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San Antonio/Bongo Joe

I flew into San Antonio, Texas this evening, later than planned due to weather in Florida that affected my flight from RDU via Memphis somehow. My Delta flights got moved to Northwest, a partner airline. Armed with a brand-new used copy of Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung and a charged-up iPod, I flew with college basketball fans from the Bluff City to the finals of the NCAA tournament.

My own heart was heavy, aching from last night's spanking of the Tarheels by Kansas.

I tried watching the game but became horribly crushed about five minutes into the first half and turned off the television.

(Please bear in mind that I'm a Carolina fan that isn't of the rabid variety. I don't watch a lot of their games, and the ones I see are usually incomplete. But Tarheel basketball is as close as any of my friends come to seeing me as having some diluted form of a regular guy's understanding and love of sports.)

Curiosity and, dammit, hope made me flip the set back on with about five minutes to go. Right when the 'heels had pulled within four points. Then it spun out of control again, and Kansas won.

I've spent the past twenty-four hours doing all the 'ah, well, they had a great season' and 'ah, well, they won the ACC tournament' kind of bullshit you have to do when your team loses like that. Hell, even Roy Williams somewhat discounted the conference tournament's value lately.

So it is bullshit. They lost.

They don't get to play Memphis tomorrow when we're playing outside in the parking lot. How about that angle, then? Now it doesn't feel so weird to be playing so close to the championship game that we can't attend, since there's no Carolina playing inside. Does that feel better? Um, no. I'm proud of everything the team accomplished this year, but I'm still so distraught about the way the game went, it'd take winning the lottery to take the hurt away.

It would've been nice to have cruised into town with a stake in the finals, but here I am anyway so I'll just enjoy the music and breakfast tomorrow, and maybe I'll buy some PowerBall tickets, too.


An old friend (from Memphis, no less) came here once, and, when visiting the Alamo, had the unique experience of hearing George "Bongo Joe" Coleman. Coleman, who died in 1999, was a street performer who whistled, sang and beat on oil drums with maraca-like mallets of his own construction. His songs defy description--the rhythm is alluring and meaty, the stories odd but entertaining as hell, and the whistling like a human thrush. He played Jazzfest in New Orleans nine times.

I wish I'd seen him, but I'm glad my friend did. I think we both probably still take every opportunity to point people toward Bongo Joe, his album for Arhoolie.

As I've noted before, I don't do mp3's on this site, but you can hear samples at eMusic, which will make you want to buy the album immediately.


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