Rusty Haggard Blog

Archive for February, 2011

Vegas and Idol = Nowhere, Man

I should’ve known better….

Subjected myself to the Beatles “tribute” (?) on American Idol. Uh, what were they thinking?
First, no one should do Beatles songs. Really.
Second, you know it’s gonna come off like Karaoke. They (the contestants) were warned.
Third, they took the contestants to see Cirque de Solei and the Beatles “Love” show right there in Las Vegas…and they still didn’t get it?
It’s inexcusable. Especially for Steven Tyler to sit there and not just rip them after these pathetic performances. And Randy and JLo too. C’mon, man.
Hello, Goodbye? Three (three!) people running out of a London phone booth singing “Hello, Goodbye”? At least Tyler said “The Marx Brothers put out a lot of fires…” Nice comment.
So many Beatles songs bring up so much emotion so easily. Yeah, we’re old, but think about it. Most of us can say, Yes, that was the 10th grade. Oh yeah, that was summer of ’67. Oh, Hey Jude, I remember what I was doing back then. The White Album? It goes on and on and on.
Jumping out of a red phone booth? I can only shake my head.
I’m lucky. A year ago I was actually in London. For real. And I walked around thinking “Beatles were here” as I walked down the street. The London taxi cabs (I got to ride in them, twice!) reminded me of the Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night.” It rained like hell as I walked through the streets at night, and I was thinking, “The Beatles…” I was in a dream.
Isn’t that how one of their songs starts? “I read the News today, oh boy. About a lucky man who made the grade…”
American Idol should be ashamed. Nothing against the kids singing. They admitted, sadly, (at least some of them did) that they’d never listened to the Beatles (?). Huh?
Oh, all I can say is Let It Be, Let It Be, Let It Be, Whisper Words of Wisdom, Let It Be (and change the channel).


Disappearing Trees

Ever been to No Trees, Texas? It’s actually a place. A city. People live there.

I ask because I drove from Central Texas to West Texas today. And as you go west, the trees begin to disappear. I didn’t go to No Trees, but soon after heading west from San Angelo, just past all those super-gigantic white windmills, I noticed that the trees…yeah, there weren’t any. Unless you count the mesquites. And even those were barely six feet tall. And, yeah, eventually they disappeared too.

In fact, after a while as I zoomed along mile after mile after mile, there were not only no trees. There were no cars. No houses. There was some sand. And some stripped bare cotton fields. And lots of sun. And wind. Gusts up to 50 miles per hour had me gripping the steering wheel with both hands.

The trip started out beautifully. A sunny morning, lots of spectacular Texas Hill Country views as I left home between Kyle and Wimberely in Hays County. I manuevered slowly through the morning school zones in Dripping Springs, and traveled west through more spectacularly picturesque Hill Country. I crossed the bridge over the Llano River, passed up several really good bar-b-que stands in Brady (it wasn’t lunch time yet). And …well, that’s about when things started to change.

Traveling on west and northwest past Brady, one gets that old John Wayne western movie feeling. Like he might be out there riding along somewhere. Mesas and ranches and brush country provide the backdrop. And there’s not a soul around. At one point, I spotted a dozen horses gathered together near a flat-top mesa, but no riders in sight. Further west along the highway, the earth flattens out, and there’s nothing left but sun and wind. It gets a little lonesome out there.

Maybe that’s why the trees disappeared.


Hey Nineteen!

Songs again. And this time it’s Steely Dan that I can’t get out of my head. “Hey Nineteen.” And for me that’s like 19, as in 19 degrees! That’s what it is this morning. And so the weather is still dominating everyone’s minds around here. And there goes Steely Dan again: “Way back in ’67…”

And way back in ’67 I wasn’t thinking about the weather. I was thinking that I was having a nervous breakdown. Over my high school girlfriend! I was about to lose my mind over (here comes another song)… “My girl, my girl, my girl. Talking ‘bout My Girl!” Oh, the pain she put me through. Breaking up with me to date another guy, and a sophomore at that! And we were seniors! Imagine my surprise years later at a class reunion when I learned that she had made a bet with her girlfriends that she could go with me the whole senior year! It was a bet she made. Something for her girlfriends to watch from a distance. Something for them to snicker about as she dangled me on a string.

“No, we can’t dance together.” She wasn’t at that reunion. Or any other reunion. And when I found out about the bet she made, I was of course no longer 18. No longer in angst, an angst at 18 that had me tossing and turning, staying up all night, driving by her house at 3 a.m. Can I laugh about it now?

“The Cuervo Gold. The fine Colombian.” Steely Dan sings on. There are things that can ease one’s mind in times of angst. Relax, I say to myself. Get comfortable. And Steely Dan sings on. “Hey Nineteen!”


The Warmth of the Sun

With the wind still howling outside – and it hasn’t stopped howling since early Tuesday morning – the fireplace keeps cranking out the heat. The sun, and any warmth from it, is hidden away. At least yesterday the sun was shining and one could at least imagine something along the lines of the old Beach Boy song, “The Warmth of the Sun.” Now, at 18 degrees, it’s like a refrigerator inside and a freezer outside. Even going to get another log for the fire can bring a refreshing “Whoa” to the senses.

Across the world…might as well be across the universe (songs keep popping into the writing here, with thanks to John Lennon for that one), people are throwing rocks at one another in Cairo. And with worldwide media coverage. Rock-throwing. That’s better than Uzis and AK-47s. And of course, it was started by the followers of the man in power. Yesterday, everything was peaceful, hopeful, and there were smiles on those being interviewed by Big Media. Today, images on the computer screen show cracked skulls, blood, rocks in a hand. Video reports show footage of the rock throwing. Press reports indicate some of the journalists themselves have been roughed up. And another song: When Will They Ever Learn, When Will They Ever Learn?