Please indulge me as I jump on the Thanksgiving bandwagon… people are giving me some very nice things. Plastic Lam dropped off a quart of lusciously custardy ginger ice cream she’d made with honey instead of sugar. Then the Astrological Yodeling Gardener said she had a couple pairs of ostrich cowboy boots to give me if they fit. So she came by—arriving early & compulsively weeding in front of our house while waiting for me to come home—& I fed her a dessert I composed out of Plastic Lam’s ice cream & Fuyu persimmon shavings sprinkled with Maldon sea salt & walnuts. (In case you can’t tell, I’m pretty pleased with myself for coming up with this one, & with Plastic Lam & her ice cream for inspiring it.)

Then Astrological Yodeling Gardener pulled out the boots, which turned out to be twin pairs except one had a beautiful wine-colored foot & the other was butterscotch. The identical brown tops sported a magnificent 8 rows of stitching. I tried on the wine ones & they fit like a good old-skool cowboy boot should: surprisingly comfy. (Why am I always surprised?) As for the butterscotch, I’ve never been much for wearing that color, & AYG said she wore those more anyway, so I said she should keep them & then we could be boot twins. Giggling over this idea, we sat at the kitchen table each wearing a pair & admiring them while she told how a friend had given them to her many years ago, & they were custom-made but her friend had back problems & couldn’t wear them anymore.

I asked who had made them, but AYG said she didn’t know. I pulled off a boot to look inside, & nearly fell over: Paul Bond! Dang, that shit is the real deal! I still can’t believe that I just got a pair of vintage ostrich Paul fucking Bonds handed to me, & they fit! That was yesterday & I’m still in shock. Thank you, Astrological Yodeling Gardener! I’m honored to be a Bond Girl with you! I sent her home with some of my granny’s famous sticky rice Chinese tamales (thanks Granny!), but I think we know who got the better end of the deal.

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fyi… this website, & my email, will go on a little overnight vacation this weekend.

Here’s the notice I got about it: Beginning this Saturday, November 10th at 6pm Pacific Time, The WELL will be moving our servers to a more modern and disaster-resistant colocation site. All servers will be powered down, moved, and brought back up at the new location. Barring unforeseen difficulties, we expect to have everything back before noon Sunday.

Modern & disaster-resistant? Quite intriguing!



Oh my gawd the Carolina Chocolate Drops! You know sometimes when you go see a band based on nothing more than a hunch, & then you turn out to be so right? I had torn out an article about these folks waay back when, buried it in a scary giant pile on my desk, then unearthed it just a couple weeks ago during major excavation of my desk. (You can actually see the desktop now! It’s blue.) Article in hand, I found the website & listened to a song, which I liked enough to then see where they were playing. Serendipity called; they were coming to Cafe Du Nord in just a few days.

So, there we were, with pumpkin soup & a big spinach salad, hard pear cider & no particular expectations. The opening duo was pleasant enough, obviously locals with friends in the audience. So far, so good. They finished playing & we finished our food. Then the Drops got on stage & gave us that sneaky stringband trick of a sweet, moderate-paced preamble before dramatically kicking it up to superhighspeed, large & in fucking charge, authoritative, sinus-clearing, hair-raising, fierce playing. Wow! The temperature of the place shot up about 10 degrees. I was instantly in love. & it didn’t stop. They got everthang: showpersonmanship, talent, brains, dedication, humor, analysis, energy, & looks & youth (oh yeah, I did say energy) to boot. If I wasn’t so thrilled just to be in the same room with them I’d go ahead & be jealous. The wacky Dom Flemons plays any & every instrument he feels like, including bones, jug & guitar, & just when you think he’s shown you everything he’s got, throws some throat-singing into the mix too. Rhiannon Giddens does everything too, including Charleston & clogging—barefoot! Justin Robinson may seem like “the quiet one” in comparison but is a mean player & singer himself & a fully worthy, equal member of the trio.

Everybody loved them. Toward the end of one song, someone in the audience moaned, “Don’t let it end!” When they were done with us we made them come back for two encores, then stampeded up to the CD table with fistfuls of cash, crying out, give us one of everything! They graciously signed their CDs for us & we went home with joyously rearranged brain cells. Do I need to say it? Go see them! They’re everything you never knew you wanted in an African American oldtime stringband. If you think you don’t like oldtime, well, they’ll make a convert outta you.