Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An Imminent Threat to the American Way of Life

Okay, this is off my usual beaten track, but it's one of those DAMN IT! things... know what I mean? Probably outta create a separate blog for 'one off'' topics like this, but for now I'll post it here.

A few months back, I saw this horrid report on NBC news. I sent out some emails, trying to get clarification, and recently received a reply from Ms. Madeleine Pickens.

Madeleine, taming a wild and dangerous beast...

It seems this yellowed underarm gang of thugs we call ‘Our Government’ has concluded we’re being overridden by yet another dangerous force - another 'crisis' in the making: Worse than Y2K (remember that planet ending threat?). Worse even than the combined threat of "Swine Flu" and Global Warming, cow farts and cave-dwelling Al Qaeda Jihadists. Possibly even worse than our 'Health Care Crisis.'

In fact, those ominous threats pale in comparison to this one: A force not only dangerous, but one already perched on our sovereign soil. Even worse, this particular threat is costing ‘us’ - perk your ears up - money!

And so, you might ask, what (or who) is our latest govern"mentally" decreed threat to civilization?

Well, in this case, our newly announced demon is horses. Worse, WILD horses.

Oh sure, they may LOOK placid...

This is the stuff straight out of childhood nightmares, the ever dreaded MUSTANG (shudder). I know, I know... it sounds benign. But just visualize a mass of untamed horses running unchecked on that old purple sage, kicking up unsightly dust and munching on our grass... probably dribbling horse saliva just EVERWHERE.

Absolutely intolerable; environ"mentally," aesthetically and fiscally. How can we keep attracting all that Chinese Yuan with such commotion going on? How can we lay concrete and build 'bridges to nowhere' with all those galloping hooves, that utter disrespect for 'progress'?

But wait, it gets even worse.

These wild horses have been observed mating - and even birthing colts - in full public view (not that there’s much public out there) and generally flaunting the laws of society.

An unseemly public display of perversity...

They have even been observed, God forbid, peeing and pooping in the open, in flagrant disregard of our EPA regs - and, I might add, the mores of our most revered religions.

In short, these horses are engaged in all sorts of nefarious and subversive activity. And at last report, they appear totally unrepentant and unwilling to modify their behavior. They are, according to the BLM, beyond rehabilitation and a 'threat' to our very way of existence.

Thus our government’s latest call to arms: Kill the *#^* Mustangs!

And by golly, I couldn’t be more proud. I mean, don’t you just have to admire such dedication to principle and the higher good?

The face of Higher Good...

Our Government’s courageous stand for preservation of the higher plains is admirable. Not to mention their unflinching guardianship of morality and the American Way of Life. It is so truly humbling my tears overflow. Particularly when it’s SOOOOO much more lucrative to lease these lands to cattle barons and oil thieves.

But cynicism aside, it’s comforting that Uncle Sam would wrest time from his frenetic schedule to protect (ever so quietly) poor slobs like myself from those heathen beasts… probably fornicating even as we speak, out there in the wilds of Montana. Or Wyoming. Or even, God forbid, that bastion of displaced Californians, Colorado.

But much as I admire our revered and ever so compassionate government, I disagree with their solution. I’d prefer these demons not be shot, but imprisoned. For life, if need be, to afford them opportunity to reflect on their evil ways.

Don’t get me wrong, I would not coddle these equestrian beasts. Oh no... I would impose a strict regimen: No television, no weight lifting and very little meat. But should any of these high plains drifters find work (on, say, a ranch or a farm or just giving a child some joy) all bets are off… they could then watch as much TV as they wished (within limits, of course).

The trouble is, our (increasingly less) benign dictatorship has already established such a prison. Some 30,000 horses, having been rudely uprooted from their native habitat, are now imprisoned there. And now, having already captured these four-legged terrorists, our BLM officials are chafing at the $24 million per year of ‘taxpayer’ money it’s costing.

And we all know our 'officials' have the greatest respect for us taxpayers...

But it's interesting, isn’t it, how it’s ‘taxpayer’s' money when Our Government is trying to dump a program, but it’s ‘National Treasure’ or ‘Reserves’ or ‘Prior Appropriation’ when it’s something they WANT to do. [It couldn’t be a ploy, could it… just a spin on words to get us on side?]

Anyway, I guess spending all this "money" (HA!) is supposed to piss us off… piss us of enough to let these sweaty clowns kill our mustangs.

(Okay, I don't know that they're actually sweaty... but most of them sure look like BO sufferers)

A suspected victim of BO... and maybe some other stuff too...

Lest you think I'm picking on Democrats, I should add that this horse murdering scheme began under the regime of our esteemed leader (and self-proclaimed rancher & horseman & jet pilot & Christian & guitarist, George W. Bush). But when asked about it...

... he just feigned innocence (gosh, he DOES look like a rancher, doesn't he?)

Well, I’m just pissed that these idiots (BLM officials) corralled our horses in the first place. Plus, I’m absolutely baffled as to how 30,000 horses, out in the open range (okay, fenced range), could cost $24 million to keep (not that it's much money in the big scheme of things).

Only Our Government could figure a way to dump that much money into a ‘no added value’ undertaking. The land costs nothing, and there’s no housing, no training, no tackle and no keepers involved. Don't even have to haul in water. No damn nothing...

Water seems to just magically appear... maybe from melted Polar Icecaps? I haven't a clue, but I imagine God had a hand in this ... and I'm sure we'll hear all about it.

God? Or just a more genteel face of the Higher Good? Or is this 'talk much and do zip' black child simply a suckling of the 'King Richard ' style of Chicago thuggery? (I'm betting on the latter).

Okay, back to the budgetary debacle of (unecessarily and cruelly) corraling a string of wild horses. The only expense might be some occasional fence mending. Which begs the question, why corral the critters in the first place if you can't (or suddenly choose not to) bear this minor expense?

Freaking A**holes! [And, my American friends, you want these clowns to run your 'health care?' Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. And it ain't pretty. But that's a topic for another time.]

And so, finally, to the point of all this:

Madeleine Pickens, of Dallas, Texas, has offered to unburden Our Government - excuse me, 'us taxpayers' - by taking possession of the horses and moving them to land that she and her husband - Mr. T. Boone Pickens - are in process of acquiring.

Well, I say, God bless them both! If they follow through, I'll go out and hoof a string to Dallas. Or wherever. Or at least get 'em to the truck.

And to anyone patient enough to have waded through my somewhat amateurish emotion, I say ‘pitch in.’ Sure, the Pickens are rich - unimaginably rich compared to me - but this is still a tough undertaking… not only monetarily but also in terms of time and effort and communication.

Madeleine is trying to establish a foundation… and I say, let’s help her found it! And, hey, if you’ve got room to adopt a needy horse drop me a line. I’ll do my best to get the news to the right ears.

I may not have much use for sweaty government 'officials,' but I dig horses and dogs and such... or maybe you already figured that one out?

Viv A/k/a Nellie Wilson

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Live from New York!

Been doing a cool thing the last couple of weeks... resurrecting an old album for this fellow musician, guy named 'Johnny Irish.'

Met him at this bar (where else) and figured 'just another stage-door Johnny.' Nice guy though, a master carpenter & cabinet maker. Good enough that he outfitted the woodwork on Hatteras yachts. It wasn't long before the conversation turned to music, and I thought, Hmm...this guy knows his stuff.

And not long after that, the proverbial cat popped out of the bag - Johnny had been a musician in his 'other' life. Well, this got my pea brain a'ticking... I had a gig coming up...

...and needed some assist.

So I dragged poor Johnny - kicking and screaming - out of retirement.

Tough luck for him, but I needed a 2nd guitar played, preferably, by local talent. Johnny was my guy, like it or not (for a little shit, I'm pretty persuasive). Turned out he did a pretty mean Johnny Cash, too... an unexpected bonus.

I did say 'mean,' didn't I?

He glowered and pissed and moaned. He swore he'd hate every minute, going back on stage and enduring all the 'misery' that entailed.

Well, Johnny, if you strap the guitar to your tongue, of COURSE it's miserable...

But au contraire! That old Show Biz Bug surged right back into his blood, fairly coursing through his rusty old veins (well, not that old!). And lo and behold, he started showing up, guit in hand...

... and even, miracle of miracles, started practicing again.

Then one fine afternoon, Johnny confides to my little buddy - kind of embarrassed-like - that he's got this old recording - a live performance in New York - he's trying to turn into an album. He'd sent it out 2 1/2 years ago but nothing ever happened.

*Sniff, sniff (sorry, I godda code)...*

And my buddy says, why nod give it to Viv?

My buddy, Hef

And I guess (having not been there) Johnny was pretty skeptical at first. You know, talking to a buddy and all. But I played him the rough cut today... and suddenly he's the kid who Santa Claus finally remembered.

Quite a job, it was. But fun! This old recording was long before the days of digital, plus it was a live performance, recorded on a very simple 'antique' tape recorder.

Johnny's state of the art recorder... in the '50s

There was no spacing between the songs and one of them started on one track and continued on a totally different track...a mess.

And, of course, it came complete with all the hissing and scratching and magnetic noise for which we've grown (unaccountably) nostalgic.

But now (patting myself on the back) it sounds pretty damn good.

Me trying to overcome my world renowned modesty

When I get it reformatted (so it will play on something besides my editing software), maybe I'll upload a snippet... give ya' ll a trip down mem'ry lane.

That last line sounded pretty southern, didn't it? C'mon... didn't it??


Okay, fine, maybe Quebecers can't sound southern. Maybe I should quit trying... just wake up and smell the damn coffee. French roast, if you please.

Now wouldn't THAT just roll your ol' socks up?

☻ Viv ♥♫♪

Friday, November 6, 2009

Halloween 2009

I know it's kinda late to blog about Halloween, but still I just wanted to share a couple of pictures...

Jimmy and me

Here's another one:

Don't know the guy, but he scared me to death!

And here's a young fellow that keeps his costume all year long:

Don't know his name either... pretty realistic the costume, isn't it?

And here I am, shooting pool again... what a surprise!

This is the first time in my life that I don't have to wear a winter coat for Halloween. The evening was gorgeous, a nice 75 degrees out there... pretty unusual for a Northern gal! But maybe, in my excitement, I overdid things a bit?

The 'day after' hangover... *

So, what's going on now? Well, I have a gig coming up. I'll be playing at Sharky's in Havelock, a Friday the 13Th party - kind of like having a '2nd Halloween.'

I met this fellow Sean that lent me an electric guitar, that is soooo cool! I started on a classic guit (now in my daughter's lovely hands), moved to an acoustic, and then a jazz guitar. But this is the first time that I can actually 'pick' an electric. I love it!

There she is, sittin' on the couch in her bright red dress, waiting for me to plug her in...

I guess this is it for now! I better go grab that sweetheart electric guit before it vanishes!

*Credit to my friends Gordy & Chantal for their exquisite pumpkin art!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Start of Something New

Where to start… where to start?

This ‘blogging’ stuff is pretty new to me. Oh, I posted some things on the “Bus Nut” site but that’s different, confined to topics related to our buses.

And for someone like me, limits can be a good thing – there’s less chance I’ll get completely sidetracked (which I tend to do). But here, where there’s no predetermined topic, I can yak about any darn thing I want… and darned if I can decide what that should be.

So I guess I should begin at the beginning. Not the historical beginning, but the very recent ‘beginning’ (you’ll get enough ‘history’ as I ramble on). So as not to bore anyone to death, I’ll give you the ‘Reader’s Digest’ version.

I was a street musician for years, playing the flute… mostly classical but with some modern tunes and improvisation rolled in. But the flute doesn’t offer much versatility when doing solo performances. Oh, I’d luck into the occasional concert or special event, but those opportunities were rare. And then I picked up the guitar – mostly to serenade my (then) baby daughter ‘beddy-bye’ (not easy to sing while playing a flute).

Me and my daughter, Leyla

I started to like this guitar / singing thing and tried playing more complex music, mostly in French. Eventually I got pretty good, but knew hardly any songs in English. and next to nothing about American music. Oh, I’d heard of Johnny Cash (then again, who hasn’t?) but nobody else. I hadn’t even heard of that great American icon, Willie Nelson – rather ironic, considering later developments.

A couple years ago, practicing at home…♪ ♪

And one cold winter day everything changed… my whole life veered down a different road.

This fellow – this American fellow ♥ – came by to visit. I’d met him at the restaurant where I worked as a waitress. Keeping this long story short, I played a couple tunes, singing – of course – in French. And this fellow just stares, giving me this look… like he’s frustrated, you know? I’m thinking he just hates my stuff, but I carry on.

When I’m done, there’s a long silence. I’m holding my breath, waiting for a reaction – for the first time, realizing this is actually important to me. Not that this guy was any big wig in the music business, but he was from across the border and involved in the arts.

Finally, he says, “What the hell are you doing, playing to these four walls?”

Not sure what he’s getting at, I just sorta cock my head - looking, I hope, intelligent yet inquisitive.

“From now on, take that guitar to work," he says. "Put it out where people can see it. And when someone asks for a song, play it for them. In fact, take it everywhere you go.”

But I’m dubious. “And what if nobody asks?”

And he says, “Don’t worry… they will.”

And, sure enough, they did. Pretty soon, enough people asked that I was hired to play music during dinner. And, of course, I soon ran out of songs and had to learn new ones.

One of my first gigs

And then, of course, I had to learn some English songs.

And then I had to write my own songs… and create an album.

Working on my 1st cd

And then I had to play more venues and get my songs on the radio.

Viviane Ricard - Nellie Wilson ------ 02:35 --2009-01-18 04:26:11
Viviane Ricard - The Rose ------------04:43 --2009-01-19 04:38:28
viviane ricard- What's Going On ---- 02:34 --2009-01-19 23:08:15
viviane ricard- Puzzle of My Heart - 03:39 --2009-01-19 23:10:50
Snapshot: some of the songs on my play list ♫ "

And then I just had to open a big name concert in the States...

Opening IROC for Big Machine Records in 2007

And then I had to tour around, play some cool places... like Nashville. And if I did pretty good, and liked it, I’d have to get a bus to travel around in.

Hamming it up in Nashville

As it turned out, I did do pretty good – and I liked it just fine. So then I got the bus.... and put the finishing touches on my first album .

My first album

And that’s how it all evolved, and that’s about where I am… presently.

There’s a lot more to it, but figured I’d just hit the speed bumps for now… in keeping with the old KISS principle. But I’ll probably fill in the blanks as I go… some of them at least .

To be continued...