Archive for April, 2010

Park permit protest

Sunday afternoon I played pickup ultimate frisbee on the Central Fields in many times blogged Forest Park. The group included folks from WashU and from the St. Louis Ultimate Association. I put in a good two hours and started heading home. As I was walking away, a park official approached the remaining players. He told them that permits are now required to use the Central Fields.

I am unhappy with this decision. I have spent uncounted hours enjoying the Central Fields. The space is big. It is open. There is always room to play. It also is very close to home for me. I have played pickup frisbee there for nearly a decade. I also have played pickup football, soccer, softball and more. Suddenly needing a permit to do what has been available for my entire time in the city bothers me.

I do not object to a system for reservations. My softball team plays in an organized league, and we pay our share of the league fee for a permit. A few times we have had park officials help us resolve disputes. Other times, I have participated in informal games that had to move when a permit holder arrived. Our game was not terminated because someone else had reserved the space. It was terminated because this policy is either new or newly enforced.

I wrote the Parks Department. The reply was that they “are now accessible by permit only.” I wrote again asking how the change happened. I await a reply. My friend who sends emails for pickup frisbee has heard that poor field conditions were the reason behind the decision. Indeed, this city is a rainy place, and fields become quite muddy. Now in the spring, however, they are at their best, and I hate to be denied the enjoyment of them.

Other objections are easy to see. Public land is there for us to use. Central Fields are public athletic fields. Reservations are necessary to organize a league, but games on different parts of the fields at different times pose no conflict. Additionally, Saint Louis and so many places are in the middle of an obesity epidemic. Restricting access to public exercise is the wrong approach.

Please write to public officials if you care about free access to this terrific public resource. I wrote the Parks Department via this form. After receiving the reply, I decided to write Mayor Francis Slay via this form and Alderman Terry Kennedy via this form about these changes. I hope to receive replies from them soon. This map is helpful for locating city wards and their aldermen. I wrote my pickup email list asking them to write, too. I will continue to post updates. Please share your information and experiences.

No Comments »

Michael M. on April 15th 2010 in General

The Bootstrappers

I have posted recently about H’s band River Bound and my solo performances at the repeatedly blogged Atomic Cowboy Open Mic. We play together sometimes as the Bootstrappers although our performances generally are limited to our living rooms and the rare informal gathering. One such occasion, blogged this past summer, was on a float trip. I finally got the video of “John Henry” from Facebook and posted it here to YouTube.

“John Henry” (mp3)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

2 Comments »

Michael M. on April 14th 2010 in General, Mine, Music, Recorded

River Bound debut

I last blogged about my recent performance at the Atomic Cowboy Open Mic. River Bound, H’s bluegrass band, made their debut right before I went on. They cranked out good versions of “On and On,” “Blackberry Blossom,” “Some Old Day” and “Billy in the Lowground.” I shot video of them. The playlist on YouTube is embedded below.

1 Comment »

Michael M. on April 5th 2010 in General, Live, Music, Recorded

More Cowboy

I revisited the blogged Atomic Cowboy Open Mic Monday night. The blogged Ryan Spearman opened up with several great songs, as usual. Then H played with her new band River Bound. Videos may be forthcoming.

I took the stage for a few songs. H recorded me with her new camera. While I never feel totally happy with these things, I still like to share. I opened with “Stagger Lee” from my favorite Mississippi John Hurt. Then I played Libba Cotten‘s “Oh Babe, It Ain’t No Lie.” With enough tragedy in place, I switched to partying with bloggedAlabama Jubilee” before closing with “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor,” another MJH song. Here is a YouTube playlist followed by links to the individual videos and mp3s.

“Stagger Lee” (video page) (mp3)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Oh Babe, It Ain’t No Lie” (video page) (mp3)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Alabama Jubilee” (video page) (mp3)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor” (video page) (mp3)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I used FFmpeg to extract the audio from the video files above to make mp3s. I then realized that I could do the same with my recently blogged last videos from Atomic Cowboy Open Mic. Here they are.

“Coffee Blues” audio (mp3)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“My Creole Belle” audio (mp3)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Several friends showed up after H and I announced our plans of Facebook. It was great to see them out in the audience.

A band called Chicken Little! from Nashville played later in the night. Evidently, they had played a gig the night before and decided to stick around to check out more of the city. They combined accordian and guitar in a way I had not witnessed before. The singing was the true focus, though, and they have some fine arrangements worked out.

One of my favorites was the performance of Dave Black and Colleen Williamson. He opened with a fine arrangement of “Blackberry Blossom” on nylon-stringed guitar. The real great was “Jerusalem Ridge.” He played mandolin and Colleen played hammered dulcimer. It was inspired.

Thanks to friends who were there.

No Comments »

Michael M. on April 1st 2010 in General, Live, Mine, Music, Recorded

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.