Saturday, May 05, 2007

Bourbon is My Wife, Coffee My Mistress

Emmy's been showing signs of hip dysplasia for a while, but it's gotten really bad in the past month or so. So I finally let common sense prevail and took her to the vet for an exam, since she had to have her shots updated anyway. Turned out it wasn't her hip at all, but her knee that's giving her problems. $230 and some pain relievers later, and she's starting to feel a bit better. At least she isn't limping as badly; she's starting to lightly trot again without bunny-hopping which I suspect is largely due to the pain relievers. My vet also placed her on a "no stairs" policy, which means I'm hauling fifty pounds of muscle-clad boxer/terrier mix up and down stairs. She doesn't like it, but she's not squirming as much now. Now all I need to do is get a dog license application from the city and she'll be an official resident of Chicago, again.

You are going to see some of the big shows this weekend at HotHouse, right? Ba Cissoko is a kora master who hails from Guinea and has been called the "Jimi Hendrix of the kora." It's a stretch: the effects on his records are largely studio conceits, but he is an amazing player. Tickets are still available. And Wednesday's shows with Les Nubians are starting to sell like hotcakes.

As a diagnosed clinical depressive who refuses to take medication for the condition, I like to stay busy as a means of therapy. But lately I've found myself juggling time and responsibilities. Between my added work pile at HotHouse (where I've been asked to help out with marketing sponsorships again), current freelance projects, and some potential freelance opportunities I've either stumbled into or have as the result of someone calling in a favor, I'm learning the intricacies of time management. What I've learned is that my main tool for work - a computer - can also be a major distraction. It's why I've cut back on posting here to once a week. Some things help discipline me - like getting in my Chicagoist posts days in advance, which also helps me learn the nuances of deadline-based writing for the other concerns. Keep an eye out here in the coming weeks as I revamp the blogroll to reflect my interests and where I'm writing nowadays. Since I write about food and drink elsewhere, it only makes sense that I h
ave some links to where I keep abreast on news.

This brings me to what I'll call the "eMusic song of the week". The Mighty Hannibal (born James T. Shaw in Atlanta, Georgia) is a self-invented demographic of one. He's been a pimp, a junkie, and an elephant jockey over the course of his life. He started singing doo wop as a teenager. Shaw's first group, the Overalls, featured future Pips Melvin Knight and Edward Patten. Somewhere along the line he started wearing a turban and became a master showman, albeit one with stellar arranging and singing skills. His 1966 song "Hymn No. 5" - a song about a black soldier writing home from Vietnam, was ahead of its time in its anti-war consciousness and, compared to what the Summer of Love produced, more genuine. I opted instead to share with you a song from 1970, "The Truth Shall Set You Free," a gospel howler in which Hannibal replaces one opiate (heroin) with another (religion). It's a rare gem of his '70's songwriting; you can download the record here at eMusic or from Norton Records. The Mighty Hannibal is still busy, going into his ... well, however old he is right now. In addition to his own website, he also has a Myspace page. I'm going to log on and send a friend request right now.

The Mighty Hannibal - "The Truth Shall Set You Free"

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