Archive for August, 2010

Young branches of the true vine

I heard about Frank Fairfield in Frank Fairfield: A One-Man Folk Revival on NPR‘s Morning Edition. It was the first of finding him many places. Highway 61 has this post. It links to this review in The New York Times. I found Down Home Radio‘s interview with him and then, upon revisiting, this post about the Times article. Boing Boing raved. He places himself on the vine of American traditional music.

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton is his running buddy. His is included in the Times article and many of the profiles of Fairfield. Down Home Radio has this interview. I have not listened to it, and I doubt I will. I do hope to find time for Paxton’s music.

Pokey LaFarge is local musician in the same vein who plays with the South City Three. NPR featured this performance with his band in its coverage of the Newport Folk Festival and one song among its highlights in All Songs Considered. I tried to hear him at Off Broadway some time back, but his group went on too late for me on a night before work. They still play around town often, though, and I hope to make it to a show eventually.

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Michael M. on August 8th 2010 in General, Music


I watched Inception with H at the Hi-Pointe. I was able to suspend my disbelief about the premise, shared dreaming, and enjoy it. It features adventure. The plot has many threads, each with many turns. I think it will remain a popular favorite of science fiction fantasy adventure for a long time.

Much of the subsequent discussion surrounding the movie bothers me, though, because I cannot suspend my disbelief enough to take it that seriously. Shared dreaming is not possible. Even as our ability to monitor brain activity is growing, there is currently little possibility of manipulating it outside the usual channels of our senses.

These questions can serve a good purpose. A terrific moment for teaching about the brain occurs when someone asks the question of whether it is possible. We live in exciting times when our ability to investigate perception, thought, dreaming and other brain activities is blossoming. That excitement deserves attention, and this movie is stirring it.


Michael M. on August 8th 2010 in General, Movies

William Lyons’ death certificate

I have blogged about Stagger Lee many times. Most recently, I made this post on “Stagger Lee” for my previously blogged class on fingerstyle guitar. In doing research for it, I came across William Lyons’ death certificate. This post at the Beatles Belgian Home Page includes a picture of it with Lee Shelton listed as his murderer, and this post at Murder by Gaslight does, too. Murder by Gaslight is an amazing compendium of research on famous 19th century murders that I will have to revisit.

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Michael M. on August 8th 2010 in General, Music

Forest Park Owls article

I wrote about encountering a fellow following an owl family in Forest Park. A magazine reporter was with him for a story she was writing for St. Louis Magazine. This post on the Forest Park Owls blog links to the article, newly available online.

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Michael M. on August 5th 2010 in General

Mama Josephine’s

H and I visited Mama Josephine’s, a new restaurant in the Shaw neighborhood. This review in the Riverfront Times caught H’s eye. Sauce has this review. We had good meals of fried chicken and catfish fillets. They tasted like home. The hushpuppies were really good, too. I have been hunting good ones in Saint Louis since twice blogged Hatfield and McCoy’s closed.

The restaurant sits in a newly renovated building at 4000 Shaw Boulevard on  the southwest corner with Lawrence Street. Scarlett Construction, the business of the owner’s daughter, did a great job. It is in a classic Saint Louis brick corner building. The inside is small with a nice high ceiling and a photograph of Mama Josephine herself.

Owner Mary Samuelson came out to talk at the end. We let her know that we enjoyed the food. I had read that her eponymous mother was from Louisiana, and I had a  feeling that they were home people. I asked where she was from. She said, “Louisiana,” and when I asked again, she said, “Hammond.” With more talking, it came out that the owner and I were both born in Mississippi about 9 miles apart. Given her Italian roots, I suspect that she actually has strong ties to the heavily Italian Independence, Louisiana.

The food and the experience were both great. Because it closes at 7, I do not think I can become a regular. I will give it a try, though.

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Michael M. on August 2nd 2010 in General

Neuroscience and free will

The Limits of the Coded Word” by William Egginton in The New York Times addresses questions of free will and recent findings in the neuroscience of determinism. The focus on randomness in the question of free will has long been misleading. The overall point is that newer experiments have little bearing on the question. I have to agree… or do I?

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Michael M. on August 2nd 2010 in General

Arch Tunes

The Wall of Sound from the beloved Folk School played just over a week ago at Arch Tunes. It is always fun to get  out and play for even a small audience. We had a few people dance to our music. I only wish I had arrived early enough not to sit in the back.

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Michael M. on August 2nd 2010 in General, Live, Music

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