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September 03, 2012


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I put out a flag for the day.

What exactly are you supposed to do for American Labor day, anyhow? I'm not usually home...


We just saw Diana Krall, AKA Mrs. Elvis Costello, perform on Sat. She put on a wonderful and eclectic show, which included jazz, bossanova, Beatles covers, an incredible Tom Waits cover, and a tribute to the late Mr. David. The musical versatility of that couple is remarkable.

I have to do some work today too, Sir C. Misery loves company. :((


Sorry,I posted a Labor Day comment on the other thread.
Happy Labor Day everyone. Goof off, if you can.


While Elvis sings it well, the best version of the song is Linda Ronstadt's. I shall brook no opposition, sirs and mesdames!

I was thinking of flying the American flag upside down as a sing of labor's distress, but I chickened out.

Sir Charles


I had never heard that version. Very nice. Ronstadt's power and range definitely work well with that song. I might forgive her Tumbling Dice travesty.

Sir Charles


In the old days I think Labor Day parades and cook outs were quite the norm. Many folks around here use it as the last beach trip of the season -- a good choice in our still sweltering part of the world.

I am afraid to say that I have spent a lot of Labor Days in the office over the years, laboring for labor.


Sounds like an excellent show. What Tom Waits song did she perform?


That entire album (Winter Light) is excellent. I may be biased, however. I own every one of her albums except the Greatest Hits ones.


"I'm Big in Japan" Tom Waits is seriously funny. Did everyone except me know this already? "The Piano Has Been Drinking" from 1977. 1977?

How time flies. Hoo.

Sir Charles


The Piano Has Been Drinking is on the album "Small Change" which has several of Waits's best boozy numbers -- Tom Traubert's Blues, Invitation to the Blues, and Bad Liver and a Broken Heart. All of these are great, great songs.

This was a late night favorite of mine during late nights in law school.


I'm usually on the road. Out of the last few years I've either been at Black Rock City or working on building stone steps on our house. The latter is what we did this year.

We have eighty of these steps to install, plus retaining walls along them. We're up to thirty and have made three walls, tho we're half-way through the third. It's nearly thirty feet long, so it's alot of work.


Sir C, Not just the song but the Martin Mull Fernwood interview drop-in stuff. After playing 'The Piano Has Been Drinking' the man was scary swift with response.

Where do you live? "At bedlam and squalor."

"Rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy."

Glad he came back from the drink to do poetic work. He lives on. Thanks be.

Sir Charles


That's really ambitious. Since I lack all talent in this area -- and I represent stone masons, I keep promising my wife that I will get someone out to repair our stone steps and walkways, which are around 60 years old and have seen better days. (They are very small compared to what you're describing -- all of two or three steps.)


That clip is priceless. Fernwood 2-night was so weirdly cutting edge -- especially at the time.

I enjoyed Martin Mull saying to Tom Waits -- "take a load off your act."

Sir Charles

I was also reminded of an incident where I was driving around one of my friend's two sons, both in their early teens, while listening to Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash, and the youngest said "this is a joke, right?"

No, son, no joke at all.


It's all about the bedding. I have to say my newest wall pieces are much better than my older ones, but it's alot of fiddly work pounding the gravel into place so everything sits level. And I didn't do any side to side measuring or using set courses so there's gaps in this wall I didn't really envision but will have to work with.

But I do like the look and feel of stone once it's in place, so I've been learning! I could've made and installed wooden steps in just a few days.

The challenge with this flight is that it turns across the hill and cuts in where there was a gas line, a septic line, and a 100' dead tree (now removed). So we had to dig a 7' x 5' cut into the hill and then fill it, dig out the gas line and lower it (it was only a few inches under the ground at that point), and now contour the hill without moving the septic line (because then I have to pay a few hundred dollars to various people to tell me I haven't done anything wrong) and leap the steps over it without putting anything impermeable in the space where the line is (the stone design I'm using is permeable, with no sand or grouting even) and then I have to straddle to the next line before coming around for the third flight.

This would be much easier to do if our home were on a flat lot, but alas, we wanted to live in the mountains. And do. The whole lot is a 20-30% grade and contains a grove of 100'+ redwoods the house.

kathy a.

wow, crissa. we are on a lot with a steep slope in back. our back yard has a bunch of rock retaining walls around 2 sides, and rock edging up the 2 flights of steps, probably all built about 60 years ago. my husband has been rebuilding fences, and slowly rebuilding a retaining wall beneath 3 dead giant pine trees that we had removed over the years. he's still chopping out roots from the last of the dead trees (over 100' at demise), before proceeding with the rest of the retaining wall. it is heavy work.


Yes, it is. I'd suggest the use of a garden auger to speed the unearthing of the roots, we found it invaluable. You can get auger bits for heavy-duty drills.

We've found pretty old stuff buried in the hill... Car parts from twenty years ago, original pilings from when the house was built sixty years ago, etc.

kathy a.

ok, the perfect birthday present. auger. he's been working on these giant roots - a log/root he took out is up to 12" diameter, and now there are 3 intertwining roots of 6-10" each, right where the retaining wall needs to be rebuilt. i guess the only better stress reliever than chopping is an appropriate power tool.

we've found some great stuff in the yard, too, but it is more along the lines of old bottles and the occasional ancient toy. and odd rocks; we're near an old quarry. the rocks all go to use.

kathy a.

open thread -- deval patrick takes romney down, by complimenting health care as his one big achievement, pointing out that romney won't talk about that, and noting that otherwise the state was left in a mess. via balloon juice.


"People ask me all the time what is the real Mitt Romney? Is he a conservative? Is he a moderate? Is he a pragmatist? I think he's an opportunist. I think he does and says things he needs to do and say to win elections and to appeal to the people in front of him."
- Deval Patrick (from kathy a's link)

That is precisely what Mitt Romney is.


Yeah, augers' good for exposing roots, then you can use an appropriate cutting tool (or hire one) much more cheaply. Good for planting, too. ^-^


The $8 one is like what I have... Wears out and bends easily, but is cheap.

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