hail to the green and praise the white …

Kecoughtan High School colors so bright

He got leis from both his classmates and his sister because of his time in Hawaii.

Theresa’s youngest son graduated from our alma mater today. In the fall, he goes to mine.

This was the end of an era. Unless someone moves here, this was my fifth and final KHS graduation. This was the third one for my immediate family. And the second generation.

It’s crazy to me that we’ve had a student in that school in every decade since the ’80s. And now it’s over. But

Kecoughtan High School, we’ll always be true,

Upholding thy honor our whole lives through.

‘wasn’t EVERYONE just kinda nekkid during this time period?’

We’ll get to the title of this post in a moment.

The order of albums isn’t exactly random. I took a cursory look at what was in the box which had a horizontal divider, and separated them into albums into two partially random layers. (I know that albums should be stored vertically, which is what I intend to do as I listen to them all.) The first are albums I wanted to hear or I judged by the cover. The second are compilation albums, albums I judged by the cover and albums I didn’t exactly want to hear. While I did this, I also decided to group multiple albums in chronological order. This is the first Allman Brothers Band album, or the first half of Beginnings, depending on your feelings on the original mix of its first two albums.

This album was not mixed to their satisfaction.

Because it was the first album, it had some other firsts, such as having the first version of Whipping Post. As mentioned in the caption and alluded to earlier, which I just realized is in the same typeface as the body text (it might be a function of this layout that I can’t fix), the band didn’t exactly like the mix of the first two albums, and it was remixed along with the second album and released as Beginnings.

The other thing of note was the gatefold of this single album. It has the most strategically placed head of 1969.

When I shared this on Facebook, one of the comments was the title of this post.

i believe in miracles …

Where did you come from, baby?

Anyone who say they’ve never heard this song before either is lying or has been living under a rock since Hot Chocolate’s debut album was released in 1975. It was this British band’s biggest hit, and it would have been No. 1 in the United Kingdom, but some band asked whether something was the real life or just fantasy because of a homicide.

I always expected Errol Brown to be extremely ugly just from how emphatic he was in You Sexy Thing. And, as you should know by now, I’m not going out of my way to properly crop/frame the photos for this.

Much like Jamiroquai, the band was a one-hit wonder in the states, but constantly charted high at home. Personally, I did not find the remaining nine tracks on this album to be bangers. I kept it in the party pile, though. You Sexy Thing is the last track on Side One, so it would be the sneak attack in the background.

black rock

Unfortunately, this does not sound like the intro to an actual evening news show.

The Bar-Kays were going through some things when this album was released. Cultivated in part by Otis Redding and Booker T. and the M.G.’s, members of the band perished on the day soul music died in 1967. This reconstituted band, which in 1969 backed Isaac Hayes on the epic Hot Buttered Soul album, had its turning point with 1971’s Black Rock. They went on to be one of the quintessential funk bands.

The Bar-Kays to you: You don’t know fashion.

Despite making 8:37-18:42 of Hayes’ version of By the Time I Get to Phoenix is the greatest song of all time, I think this album marked a transition and nothing more. It’s not in the party pile.

factory sealed for your protection

I swear, if anyone does this to a photo of me when I die, it will be the first scientifically confirmed haunting.

This entry is coming soon after the previous one because I’ve been too lazy to post these in advance. I totally could because I’m 21 albums in. I have a backup needle, and they both are good for about 50 hours of music, so I have about 20 records to go before I need to figure out how to change the needle and 70 before I need to figure out where to buy more.

In my mental Star Trek canon, Capt. Picard is named for this guy.

Upon the Wings of Music is Ponty’s first album for Atlantic. Although it’s not his first, it is his first major label debut. He plays electric violin and other electric and acoustic strings on this 1975 release. Also of note is that it mostly retains its plastic shrink wrap, which had a sticker noting that it was “Factory sealed for your protection. I want to say that came from somewhere else, but it’s clearly behind what was the price tag.

I don’t even want to know.

damn, damn, damn!

This one’s for John Amos.

I did a cursory search of the albums before I took the box home and divided them into two stacks. The first were albums by bands I’ve heard of and ones with cool album art. The second were compilations, bands that didn’t pique my interest from the covers, bands that I know don’t pique my interest and ones that looked damaged. I made Brass Construction the second album of this adventure because I’m a sucker for anything with brass.

This album also has a track that’s an ode to an exhibitionist/voyeur relationship.

The lead track, Movin’, was playing in the background when we found out that James Evans Sr. died in Good Times. The back cover of this 1975 debut album features head shots of the band members with various expressions. It makes a perfect mood chart. Today, I’m a Morris.

If the City Council meeting lasted any longer, I would have gone full Joe.

Overall, this album is very much a product of its time and is fun to listen to. Much like the Evans family, I would play it in the background of a party. I just hope no one gets bad news as soon as I put it on.

fifteen years

I’ll explain why this song is here in a moment.

This blog nearly is old enough to drive. Checking off this milestone is making me realize how far away senior year in college is now and how long some of the friends I made there have been my friends. Friday morning, I wished that formerly tiny palm I bought a few hours before I wrote my first LiveJournal entry a happy anniversary. I tell stories at work about things in my career and I sometimes panic about not being able to remember all the details. And then I remember that what happened was more than a decade ago. My fifth wedding anniversary is in a few weeks. A day after, I’ll be on the wrong side of 35. I’ve been on the wrong side of 25 for about 10 years now. I wrote about it here, and I’d have to go back in to the CMS to figure out what I said.

N.B.: I just saw how I turned 26, and I wish I hadn’t revisited that.

Anyway, I’m going to kick of this 15th year by going deeper into the past, like before I was born deep.

I went home on Mother’s Day, and I mentioned to my mom that I had purchased a record player. That reminded her that there was a large box of albums in the coat closet that was a mixer of hers and her brother’s. She gave me the entire thing, and I’ve been listening to one a day since what would have been Theresa’s 50th birthday on May 13.

Since I like music, and already have a queue, here’s a the kickoff of Diggin’ in the Cardboard Box.

Yeah, they were dancin' and singin' and movin' to the groovin';
And just when it hit, me somebody turned around and shouted ...
TILL YOU DIE

I started off with Wild Cherry’s eponymous album from 1976. (If you don’t know the most famous song off this album, we aren’t friends anymore.) Other than that, the band’s cover of Nowhere to Run isn’t that terrible, but the band was a one-hit wonder with four albums.

I have two stacks for now (I’ll get milk crates soon). They did not lay down the boogie enough to make it into the “I’d listen again for pleasure/I’d put these on if I’m being pretentious at a party at my place” pile.

the allure of being awake for 24+ hours has worn off

Per my Fitbit, I woke up at 7:02 a.m. on May 18. I did not go to bed until 7:17 a.m. on May 19. I drove many fives of miles. I walked about eight miles. I hurt my foot. It was pretty awesome. After this post, I’m technically caught up from my backlog of posts from late March. This is good because tomorrow is the 15th anniversary of this blog.

I was awake for 24 hours and 15 minutes because of an obligation to my dead sister. I could not say no to Shonda when she asked if I could drive her to Giants Stadium so she could see BTS, which you (should) know is a very popular Korean band. I figured it wouldn’t be a problem. I assumed either it would start and end early or because I was driving and she had a job and lives in my mom’s house without having to pay rent, she’d at least share the cost for two hotel rooms that night and we’d head home Sunday morning.

Shonda switched jobs between the time that she bought the tickets and showtime. She also had a doctor’s appointment on Monday. Oh, and she told me at nearly the last minute that she wanted to arrive at the Meadowlands early so she could get “merch.”

You now know how much your uncle loves you, Shonda.

I had a few options for activities while I wanted for the concert to end. I was going to hang out at the New Jersey Institute of Technology chapter of my fraternity or head into the city and by fraternity big brother or my grand-little, who live in Queens and Brooklyn, respectively. At some point, the number of close friends I have in New York fell sharply. Also, I decided against visiting my wife’s family because I did not want to drive into New York and they also live beyond the reaches of every service the MTA offers. Seriously.

We headed out at about 7:45 a.m., and I dropped her off and then got to Newark at about 2 p.m. I didn’t need to get back the stadium until about 9:30.

This house is a time capsule.
I haven’t set foot in that house since about 2011, and I swear there are some things that have not moved since the first time I was there in October 2003. These are all the pictures you’re going to see of this house. Never mind that this is the public floor.

The academic year had just ended at NJIT, and they had their formal the night before. Everyone was pretty much half dead, so I hitched a ride over to the train station and took New Jersey Transit into Penn Station. I wandered around Manhattan for a while.

I stumbled across the 13th Annual Dance Parade. It threw off my trajectory and I wound up on the wrong side of it. When I regained my bearings, I had to wait for it to end to get back across.

When I updated Renée on where she was, she noted that I was near a location of my favorite restaurant, Spice. (If you don’t know that this is my favorite restaurant, you don’t know me very well.) I got one of my favorite dishes, hot sweet basil with chicken.

After that, I talked to my mom, talked to another fraternity brother on the phone, got mistaken for Reginald Chapman and manage to wander past the very first bar I patronized in New York. It also probably was the very first bar I ever bought a drink in. I was 19 or 20.

Smoking was not yet banned indoors the first time I was here. It just wasn’t the same a few years later without the cloud of tobacco obscuring the ceiling. Although secondhand smoke is terrible, I honestly miss the ambiance of smoky bars.

I didn’t have a lot of time left, so I did what I swore I wouldn’t do: I went to Hudson Yards. I did not go into the Shawarma Vessel, because screw that. But it was the golden hour, so I walked around there and onto the high line until it was time to get back on the train to Newark.

Under the original terms of service, the developers owned my firstborn because I took this photo.
I can’t get over how much this looks like a computer rendering that has buzz phrases like “activate the street.”
Unfortunately, the sunset over the Hudson doesn’t get really lend itself to beauty at this point on the island.
This is currently my favorite photo. It’s my cellphone and my work computer wallpaper.
What makes Hudson Yards Hudson Yards.

I have no idea how I got to the right train. I always feel confused when I’m in Penn Station but I’ve managed to figure out where I need to go in enough time. Now I’m afraid I’ve jinxed it.

I got back in time to ride with the NJIT chapter’s president to pick up his girlfriend, her friend and Shonda from the concert. It was a nice coincidence, and it was a lot more fun talking to him than I initially thought. I was afraid that the 16-year difference would kill conversation, but our brotherhood transcends the years.

We were in that parking lot from about precisely 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The entire day, I strategically drank Red Bull and a latte, so I wasn’t tired. My right foot was in excruciating pain, though. I injured that foot on New Year’s Day when Missy slept on it. I was walking funny part of the day because I was wearing socks with worn elastic and decided against stopping to fix it. (I need to replace a lot of my clothes. I no longer wear things from high school, but I have more than a few things that are 10 years old.)

The pain contributed to keeping me awake on the ride home. We drove until the sun rose and I powered through thick fog. When I switched my car off, it was time for a nap until I dropped Shonda off for her bus at about 2 p.m.

Overall, I had fun. I didn’t have the cherished memory of the weekend Shonda has, but it was a great day in New York. I love being there and I think I’d do fine there, but I have no desire to live in the actual city. I’m going back in a few weeks, and I can’t wait. Thankfully, that trip will have some built-in time for rest.

As for this trip, I had Monday off. I slept. I continued to drag all of last week, and I’m surprised I made it through an internet show on the 22nd that was broadcast on Facebook Live. I’m looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow, and I’m glad plans to go to Richmond tomorrow fell through. I’m getting too old for this, apparently.

double dare

Consolation prize.

There was a joke about British Knights. I wondered if the company still existed. The next thing I knew, the shoes I remember most as the ones you received if you came in second in Double Dare were on my doorstep. It was an ironic purchase, but I’ve worn them at least once a week for the past month because they don’t look terrible.

I was torn between these and the ones that stuck out in my childhood memory. There were some more designs from that screamed 1990s, but I didn’t want to look attention-grabbing from a block away. The “Are those … British Knights?” comments I’ve received by someone who looked down when near me have been worth it.

i went to norfolk, virginia, and all i got was this lousy cold, part ii

Beena Raghavendran, of ProPublica, and your humble narrator.
(Photo courtesy Kristen Finn)

I was sick when that photo was taken. Really, really sick. I had an awkward pause when I was making a profound statement because I felt like I as about to propel my right lung into the audience. When it was over, I returned home, got on the couch and, other than walking Missy, did not leave the house for about four days.

But overall, I think the talk went well.

I missed attending the funeral of Renée’s grandfather, though.

If I attended, I would have been in close quarters with her and her grieving family, spreading whatever pestilence that was. I definitely did not want to get Renée sick because she was starting in a new position at her job on that Monday.

But back to the panel talk. It was the first time I presented on a stage in years. I wasn’t nervous at all because I had to do some public speaking in high school, I often had to do a reading at church and we’ve been doing a weekly radio segment for nearly a year.

I still have absolutely no desire to go into broadcast journalism, although my mom wishes I would.

We lost a panelist, which is why I attended. I didn’t want it to get canceled. Also, it was fun getting to share a stage with national name in journalism. And show off my corduroy blazer with elbow patches.

The theme of the talk was how new journalism models can help in equity conversations. Equity is a major them in the area lately, and my newsroom is a new journalism model. One of the ways that we can take a fresh look at things is because we’re not beholden to corporate overlords counting beans and aren’t weighed down by legacies of being on the wrong side of history, as a lot of (Southern) newspapers were wont to do.

Beyond the radio program, it was one of my first public outings as editor, and as I begin moving away from writing a lot, I’m going to have many more.

Hopefully, they will happen when I don’t feel like I’ve been run over by a train and can’t hear out of one ear.

Thanks a lot, 757.