something about the level of talent on display at MSU last weekend.
I have been around a lot of musicians, and I was surprised at how nice and how laid back all of the opera and theater singers were. If there was attitude, it was not on display. It genuinely felt like everyone wanted to be there to sing and to have a good time. That’s kind of what the arts and music should be like.
By the way, the voices were amazing. It was sort of like if you could take the person singing on stage and change their surroundings in your mind, you would have some idea what it’s like to be on Broadway.
Let’s hope that some of the younger area people got to see this and were able to realize that anything is possible with desire, work and a little bit of courage.Share
- Carter: Happy Birthday to The Spot
Friday, December 17th, 2010
Happy Birthday to the Spot
The Spot threw a celebration last Thursday for the popular pizzeria and hangout’s second birthday, and I don’t think anyone has anything to worry about the place going through any “terrible two’s.” The bands included Chris Caruvana, Chris Roberson, James Cook and a number of other musicians who have become favorites there over the years.
One of the things I enjoy about The Spot is that–after the demise of Rhonda Ivy’s coffee shops on 9th Street—it is one of only two regular non-smoking open mics in the area. The Wichita Theatre also does a very good once a month with its open mic, and I think both venues are really good for musicians and listeners of all ages who appreciate live music from a talented mix of pop, rock, country and Christian musicians.
Remembering back to my trip to Dallas last week, I was surprised and happy that I could walk in and listen to music without cigarette smoke. There’s very few venues in the 763 – - zip code where people can go and appreciate live music without smoke. It was Brian Harris of Dallas’ epic cover band Queen for a Day who told me Friday that no smoking in bars is clearly where things are headed nationally and internationally.
Doing some research on that, it turns out that bars in 28 American states are smoke free including the popular live music states of New York, California, Washington and North Carolina. While the state of Texas itself is not smoke free, bars in the cities of Austin, College Station, Dallas, Houston and 30 other Texas cities do not allow smoking. I am told that some places in Austin will look the other way–but that’s an exception, not the rule.
On the other hand, the smoke free exceptions in this area are ones where classical music and opera are performed, as well as the Kay Yeager Coliseum and the Memorial Auditorium when touring acts come through. There’s also the Akin Auditorium and performing arts theatre at Midwestern State University, which can host some really first-rate live jazz, opera, Americana and Caribbean music.
A number of people I spoke with about the recent Whitey Johnson show at the Kemp Center raved how great it was to see a blues guy perform in a fresh-aired space. The Backdoor and the Wichita Theatres also have occasional great live music in their no smoking theaters.
Brian Harris, whose Queen for a Day cover band may well be the most popular touring act to come through town, told me that his band’s next show will be January 1 at the Pub. While that show will surely be awesome, he said the quartet may unleash several new tunes they’ve been working on, and while a secret is a secret, those songs will surely be sweet. Everyone knows the band loves Zeppelin, but the other tunes will be a surprise, and yes Harris can play some keyboards.
Harris also mentioned that Lord Tracy, a band he’s been involved with for some time, has a new name and a new drummer, as their former drummer decided that Memphis was too faraway to travel for gigs. Harris said their new stuff should be pretty lights out, and they are hoping to be ready by early 2011.
Don’t forget all the amazing area theater and opera talent who will be playing at “A Christmas Homecoming” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17-18 and 2:30 p.m. Dec 19 in Akin Auditorium in Midwestern State University.Share
- Indoor soccer more like human pinball
Friday, December 10th, 2010
Just about the time that I had finally accepted soccer as a real sport — and one worth watching — a new sport comes around.
I attended my first indoor soccer game on Thursday night. And loved it.
Soccer purists certainly won’t agree, but the indoor game is certainly faster and — at least at the little kid level — much more entertaining.
And I am sure that when these little kids become big kids, indoor soccer will turn into human pinball.
Two 25-minute, non-stop halves separated by a quick 2-minute halftime. The mighty Dragonz pick up their second straight win, 8-2, and my favorite player — 7-year-old Nicholas — scores his sixth goal in two games.
In and out of the Boys and Girls Club gym in less than an hour and back home in my recliner sipping on an egg nog (more nog than egg) and flipping between Colts-Titans and Nets-Mavericks.
Wonder how long it is going to take the UIL to discover indoor soccer.Share
- Coyotes won state, gambler lost big at TCU stadium
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
I wrote a column this week about my memories of TCU’s Amon Carter Stadium and its 18-story press box.
I have covered a lot of games from that old press box, but I singled the three most memorable ones.
The next day a good friend called to tell me I had left out the game I should have remembered most.
The Coyotes defeated Galena Park 21-14 in that TCU stadium back in December of 1961 to complete a perfect 14-0 season and win my alma mater’s fifth state championship.
I sure haven’t forgotten that game, I told him. But I was a 15-year-old high school sophomore sitting in the stands. It was 11 years before I began my career as a sports writer.
Galena Park jumped on top 6-0, but in the second half, Mike Kelly threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Don Denham and then ran 55 and 59 yards for two more scores to win a title that had eluded the Coyotes in both the 1959 and 1960 state championship games.
But my best story from that game happened after the game ended or after we thought it had ended.
The Coyotes were leading 21-6 and Galena Park had the ball in WFHS territory when the final gun sounded. I was on the sidelines when it happened and watched as a bunch of happy players lifted Joe Golding onto their shoulders and carried him off the field.
But wait! There was a red flag lying on the grass.
The Coyotes’ defense had been called for a penalty. A few seconds were put back on the clock, time for Galena Park to run one more play.
But the players were all celebrating a state championship.
Assistant coach Hunter Kirkpatrick told a few guys to go in on defense and finish the game. There were only eight or nine players out there when Galena Park ran that final play.
I didn’t know it at the time but learned later than a Wichita Falls gambler was sitting in the stands watching with great interest what was happening on the field. He had bet $10,000 on the game, taking the Coyotes and giving eight points.
Well, Galena Park scored a touchdown against the Coyotes’ short-handed defense. Then the Yellowjackets went for a 2-point conversion and made it.
None of the Wichita Falls players or coaches cared. They still won the game 21-14 and were crowned the best high school football team in Texas.
The gambler sat in disbelief. That mess cost him 10 grand.
Galena Park was not the biggest loser at Amon Carter Stadium that afternoon.Share
- Til death do us part? Keep exes out of obits
Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
Someone called the paper yesterday griping that Don Meredith’s obit didn’t mention that the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback was once married to a Wichita Falls woman.
Lynne Shamburger was Meredith’s college sweetheart at SMU where she was a cheerleader and he was the star quarterback. The two were married in 1959 and divorced in 1963. They had one daughter together, Mary Donna Meredith.
He was married two more times. He and his third wife had been married 38 years when he died on Monday.
Lynne Shamburger was Lynne Kramlich when she died in 1981 following heart surgery at a hospital in Palo Alto, Calif.
Dandy Don was not mentioned in her obit.
I wonder if anyone called and complained about that.
I know one thing. I don’t want any of my three exes mentioned in my obit.
I hope no one ever reads: “Gholson is survived by three ex-wives. He also failed ROTC, bowling, chemistry and analytic geometry before graduating from MSU.Share
- I sure miss my buddy Gools
Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
If you think about it around 2 p.m. today, say a little prayer for Nicky G.
I am going to speak at a memorial service for my friend Jeff Goolsbey, a long-time TRN employee who died last week.
I am a writer, not a speaker, so I always get a little nervous when I have to get up in front of an audience and try to utter something that will keep them awake.
Some people have told me that I am a pretty good speaker, but I still get the jitters when I have to stand in front of people and open my mouth.
And the Gools deserves my best.
If journalism were a sport, Gools would win triathlons.
He was never Tony-the-Tiger greeeeeeeeeeeeeeat in any one thing, but he was really, really good at everything he did. He was very skilled as a page designer, sports writer and sports photographer. He took his work seriously. He strived for perfection, never satisfied with the average or the pretty good.
He didn’t have any enemies. He was a Christian. The way he treated others was a reflection of the love of Christ.
But what I remember most about the Gools is his sense of humor.
If you can’t laugh at things, you won’t work for me very long.
I could joke with Gools about being the Bartlesville Flash. I could tell him that Amy Grant — the love of life — was a slut. I could berate his beloved LA Dodgers.
He might threaten to take me out back in the alley. But before long, we would be laughing together.
I loved the Gools.
And I miss him.Share
- Kids really do say the darndest things
Monday, December 6th, 2010
I take my grandson to breakfast every Saturday morning. It has been a tradition ever since he started walking.
Last Saturday we were eating at McDonalds and he said “Times Record News.”
We had a TRN paper rack right outside the window and he was reading the sign off it.
“They have a really good-looking columnist working at the Times Record News,” I joked.
My 7-year-old buddy looked me in the eye and, with a straight face, he said: “Joe Brown?”
It seems little Nicholas has inherited his grandpa’s sense of humor.Share
- Baby, it’s cold outside in Louisville
Thursday, December 2nd, 2010
I froze my butt off here in Kentucky yesterday.
The temperature stayed just around freezing but the wind was whipping through this place like Secretariat at Churchill Downs.
And now that my home for these next few days is a hotel in downtown Louisville, I had to walk to everywhere I wanted to go. To the Ali Center. To lunch. To dinner. To the Louisville Slugger factory.
But I’m not complaining. After all, I have covered sports in Fargo, N.D. during my career and am just four years removed from the Italian Alps at the Olympics in Torino.
Still, it’s cold outside here.
The forecast for MSU’s semifinal soccer game is 39 degrees with a sprinkle or flurry. That, however, may hurt the boys from Florida (Rollins College) than it will the Mustangs.
If Midwestern wins and plays in the championship game on Saturday, the forecast is high of 40 degrees with snow and rain. That would seem to be more in favor of the New York guys from Dowling or the Northern Kentucky guys from just down the road.
I still believe MSU will win this national tournament.
That’s the reason I am here freezing my fanny off.Share