Archive for March, 2010

Open mic

The Atomic Cowboy Open Mic, four times blogged now, offers a great opportunity for me and other amateurs to give performing a shot. Kelly Wells, who runs it with her husband twice blogged Ryan Spearman, records some of the performances. I got two of me, “Coffee Blues” and “My Creole Belle” from favorite Mississippi John Hurt, and posted them to YouTube. Here they are!

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Michael M. on March 24th 2010 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Ryan Spearman CD release

H and I tried to see the blogged Carolina Chocolate Drops a few Friday nights ago at the Saint Louis Art Museum, but it was too packed. The museum picked a small gallery rather than the auditorium, probably due to construction. Even after expanding to two shows, there was not enough space.

The plan had been to head to the Focal Point for blogged Ryan Spearman‘s CD release party after the Chocolate Drops. I have learned a lot from Ryan at the often blogged Folk School, and he has let me play the three times blogged Atomic Cowboy Open Mic, lauded by the Riverfront Times. Unable to see the Chocolate Drops, we went ahead. Ryan packed the place and put on a great show. The promoted CD is certainly worth your dollars. A studio album is in the pipeline.

My schedule is opening up a little for the next few weeks. I look forward to hearing a little more music and to playing more myself. I hope to revisit the Atomic Cowboy Open Mic to catch Ryan and other friends performing and to sing, pick and saw a little myself. Come out!

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Michael M. on March 23rd 2010 in General, Live, Music, Recorded

Google Bicycles

This post on the Official Google Blog announces the addition of bicycle directions to Google Maps. I played with it although I have not really used it. According to this New York Times story, a mobile version should follow soon. The current one seems to do reasonably well at picking streets more friendly to bicyclists although it still makes some bad recommendations. The Google public transit option is comparable alternative to the twice blogged Metro TripFinder. It will be even better when it supports both public transit and bicycling within a single trip on a mobile phone.

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Michael M. on March 23rd 2010 in General

Saint Louis blogs

Riverfront Times‘ A Blogger’s Baker’s Dozen profiles a few leading local blogs. I somehow missed the cut. I probably missed the initial screen, too. I found a few new blogs to track in the list.

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Michael M. on March 22nd 2010 in General


The Foghorn Trio visited Saint Louis. The band supersedes the Foghorn Duo. I mentioned them once before as a source for a performance of favorite “Stagger Lee” and another time as headliners at the Indiana Fiddlers’ Gathering. It was a great performance. They mixed various old songs and tunes with French Canadian and Cajun music brought into the group by Nadine Landry. Then we all talked while some played. I wish work had not precluded my participation in the late night festivities.

After the show, Nadine showed us pictures from Mardi Gras in Eunice, Louisiana. She had received a grant from the Yukon government to visit Acadiana, and her visit extended through that season. Mardi Gras in Rural Acadiana has photographs from celebrations in Eunice and other nearby towns. I hope I get to participate in such festivities someday.

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Michael M. on March 22nd 2010 in General, Live, Music

Urban legends

Mom-And-Pop Site Busts The Web’s Biggest Myths on NPR‘s All Things Considered profiled occasionally blogged I blogged last time it happened, too. The site investigates popularly circulated rumors, such as email forwards providing advice against various boogiemen. I often turn to it when something I come across seems fishy. The 25 Hottest Urban Legends was new to me.

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Michael M. on March 22nd 2010 in General

Killen’s allies

Edgar Ray Killen was convicted of directing the murders of Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner. The Clarion-Ledger‘s front page recently had “Killen claims God is on his side” by twice blogged Jerry Mitchell and Ben Greenberg who blogs at Hungry Blues. It also appeared in Mitchell’s blog Journey to Justice. I have followed Hungry Blues for a while and corresponded with Ben. He has this post. The two have been investigating unsolved murders from the 1960s. I made a small contribution to the article.

The Clarion-Ledger obtained the letter from Cole Thornton, Imperial Wizard of the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, who attended Killen’s 2005 trial. Thornton, whose real name is Charles Denton, said Killen authorized him to release the letter, which expert Thomas Vastrick of Memphis identified as in Killen’s handwriting.

I linked Cole Thornton to his true identity and passed the information along to Ben. Indirectly via Hungry Blues, I found the name Cole Thornton in connection with the Killen letter. Suffering from insomnia due to working night shifts at the time, I decided to investigate. A little searching revealed that the name came from a character in El Dorado, a movie western from the 1960s. I got the idea that the name must be an alias stuck in my head. By searching for Cole Thornton and KKK, I found several articles including this one that pinned his location in Englewood, Florida. Combining KKK and Englewood led to this record showing that Charles Denton incorporated National Aryan Knights of The Ku Klux Klan LLC. This article in the Neshoba Democrat about the Killen trial definitively pegs Cole Thornton as an alias of Charles Denton. Denton now is a leader in the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Killen has written several letters in attempts to exonerate himself while implicating others. This one was posted in the forum of the web site for Denton’s organization. The letter that led to the Clarion-Ledger story must have been quite similar. My speculation is that Killen has little left to lose as a prisoner and is willing to share information with investigative journalists, even one whose work led to his conviction, to grind axes against people whom he sees as traitors against him and his movement.

Spending time with racist killers on Mitchell’s blog caught my eye about the same time. Killer Joseph Paul Franklin committed several of his crimes here in the Saint Louis suburb Richmond Heights. He is on death row in Potosi. In an odd similarity to Denton, he favored aliases derived from the names of Old West gunslingers.

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Michael M. on March 15th 2010 in General

Forest Park Owls

I found another reason that Forest Park is terrific. The area southeast of the World’s Fair Pavilion is home to a family of great horned owls. H and I were walking away from the pavilion when we saw one perched high in a tree. She took a few photographs. I made a few bird calls, and the owl oriented to me. I could not get him to do much more.

A couple of others were watching the owl, too, and the man flagged us over. He blogs about the owls at Forest Park Owls. He has named the breeding pair Charles and Sarah, and he told us a little about them. The woman with him is writing an article about him for St. Louis Magazine. He offered to give us a tour sometime of Forest Park wildlife. I hope we take him up on it.


Michael M. on March 8th 2010 in General

Callers’ Choice Dance on Saturday

My Old-Time Ensemble class from the favorite Folk School will play the Childgrove Callers’ Choice dance this Saturday, March 6, 2010 from 7:30-10:30 PM. We are coming off a fun showing at the Showcase at the Schlafly Tap Room this past Wednesday. It would be great to see some familiar faces among the dancers.

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Michael M. on March 4th 2010 in General, Live, Music

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