Arch, Point and Shoot

Alan Haynes cranking out the Blues at the Big Easy Social Club. Houston, Texas.

Alan Haynes cranking out the Blues at the Big Easy Social Club. Houston, Texas.

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Jimmy LaFave ‘Lagniappe’

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Jimmy LaFave at Houston’s Mucky Duck. Oct 25, 2014

Lagniappe (/ˈlænjæp/ lan-yap) is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen), or more broadly, “something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure.

Lagniappe. That’s what we got from Jimmy LaFave at his recent show at Houston’ Mucky Duck. We went to see Jimmy and thoroughly enjoyed his lyrics and songs.  Austin based singer/songwriter Jimmy LaFave gently took us through his engaging collection of tunes about love, heartache, desire and loss, throwing in a few of his favorite Dylan classics too.  It was a treat to see another Texas (Oklahoma transplanted) legend.

However, if Jimmy ever reads this review, he may not be so pleased to read that my recollection of that night wasn’t filled mostly with Jimmy’s performance but rather, his backing guitar player Anthony Da Costa (http://anthonydacostamusic.tumblr.com).

Anthony Da Costa

Anthony Da Costa

At first, I thought he was just a geeky kid that was snagged to help out with a traveling band.  Turns out, this kid was astonishing – herky-jerky, twitchy and weird as he was.

Anthony Da Costa, according to his website bio, is ..” a 23-year-old singer/songwriter originally from New York, now living in Austin, TX. In 2009, Anthony was named an MSNBC.com “Top 5 Up-&-Coming Young Singer” and a “WFUV-FM New Artist To Watch”. In 2014, he was named one of Acoustic Guitar Magazine’s “Top 30 Guitarists Under 30.”  He’s quite a singer/songwriter himself with lots of time with his own folk bands.

This kid worked his guitar magic without ever overpowering Jimmy, merely taking his guitar solos and mesmerizing us with his alternate rhythms, volume control notes that developed and dissolved, slides, fading and hanging notes and lightning speed arpeggios that usually drew a round of applause from the appreciative crowd around us.  Okay, to be honest, he stole the freakin’ show!

He was Joe Cocker in spasms.  Scrunched up faces, bent-over, squatting and arched back in the middle of an acoustic love song solo.  He was alternative, funky, dreamy, bluesy and …he was totally fresh, original and genuine.  He played his heart out and his guitar sang out from within him.  It was exciting!  I rushed to get his name right after the show because he was that good.  Because he deserves to be listened to. Because he’s on his way up and I got to see him as he was ascending!

To be fair, let me throw it back to Jimmy LaFave again.  For whatever his reasons may have been in bringing Anthony Da Costa with him, Jimmy recognized that including top talent helps make him better too.  It was true humility and respect for his music that Jimmy let Anthony join him.  He wasn’t afraid to be overshadowed or overlooked but instead, generously let an emerging musician share his stage.  For that, I admire and applaud Jimmy LaFave because Jimmy’s music was made even better by graciously including a top, new musician.  Rock on, Jimmy!  Thanks for the lagniappe in the form of the fascinating Anthony Da Costa.

I couldn’t find a video of Anthony doing his magic on electric guitar, but here’s an acoustic introduction to a fella to keep your eye on.

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Tom

Tom, with Allan Haynes on guitar

Tom, with Alan Haynes on guitar

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Lost Golf Balls

LostGolfBalls

My grandson had his 10th birthday last week. He loves to golf and just like any of us stubborn golfers, he spends lots of time trying to hit balls across water hazards. That means he goes through lots of balls real fast.  So I thought a perfect gift would be a whole bunch of used golf balls.

I used to get them for myself at a local driving range but it recently shut down. I Googled ‘used golf balls’ in my area and to my surprise, I hit the jackpot!

Have you heard of this place yet – LostGolfBalls.com ?  It turns out the warehouse is located right here in Sugar Land, Texas less than 3 miles from my house.

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Bags and bags of golf balls everywhere!

I found the place in a business park and was totally flabbergasted at the business these guys are running.  Thousands and thousands of golf balls are stacked, sorted, boxed and then shipped all over the world.  They’ve made an amazing business out of recovering golf balls, cleaning then, sorting them and sending them out to golfers who want balls that are in mint condition but at less than half the original price.

Sorting, stacking and shipping stations

Sorting, stacking and shipping stations

There must have been 20 people working diligently at that process.  The most impressive was the sorting stations where all the types of balls are sorted and shoved into various holes, roll down tubes and are gathered in big plastic milk crates.  I just couldn’t get over how many golf balls were in this place.  And they’re all the sought-after brands like Nike, Calloway, Titleist Pro V1…you name it, they have it.

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Loading up a sorting station

My favorites are the Nike Swoosh balls that range in price from $16 to $30 for a brand new dozen of them from the golf shop.  Here, at LostGolfBalls.com, a container of 50 Nike balls of the 1st or best quality (no marks, no scuffs, almost brand new) go for about $30!  If I’d bought them new, they’d cost around $65!

I love it when innovative people figure out how to make a business out of something so simple yet so much in demand.  They’re giving customers what they want. Scuba divers scour the ponds at local golf courses and bring them back here for re-sale.  How awesome is that?!

Check out all the names on the sorting wall

Check out all the names on the sorting wall

I decided to get 50 of the 2nd quality balls for my grandson ( no scuffs, some ink marks) which cost $26.  Unbelievable!  I hated to give them away….but I did.  He loved them!

You can order on-line or stop by the store.  You’ll enjoy the experience.

 

 

 

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Love Birds

Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece

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Istanbul In October

Istanbul, Turkey from Galata Tower.

Istanbul, Turkey from Galata Tower.

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And A Binkie

City Bus. Santorini, Greece

City Bus. Santorini, Greece. Nikon D90

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