Monday, November 27, 2006

Football Road Trip

Kim, Steve, Matt, and I left early Saturday morning. The van cd changer played some of the great jazz and blues recordings of Ray Charles, North Texas State University Lab Band, Etta James, Jimmy Smith, and Chris Botti. Just north of Cincinnati we stopped to stretch our legs and have breakfast at Bob Evans.

Our next stop was the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Awesome photography, interesting exhibits, interactive displays, and a theatre showing some incredible NFL action made the visit a great one.

Steve, Matt, Me, And Kim

We arrived in Cleveland just after dark and needed to stop for gas. As I pumped the petro, Steve was approached by a rough dude who asked for money. The guy had a severe gash across his neck that appeared to be an old knife wound. Steve gave him a fivespot in return for directions to a hotel. He assured Steve that he "was not carrying a weapon" and that he would be happy to ride with us and show us the way. We then assured him that we could remember his directions and could make it on our own. At that point we hurriedly got back into the safety our our Bengalmobile and left asap.

We secured a room at the Holiday Inn located on the banks of Lake Erie. The hotel was filled with many other Bengals fans. The sound of Who Dey chants filled the lobby and streets of Cleveland throughout the weekend.

Matt, Me And Steve With Bengals Fans

We walked downtown to the Quicken Center where the Cavaliers were hosting the Sixers. There were no tickets left at the box office and we didn't want to pay scalper prices on the street. Instead of going to the basketball game we decided to check out other activities in the downtown area. We visited the House of Blues and saw many other cool nightspots and restaurants.

We ended up entering the galleria area connected to the Hyatt Regency. As a Christmas choir of young girls sang "Silent Night", a young man, maybe 6 years old, saw our Bengals attire and started booing and giving us the thumbs down gesture. As the choir continued into the second verse we heard several nice Clevelanders addressing us as "morons", "jerks", "jacksasses", and a host of other choice names. They also added some additional well known derogatory gestures. Steve laughed and thanked them for their fine support of our team. I gave them a smiling thumbs-up as though we were ignorant and believing that they were giving us compliments. Kim was taking pictures of the choir and was not dressed in Bengals attire, so he was not a target. At age 12, Matt focused in on the booing 6 year old. Matt puffed out his chest and started to walk toward him with the vocal retaliation "Who Dey!, Who Dey!, We're gonna whup you wif our Johnsons." Obviously Matt had listened to the Bootsy Collins "Who-Dey Invasion" cd I had given him earlier in the week where Cincinnati funkmaster Bootsy raps about the talent of Cincy's Rudy Johnson, Chad Johnson, Jeremy Johnson, Doug Johnson, and Landon Johnson. At that point I reeled Matt in and reexplained that we were in Cleveland and were outnumbered. As a member of the school academic team, he understood the significance of the numbers thing and therefore ended the vocal exchange with "when is the last time the Browns were in the playoffs?" There are times when a father is just plain proud of his boy.

Steve Had To Fight Off Vicious Browns Fans

Matt With A Friendly Browns Fan

The Bengals soundly whipped the Browns 30-0. We celebrated throughout the game while the Browns fans fumed. The infamous Dawg Pound was silenced by the mighty Bengals.

Click To Enlarge To See The Disgusted Browns Fans Behind Matt

This road trip was as good as it gets. Kim, Steve, Matt and I are already planning next year's trip!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Looking Forward To Thanksgiving & The Weekend

It's going to be fun. What a big time we should have. I am really, really thankful.

Tonight I look forward to playing at Giuseppe's. Some old friends are planning on stopping in and I am also sure I'll meet some new friends.

Tomorrow my family will go down to the farm for a Thanksgiving feast. It is a great time to be with family. Sharon's mom is a wonderful cook and does it up right. After that we will visit my side of the family in Carlisle for desert. By that time the Detroit Lions will have lost another Thanksgiving Day game. Michelle, Matthew, and Melody always enjoy seeing their cousins Rachel, Elizabeth, and Nathan. Grandma and Grandpa Hall will be there too.

Friday night I'll be back at Giuseppe's playing my sax. Fridays at G's are always busy and lots of fun. Sharon and Melody will still be doing their Christmas shop-til-you-drop annual mall excursion at the time I blow my first note. They leave out before the sun comes up and usually don't arrive home until Letterman is on my tv. The charge card is then packed in ice and placed in the freezer so it may cool back down to it's normal temperature.

On Saturday morning Matthew, Steve, Kim, and me are heading north. We are going to visit the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in Canton, Ohio. We'll stay the night in a motel and get up early to tailgate in Cleveland prior the Bengals/Browns game. Chef Steve (of Giuseppe's) will be giving the grill a workout while Kim, Matthew and me throw around the pigskin. We have tickets in the nosebleed section and should be able to see my house in Richmond from our seats. After a big win by the Bengals we will have a great drive home.

I am always thankful...and weekends like this make it really easy!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Halftime Sax Cat

Michelle and I went to the UK game on Saturday to watch some football. We saw a lot of offense and no defense whatsoever as Big Blue won 42-40. We enjoyed the halftime show as the UK Marching Band featured Professor Miles Osland's wailing sax on "Play That Funky Music".

Professor Osland On The Jumbotron

Be sure to hear Professor Osland and trumpet ace Vince DiMartino as they lead DOJO, Lexington's finest big band, on the last Monday of each month at Comedy Off Broadway in Lexington Green. The band is made up of excellent players who are primarily music educators from various Kentucky colleges and some of their most outstanding students. I recommend to call ahead to Comedy Off Broadway to verify upcoming DOJO appearances.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Fun Day On The Lake

I took Matthew, his cousin Nathan, and Nathan's dad Ed to Lake Cumberland today for some striper fishing. We had a nice day catching stripers and smallmouth bass.

Matthew And Nathan Were All Smiles

After a full day of fishing we stopped at a little restaurant near the Alligator 2 Boat Dock for a big catfish dinner. This was a great day of fun for all of us.

Nathan Admiring A Nice Smallmouth Bass

Striper Success

Friday, November 17, 2006

Matthew Hall Selected To Academic Team

Matthew was selected to the Glenn Marshall Elementary School Academic team yesterday. We are very proud of The Mattmeister.

Pictured above, Matthew looked intently at cousin Nathan's Gameboy screen during a visit at a local restaurant. It was somewhat of a surprise to me for Matthew to make the academic team. Evidently the team tryouts had questions pertaining to Playstation or Gameboy football games! Matthew is not much on history, but he does know football and gaming!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Packed Weekend Of Fun

Whew! Another packed weekend allowed for some great times. My Friday night gig at Giuseppe's was enjoyable as I saw some old friends that I hadn't seen in years. They came out especially to hear me play. That sure gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.

On Saturday morning I gave sax lessons. My newest student came well prepared and did a nice job on her lesson. That sure gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.

Saturday afternoon saw Matt and me at Commonwealth Stadium for the UK-Vandy football game. Kentucky won going away and is now going to be heading to a bowl! The Cats' offense was fabulous. That sure gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.

Saturday evening was a blast at Caproni's. Many of my friends and regulars were there to hear my music. The tip jar was an extreme success. That sure gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.

On Sunday morning Matt and I headed up to Cincy for the Bengals-Chargers game. We had a great breakfast at Bob Evans and super pregame at Paul Brown Stadium. We met the entire BenGals cheerleading squad and gladly accepted the new BenGals cheerleader calendar. Each of the ladies insisted on signing my calendar. Matt wasn't particularily interested (he's in fifth grade) and decided to kick field goals on the concourse play area while I discussed game strategy with Tiffany and Sarah. They are big fans of the sax and I am hoping to see them at some of my upcoming gigs at Caproni's. Obviously, that sure gives me a great feeling of satisfaction.

Sarah and Tiffany

The Bengals lost. Hey, it's just a game! The important thing is that Matt and I had fun. And THAT sure gives me the greatest feeling of satisfaction of all.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Anything For A Gig

Musicians are constantly looking for something special in their presentation that will separate them from the multitude of other music makers. I understand the importance of this and am therefore thinking about something extra special for my upcoming gigs. Perhaps I will be doing on sax something similar to what this guy does on trumpet. As Dad says, "It's amazing what people will do for money".

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Nice Win, But Tearing Down A Goalpost?

Matt and I really enjoy going to UK football games. Though they have not exactly been a powerhouse team in a long time, we still have a big time going to the games and are hopeful each year that Big Blue will have a good season.

This year Coach Brooks' boys actually have a good chance to make a bowl appearance. The schedule was favorable with six or seven games that we could actually win. Georgia, the team we played Saturday, was the one I considered the toughest of the games that we actually stood a chance to win.

The game wasn't pretty, but the Cats played hard and came back from a deficit to win the game. It was a nice win, but I couldn't believe the fans actually stormed the field to tear down a goalpost. Georgia is having the worst year for them that I can remember. They were unranked and had already lost this season to Vanderbilt. In our game they threw three interceptions, fumbled once, missed two field goals, missed an extra point, and we still just barely eeked out a win. I'm very happy with the win, but storming the field? We didn't just beat Ohio State, Florida, USC, or LSU!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Jazz Musician Reaches Heaven

St. Peter asks the person in front of the pearly gates, "What did you do in life?" The reply "I was a physician" brought a generous smile from St. Peter who said, "Very noble profession, you are welcome in heaven. Of course, there's nothing for you to do here as we have no illness of any kind, but you are most welcome in heaven. The bar on the left goes on forever, the buffet on the right goes on to eternity, and the pink fluffy looking cloud in the middle is where God hangs out. Feel free to talk to God and eat and drink as much as you like. You are welcome in heaven."

St. Peter asks the next person, "What did you do in life?" The reply "I was a lawyer" brought a disgruntled look as St. Peter rolled his eyes and said, "Well, everyone is welcome in heaven. Of course, there's nothing for you to do here as we have no crime or ill will or accidents of any kind, but you are welcome in heaven. The bar on the left goes on forever, the buffet on the right goes on to eternity, and the pink fluffy looking cloud in the middle is where God hangs out. Feel free to talk to God and eat and drink as much as you like. You are welcome in heaven."

St. Peter asks the next person, "What did you do in life?" The reply "I was a jazz musician" brought an excited response of delight as St. Peter said, "You're going to love it here! The jam sessions go on forever! You get to blow with Miles, Trane, Monk, Ray Brown, Dexter, Bird, and Cannonball. Duke Ellington writes a new piece for the band every day. There's plenty of solo space, no weird keys, nothing out of tune, no bad notes, no bad changes, and the time is always rock solid. didn't park out front, did you? Be sure to stay away from the bar and the buffet table and certainly do not mingle. And by the way, don't try to talk to God...he's busy. You'll need to come in through the loading dock. Also, do you have a sound system we could use during breaks?"