Monday, August 20, 2012

Missouri By Train and BBQ

We're having an extremely difficult morning here in Central Missouri, sitting on the shady side of the cabin and listening to birds.  The weather took a harsh turn upon our arrival, dropping down into the mid-80's while weather in Eugene hit triple digits.    

Temporary weather taunting aside, things are looking real smoked here.  A lot of the corn crops aren't even good for cattle feed.  Brittle and yellow and burned out.   Everything is droopy.  The only thing really going off in the garden here at Osage View is peppers, and tomatoes.  They are thriving as if this is Arizona.  

Nevertheless, it is one of our favorite places on earth and we appreciate the chance to stay in an old log cabin with amenities like estate-bottled Norton-Chambersin blend, a Mr. Coffee, and wi-fi.

We've had a pretty busy run and today feels like one of the first do-nothing vacation days.  We arrived at one a.m. thursday morning, wrangled a crew for the Royals game Thursday night, toured the city Friday, caught a train that night to Jeff City.  Over to Columbia Saturday; over to Louisiana Missouri Sunday.  We've touched a lot of bases, seen nieces, nephews, and great-nieces.  Today is bird-listening day, and then another visit with my parents and The Hill Kids.

It was a real pisser going to see The Royals lose after seeing Gordon moved down to third in the lineup.  He had settled into kicking ass in the leadoff spot over the last month, and this mercurial move made all of us gnash our teeth and curse.  Jarrod Dyson took his place and flied out weakly three times; Gordon was 0-for-4.  Yet, that was the only bum game in a good swing, and they have "vaulted" into third place.  

With the Royals, their magic number is something like the number of games below .500 that leans toward respectability.  In other words, if they win a few more games, they'll only be 8 or 9 games under .500 which means they are in "striking distance" of a break-even season.  (Imagine a cartoon cobra in a Royals hat, poised to strike, right before signing another terrible pitcher for 8 million dollars.)

I read a cool book on the plane: Paris of The Plains, a loose collection of essays set in historical KC.  The book consolidates a blog of the same name.  Many of the pieces spark from the interaction of present-day observation and journalistic research; revery, a sense of time travel, and detailed imagination are the result.  For those wanting to learn about KC, I recommend it.  And I don't know if I can think of a book with a similar tone or m.o.

I have moved on to the most recent biography of Iggy Pop, Open Up and Bleed.  Maybe a jarring transition, but I've learned a lot about his early musical life, especially his short but ass-kicking career as a drummer, especially for bluesmen in Chicago. The drony psychedelic hippie grind of the early Stooges has a lot of upper midwestern and afro-blues DNA.  So many bands paying tribute don't get that, don't have the earthiness of that, or the cornball humor of the white midwest. (Or they're tuned into Raw Power, a different kind of sound.)  Basically those first two records are mutated hippie performance art and blues punk.  Rural and urban.  It's a lot of fun to read about.  

The real myth-making self-destructo business has yet to kick off, and that's a known story.  Thankfully he's into yoga, red wine, and hanging out in Miami now.  But Iggy playing drums as a late-teens white boy in scary Chicago clubs--that's some trippy stuff.

The wind is coming up here on the hill and blowing the limp, heat-stressed maple trees all about.  They'll make it. And I wonder how the sound of coyotes yipping at night and Diablo the Rooster crowing early in the morning will effect my guitar-playing.
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