One Of These Days

Working for a living.

Tom Knudsen of The Doobie Brothers died yesterday. I listen to them now and then these days, but boy did the 1970s come flooding back. I lived in the Bay Area in those days. I went to college in San Jose. I lived in a neighborhood called The Rose Garden until I moved to the mountains and lived in Felton. That was a short trip to Santa Cruz, where there was all kinds of music. And, hippies. And, color. And, other stuff.

I liked The Catalyst, a small two story club. The Doobie Brothers hadn’t quite broken out yet so they played there. Tickets didn’t cost much so I went a lot, with friends, by myself, it didn’t matter. I saw some great musicians and listened to some amazing music.

The Doobies were one of them. Sometimes I sat in the balcony and looked down on them. Sometimes I wandered around the floor taking pictures. They got used to seeing me. I gave them prints — film days, remember — and in exchange they let me stand on the stage.

Remember what I once wrote about being generous with your pictures of your subjects. Without your subjects you don’t have any pictures.

That works. Sometimes, it really works.

I just read a great story about a guy who couldn’t bring a camera into a venue to take pictures of his favorite band. Instead, he threw a roll of film on the stage with a note attached to it. The band did what he asked. They loaded a camera with that roll and took pictures of each other. They had the film developed, printed and sent it back to him.

Isn’t that something?

That’s magic.

Anyway, RIP Tom. Thank you for the memories.

Meanwhile, the picture.

The location is a factory that manufactures I forget what. They are located in the Ninth Ward, but in a place that most people don’t think fo as the Ninth Ward. The neighborhood gets flooded with almost every big storm, but somehow the water flows around the factory.

Oh yeah. Now I remember what they make.


Remember, New Orleans is located in a large military zone. All five of the branches are here. Five? Yes, there is a big Coast Guard base on the West Bank.

Every now and then a freight train rolls through New Orleans and other suburban towns carrying tanks and armored personnel carriers and humvees. The usual subjects start posting things like, “Oh my God, the army is coming to take over New Orleans.” They do this Every. Damn. Time.

No, they aren’t.

New Orleans just isn’t worth the effort.

The military vehicles are being shipped down river to St. Bernard Parish where there is a company called FMC. There, the tanks and all the rest are either repaired, stored or scrapped. They do it in plain sight. You can see it from the road. Some of the Abrams main battle tanks are shot, burned and scarred. The technical term for this is shot to hell.

FMC also makes street sweepers and garbage trucks.

So it goes.



18 responses to “One Of These Days”

  1. allentimphotos2 Avatar

    College in San Jose. Might it be San Jose State? I was there from ’72-76. In the History dept then Instructional Technology dept. Who knows our paths may have crossed.


    1. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

      Yep. SJSU. I got there in 1974. I had a prior commitment to the US Army. Even though I was a combat vet — helo driver — since I was a freshman I had to live in the dorms. Waffle Tower. On the weekends I lived on TOGOS.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. allentimphotos2 Avatar

        Interesting!!! 66-70 Naval Air. Aviation Electrician. One tour off the coast of Nam. I was married and lived in Mountain View. I never saw the inside of a dorm room. After seeing my son’s dorm room at Berklee College of Music I can only image the stress of sharing it with 3 others


      2. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

        Somehow for a guy trying to avoid combat I flew over 4,000 combat hours on medevac missions. We only shared with one roommate and he was in SJSU’s aviation program so he enjoyed listening to flight stories but never combat stories. I was one of those pilots who leaned out my window and said to the ground XO, when he said the LZ was getting too hot and to go, “not until I have your wounded.”

        What does your son do in the music world?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. allentimphotos2 Avatar

        That’s a lot of combat hours. A time behind us but not soon forgotten.
        He graduated with a dual degree in performance and composition. His main instrument was trombone. He stayed in Boston and tried to get gigs and formed a few bands. For the last 10 years he has been running his own computer company Red5Pro, Real-Time Streaming Video Apps. Here is a link to the site.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

        Yeah. We broke every flight time rule that we could. I’m pretty sure the wounded we brought home didn’t mind.

        Music is a tough way to earn a living, especially now when the only two ways for a musician to make money is by touring and with merch. Your son should have made his way down to New Orleans where brass is king. I’ll check out his company after I hit send.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

        I finally looked at your son’s business. I had to learn some technical terms and tried to think about how e could apply it. There is a company called Nugs that streams live concerts. Their system is apparently too dense because it drops and you have to reboot it. We watch it when we can’t be at a concert. But, as musical miss says, a good show is a collaboration between the musician and their fans. Solve that remotely and you’ve got something.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. allentimphotos2 Avatar

        I’ll mention this to my son. If you have some examples of what companies are using Nugs then I can pass that on to him as prospects. Thank you.


      7. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

        Tim, streams musical acts like Pearl Jam, Dead and Company, Metallica, Bruce Springsteen, Santa and Wilco among many others. The way to get to these folks is through their management or through their record labels. There appears to be some pretty good money in this since touring is expensive and so too are ticket prices. For instance, The Dead and Company is mostly what remains of the Grateful Dead. Their fans used to tour with them by following from show to show. It’s too expensive now, so they tour with them from their couch via NUGS.

        If you’re serious I can help with Blue Note and Capitol Records. I could help with Norah Jones, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Puss n Boots ( a NJ side project) and a band who are a heavy touring act, but I can’t say who yet. Still, the real issue is the fan-musician interaction. It sorta worked during lockdown when MCC played from her kitchen every Sunday via Instagram and NOJO played from the music room on Thursday via Facebook. Fans could comment, make song requests and often both of them would reply. But, they still couldn’t applaud and dance land like that.

        I suppose that’s why I suggest talking to record labels who have the wherewithal to really make something like this work.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. allentimphotos2 Avatar

        I sent your message to my son and asked him to follow up with me. He tends to ignore messaging on the weekends but should get back to me.
        Thank you for your suggestions and offer to help.


      9. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

        My pleasure. After a very long summer, we are mostly just hanging out and getting to know our new land.


      10. allentimphotos2 Avatar

        Ray, I did hear from my son and he would like to contact you. I sent him your Storyteller website that has your contact information. However, I wanted to be sure that it was okay for him to contact you. Please let me know.


      11. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

        That’s fine. or 505.280.4686 (Left over New Mexico number from Katrina)

        What’s his name please? if he calls me, his number too. I won’t bother him, but I often don’t reply to numbers that I don’t know. Or, rather, that my phone doesn’t know.


      12. allentimphotos2 Avatar

        That’s great, I just sent both of you an email. I think that should work. I’ll also let him know. If he calls his mobileBoston area code is 617 and prefix is 429.


      13. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

        That’s perfect.

        Normally Sunday is quiet, but I’m up tonight because we leave for Japan for 8 shows over 12 days in a couple of weeks so I have to stir up the promoters in Japan.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. allentimphotos2 Avatar

        You are busy. I’ll let him know. Again, thank you.


      15. Ray Laskowitz Avatar

        Not that busy yet/ As I said to someone who asked me how I manage my stress during tour time, I replied I don’t have any stress because I pass it along and make my stress their stress. 🙂

        My pleasure. One of the things people like me do is stir up trouble wherever and whenever we can. Heh.


        Liked by 1 person

      16. allentimphotos2 Avatar

        Sorry, his name is Chris Allen


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