Monday, November 27, 2017

"It Was A Cold,Blustery Day, All Day!"

Good "Cyber" Monday, all bodies!
The goldfinches are back. Guess I better check the feeder!
I finally got something completed yesterday while the Saints were losing. This painting is, in sketch form, one I started at the World War Two museum airshow under the protection of the gigantic B-29's wing.
It was a cold, blustery day, all day!
On the Sunday of the Three Rivers Art Festival, November 12th, I decided to bring my easel and attempt to finish the painting, demo-style, but all I did was smear the paint in transit home that evening.
Anyway, I finally finished and am pretty happy with the 9"x12" oil painting of a Navy C-45 transport named,"Texas Doll."
First cup...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

"Just Be Glad!"...

C'est La Vie!
Good Sunday morning, y'all.
I'm early this morning for a change.
I don't see why not. I'm sitting here with that old matchbox hole trying to figure out exactly what I accomplished yesterday. I slept a lot!
Brings to mind when my dad use to say things with a bit of a twinkle in his eye that I should be grateful for having shoes with no holes in them. Though I know it was probably true that he experienced stuffing paper in his shoe to keep the dirt and water out, in hindsight, he could always make light of such things. 
My retort was, sardonically,"Sounds like a pulp fiction to me, Dad!"
But nowadays, especially since it nears Thanksgiving, we all need to be a bit more grateful. Thinking rather disgustedly at all the nothing I did yesterday, dad words ring true.
Be glad you could take a nap. Many people can't sleep. 
I did pay a bill and begrudgingly drove it into town. Again, dad's mantra reverberated. "Be glad you have money to pay it. Many folks are robbing Peter to pay Paul. 
I know, dad, and a car with gas in it to take to town.
I managed to take the dog for a walk 'cuz I felt I needed to do something. Be glad that you have a dog that demands you get your fat ass out and walk. 
Be glad that you can walk! Some folks wish they could.
Naturally, as it always occurs in nature, naturally, my walk shows me all the branches and weeds that need to be addressed. Well, be glad you have a really nice home and weeds to pull out. Many people only have concrete!
Leaning over to grab a few chinese tallo saplings that are not native to Louisiana and yank them out of the ground, my hair drops down over my face. I know, I know, I need a hair cut and... 
Okay, okay, I get it. I'll be glad that I still have hair to cut!
Pouring my first grateful cup...

Copyright 2017/Ben Bensen III

Monday, October 16, 2017

"In Our Own Back Yards...

The humble elm...

Good late morning Monday, y'all.
Well, I'm back home and trying my best to get to work in the studio. I'm quite happy with the progress on my spine and SI joint. Started a "relationship" with a Rolfer. She's a bit "ah-oom" like, but she seems very good at what she does.
So funny...
My dad used to have fun whenever he went on trips to various places. He loved to ask simple questions of the citizens of each fair city he visited. He would ask a desk clerk directions to a restaurant that the clerk might recommend, but didn't know how to get there. He'd ask directions at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, and any info on points of interest he had read about.
He was amazed at how little people who should know know little or nothing about where they lived.
"Excuse me ma'am, he asked with a smirk on his face, "you come to work here everyday but you don't know the address?"
I was so astounded by the color of fall in Denver, that I just had to pick some leaves off certain trees to ask the natives if they knew the names of the trees the leaves came from. I asked my doctor. I asked his administrator. I asked a waitress at the local Perkins restaurant.
I inquired at the hotel front desk, I asked a jogger returning from an early morning jaunt, a photographer at a state park...
No one seemed to know.
Good thing I didn't ask anyone for the official state bird, or flower or even where the state capital is.
Finally, three days later, I passed by two hikers who were originally from Memphis, TN, but have lived in Denver for over twenty years.
"Oh yeh, the oval, kinda heart shaped leaf is from the cottonwood and those other two leaves, one that is yellow and the one that is red is from the same tree... the elm!"
Wow. As I thanked her for the info and told her a little story about my quest, I laughed and just had to involuntarily smirk at the answer.
Dad was right about how truly little we know about our own back yards.
First late morning cup of CDM...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"You Got Lucky Babe..."

C.F. Payne's illustration of TP got me thinking again of the song,"You Got Lucky!" That smirk that he painted on Tom brings to mind how many of his songs had a twist to it. Of all the great songs in his catalog of songs, "You Got Lucky" is one that really is my favorite. It exposes the main character's weakness very subtlely.
Seems on the surface, the guy is telling his girlfriend where to go... lyrically. But, the synthesizer and the warped guitar ride tell a different tale. Also, I'm a sucker for a minor chord and this song is full of them.
Male braggadocio... "You got lucky babe, You got lucky babe, When I found you!"
It's not so much that the man's ego and pride is hurt as it is his unwillingness to accommodate his lady's needs/ concerns. It comes off as a "take it or leave it" approach to a relationship.
I love the nuances in this song and always look to hear what the music is saying long before I understand all the words. Lou Reed's, "Take A Walk On the Wild Side" is another great example. Randy Newman is another one who loves turning the tables both lyrically as well as musically.
But, I've never read anything about those underlying themes in any rock critique, which leads me to believe that I am alone in this kind of interpretation.
I mean, just listen to Mike Campbell's wammy bar wacked out guitar ride. Maybe, it's just me!

Copyright Ben Bensen III/ 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

"The Roses Won't Tell Your Secret"...

Good Thursday morning, all bodies!
That old matchbox has got me going again, but there's not much time to address that hole in my pocket today... Kinda!
The other day I accidentally knocked over a "Licorice Pizza" crate that held old 45's I've collected over the years. Lots of memories fell out of that box though one that didn't was "Sally Go Round The Roses."
A friend of mine, Bob Guza, and I would often go to our favorite restaurant of the month in LA and talk music... in depth. I loved it so much. No one has been able to talk music, except one person here in New Orleans, like Bobby could. 
Sometimes we'd get on a kick about one song or another and analyzing it ad nauseam and then go searching for the song trying to be the first one to find the elusive vibe and purchase it. To beat him finding this record I had to go home to New Orleans and pay $25 at Russell's on Magazine Street in the Irish Channel. 
"Sally Go 'Round the Roses" was quite unlike other pop songs of the day especially coming from a "girl group" in 1963. It had a mysterious, ominous, almost hypnotic musical quality with weird and rather perplexing lyrics. The song has the same mysterious feeling that Bobby Gentry's, "Ode To Billy Joe" has. 
"Sally Go 'Round the Roses" meaning could be interpreted as a conventional song of heartbreak over a love affair or over cheating. 
"Sally don't you go, don't you go downtown
Sally don't you go-oh, don't you go downtown
Saddest thing in the whole wide world
Is to see your baby with another girl"
But the music intimates a deeper more sinister happening than that and Bob and I had many discussions over the possibilities. A drug deal gone bad, illegitimate child, a death or suicide of a friend or ex-lover? 
Of course, as a part of our mindset nowadays, there's the homosexual aspect of the tune that is fun to speculate but has never been proven. We will never know because the writers of the song, Zell Sanders and Lona Stevens (Spector), have long since passed away and never commented one way or the other.
"Sally go round the roses (Sally go round the pretty roses)
They won't tell your secret (they won't tell your secret)"
BTW, I did find my copy in another 45 "Licorice Pizza" crate.
First cup, y'all!

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"Sketching A Fallen Bird"...

I believe this is a swamp sparrow...
At least once or twice a year, a bird is found on the ground at the bottom of one of our windows which faces the west about fifteen or twenty feet from the bird feeder. Yesterday, my cocker spaniel found this migrating sparrow. We don't see any sparrows or finches that look quite like this little guy.

Whenever I have the opportunity to photograph and sometimes sketch the fallen bird, I do it. Jays, finches, cardinals, titmice and once, a sharp shinned hawk that apparently missed his target and hit the bathroom window. I spied some yellow and gray feathers around where the hawk fell, so I suspect one goldfinch was a lucky bird.

Anyway, I sketched this with admarkers and a razor point Sharpie.

Copyright 2017/ Ben Bensen III