# Sunday, April 2, 2017

Today I am grateful for an opportunity to finally offer a long-overdue apology. And that it was accepted.

Today I am grateful that everything on the Internet is true!

Today I am grateful for lunch with Dan yesterday.

Today I am grateful to reconnect with old friends and to meet some new ones in Indianapolis yesterday.

Today I am grateful to spend yesterday with Ted.

Today I am grateful that we were close to a gas station when we ran out of gas.

Today I am grateful for drinks with Mike last night.

Today I am grateful to the organizers and volunteers at yesterday's Global Integration Boot Camp.

Today I am grateful to kick off a new project with a local startup.

Today I am grateful to see Al Stewart in concert last night and to meet him after the show.

Today I am grateful to see Kris Kristofferson in concert last night.

Today I am grateful that some people want to hear me talk.

Today I am grateful for the vibrant startup community in Chicago.

Today I am grateful for springtime.

Today I am grateful that Tim came to visit me this weekend.

Today I am grateful for a couple days back in Kentucky.

Today I am grateful for dinner with Ed last night in Louisville.

Today I am grateful for dinner last night with Mike and Lee.

Today I am grateful for:
-Attendees who told me they enjoyed the IoT camp last night
-New running shoes, thanks to Nick

Today I am grateful I can work from home when I need to.

Today I am grateful to Bret for his help getting me through these IoT labs on a Sunday night.

Today I am grateful for dinner and a movie last night with Emilija and Larissa.

Today I am grateful to see Delbert McClinton in concert last night.

Today I am grateful for an evening with my team at Second City yesterday.

Today I am grateful for breakfast with Angela yesterday.

Today I am grateful to see Marcia Ball in concert last night and to meet her after the show.

Today I am grateful for lunch with Hao yesterday.

Today I am grateful to all those who chose to listen to my presentation on a Sunday afternoon, even though the weather was nice and they had other options.

Sunday, April 2, 2017 12:34:28 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Phèdre nó Delaunay was a woman of extraordinary beauty, born with a single flaw - a speck of red in one of her eyes. At first, society shuns Phèdre for this imperfection; but a nobleman recognizes the red moat as a sign from the fallen angel Kushiel that Phèdre was born with special talents. He buys her and begins her training to put those talents to use.

It turns out that her talents are to be really good in bed and the ability to derive sexual pleasure from pain. Her training prepares her to become a high-priced prostitute to be passed around among the court nobles. It seems a harsh fate, but in the land of Terre D'Ange, where Phèdre lives, casual sex is the norm. The people of Terre D'Ange live by the motto "Love as thou wilt" and Phèdre is devoted to her master and sees her sexual romps as a tribute to her god.

Everything is great until her master is murdered and Phèdre is captured by Vikings, who carry her off and make a sex slave of her. She is still turned on by their cruelty, but at least she feels bad about that.

Jacqueline Carey's first novel Kushiel's Dart weaves a story of political intrigue and sex. Lots of sex. Mostly S&M sex.

Carey creates a world much like early Renaissance Europe and follows the upper class of a city founded by the demigod Elua and a group of fallen angels. The current residents of Terre D'Ange are the descendants of those angels.

The story doesn't get going until the murder/kidnapping and the escape and recapture and war that follow, but it takes nearly 500 pages to get that far. Until that point, it's aristocrats flirting and spying and backstabbing and having sex.

It's supposed to be a high fantasy novel but reads more like a sex fantasy novella. Even though Terre d'Ange was founded by fallen angels and demigods, we get only a couple brief encounters with supernatural beings and those don't occur until about two-thirds of the way through the novel.

I liked the interweaving political plots of Kushiel's Dart. But I grew weary of the frequent sexual exploits. It was meant to be a High Fantasy novel, but at times reads like a sex fantasy novella. In this day and age, I can get my soft-core pornography too easily to be aroused by throwing in a bondage scene every few pages of a novel.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017 1:27:00 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Monday, March 27, 2017
Monday, March 27, 2017 11:58:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Sunday, March 26, 2017

AlStewart2017I was 16 years old when I got my first real job. The day I received my first real paycheck, I drove from work to the bank to local record store and bought Al Stewart's Year of the Cat LP. I took it home and played it repeatedly, memorizing every word of every song on both sides.

Nearly 4 decades later, I finally had a chance to see Al Stewart live - Thursday evening at the City Winery. And here's the kicker: He played the entire Year of the Cat album! Every song, in the same order as on the album. It was like getting a visit from an old friend. The concert transported me back to my teen years, listening to my LP on my parent's Wi-Fi at top volume in the family basement.

In between each song, Stewart explained something about the song's meaning or told a story of its origin. He was surprised that a song about the Rhodesian civil war (On the Border) would become a top 40 hit; All airplane metaphors in Flying Sorcery are about the ending of a relationship; Broadway Hotel often inspires each audience member to attempt to seduce the attractive stranger next to him or her.

Stewart was backed by the local Chicago band Empty Pockets, which also opened the show with a short set of their own. They were joined by Marc Macisso on flute, harmonica and saxophone - most notably saxophone which he wielded with power and passion.

AlStwesart and Me The band played a few songs before and after the complete Year of the Cat set, including his other hit Time Passages. But it was the re-playing of the album that we all came to hear. And that we all enjoyed.

More photos of this concert

Sunday, March 26, 2017 5:14:35 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
# Saturday, March 25, 2017

KrisKristoffersonI took a chance. The show had been sold out for over a month. But I drove to the City Winery in the West Loop anyway. And I was rewarded with a ticket close to the stage. And I was not disappointed.

Kristofferson played for 2 hours with a very brief (maybe 10 minutes?) intermission. He played

He didn't bring a band. Just himself and his guitar and harmonica. It was enough.

At 80 years old, Kris Kristofferson still carries an impressive stage presence. There were a few missed notes on his guitar, and a few missed high or low notes in his vocal range, but his wit and charm more than made up for any shortcomings brought on by his age.

For Kristofferson, it has never been about his singing or his playing. It was always about his music and his storytelling. And he captivated a packed house Wednesday night on stage. He sang love songs and drinking songs and ballads and each one struck the audience as if the story were written and sang only for each of us.

My only complaint is that he apologized too much for any lapses in his musical technique. The audience didn't care. They wanted to hear him sing his stories.

And he did.

And I'm glad I was there to see and hear it.

Photos of the concert

Saturday, March 25, 2017 4:52:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, March 20, 2017
Monday, March 20, 2017 11:32:00 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Monday, March 13, 2017
Monday, March 13, 2017 12:17:00 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Sunday, March 12, 2017

DelbertMcClintonDelbert McClinton has recorded dozens of albums over the past 45 years, but it was always his live shows that brought him the most praise.

Friday night, McClinton brought that live performance to S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston. For over 2 hours, he entertained a packed room with a mix of originals and cover songs.

McClinton has a devoted audience and all night long this crowd shouted requests and sang along to lyrics they had memorized.

Now, in his 70s, McClinton still has the powerful, gritty voice that made him the ultimate Texas roadhouse singer. What he has lost in range he makes up for with emotion.

For this show, Delbert's only instruments were his voice and his harmonicas. But he was backed by an outstanding 7-piece band, highlighted by Bob Britt on guitar, Kevin McKendree on keyboards, Dana Robbins on saxophone, and Quentin Ware on trumpet. This was a group of top-notch musicians who complemented one another very well. Instead of an intermission, Delbert stepped off the stage for 10-15 minutes in the middle of the show and allowed his band to play a trio of songs without him.

Delbert McClinton is often cited as the definitive Texas roadhouse musician. And Friday, he showed us why. Powerful vocals, a tight band, and a connection with the audience in an intimate venue made me glad I finally saw him live after listening to his recordings for years.

Sunday, March 12, 2017 7:55:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Thursday, March 9, 2017

MarciaBallBandMarcia Ball rocks. Her songs rock. Her band rocks.

And Tuesday night in Chicago, she and her quintet rocked the City Winery in Chicago's West Loop. For over 2 hours, she played her Texas mix of stride piano, boogie-woogie, rockabilly, and the blues. Lots of blues

Ball showed off a powerful voice that could not possibly come out of his tall, slender woman. But even more impressive were her keyboard skills. When she sits at a piano, she owns it. Her band wasn't far behind, led by excellent guitarist Mike Schermer and outstanding saxophonist Eric Bernhardt. Each stepped to the front frequently for skillful solos.

MarciaAndDavid Ball sang mostly originals from throughout her long career and from her latest album – The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man; but she mixed in a few cover songs, such as Randy Newman's Louisiana 1927 and Frankie Ford's Sea Cruise.

This was the last night of a long tour before she and her band head home; but they brought energy that night and the crowd fed off it.

If you get a chance, go see Marcia Bell. You will not regret it.

Thursday, March 9, 2017 5:40:57 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
# Tuesday, March 7, 2017

20170304_214526In the 1960s Booker T and the MGs pioneered the Memphis Soul sound, recording numerous hit records. In the decades since, Booker T. Jones has recorded and produced countless records with the likes of Neil Young, Drive-By Truckers, Ray Charles, and Albert King.

Today, Booker T is in his 70s and still going strong.

I had the pleasure of seeing his current band at S.P.A.C.E. in Evanston. Although not a long show (about 80 minutes total), he delighted the crowd with a top-notch performance by him and his band.

Of course, they played the hits of the MGs, such as Hip-Hug-Her, Hang ‘em High, Soul Limbo, and their first and biggest hit Green Onions; And they played music he is associated with, such as Born Under a Bad Sign, which he co-wrote for Albert King, and Grandma's Hands, which he produced for Bill Withers; but they also performed a number of cover songs, spanning genres from Outkast's hip-hop hit Hey Ya to Muddy Waters's blues classic Mannish Boy.

I was surprised to see Jones step out from behind his signature organ and play some songs on guitar and perform lead vocals on some.

Jones's band - a quartet of drums, guitar, bass, and organ - is highlighted by his son Ted on guitar. Ted has an engaging stage presence and is a solid musician like his father. Booker and Ted performed a moving rendition of Prince's Purple Rain together as the other 2 band members left the stage.

Booker T Jones has received numerous honors throughout his career. He has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy and is a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

And Saturday night in Evanston, I finally got to see him perform live.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 10:25:43 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)