blues/country/swamp rock recording artist, opera singer, nashville princess, hedonist, lush, and culture junkie.

"The Mermaid" - Shel Silverstein

When I was a lad in a fishing town, an old man said to me,
"You can spend your life, your jolly life, a-sailing on the sea.
You can search the world for pretty girls ‘til your eyes grow weak and dim,
But don’t go swimmin’ with a mermaid, son, if you don’t know how to swim!
'Cause her hair is green as sea-weed,
Her lips are blue and pale.
I’ll tell you now before you start,
You can love that girl with all your heart,
But you’ll only love the upper part;
You will NOT like the tail!

I signed on to a whalin’ ship, and my very first day at sea,
I spied a mermaid in the waves, a-reachin’ out to me.
"Come live with me in the sea," said she, "and down on the ocean’s floor.
I’ll show you a million wond’rous sights you’ve never seen before!”
So I jumped on in and she pulled me down, down to her seaweed bed.
A pillow she made of tortoise shells, and placed beneath my head.
She fed me shrimp and caviar from a silvery dish.
She was just my taste (down to her waist), but the rest of her was fish!
Her hair was green as seaweed.
Her lips were blue and pale.
Her face it was a work of art,
But I only gave her half my heart,
'Cause tho I loved the upper part,
I did NOT like the tail!

And then one day when I looked up, I saw a sailin’ ship,
And I met the stare of a millionaire out on a fishing trip.
A diamond ring he tied on a string and lowered it down to her,
And my love divine, she went for the line and went for the usual lure!
So I sighed in the rolling tide, and I cried to the clams and the whales
How I missed her hair and her seagreen eyes; I missed the shine of her scales.
Just then her sister swam on by, and set my heart a-whirl —
For her upper part was an ugly old fish, but the bottom half was GIRL!
Her toes are round and rosey!
Her legs are slim and pale!
Her face might not be a work of art,
But I love that girl with all my heart.
And I don’t give a damn about the upper part —
That’s how I end my tale! (‘Cause now I’m getting tail!)


     Welcome to historic Launch Complex 26 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, the place that launched America’s absolute first venture into space. This complex operates two launch pads, 26A and 26B. On January 31, 1958 at 10:48 PM EST, our first satellite, Explorer 1, lifted from launch pad 26A, shown in the top two photos. The launch tower and platform are now gone, but some remnants and scorch marks remain. This place really started it all. Explorer 1 proved Wernher von Braun’s capabilities as a space engineer, and set him on a road that would lead humanity all the way to the moon.

     Standing in the cramped quarters of launch control gave a real feel for how raw and real everything was in those days. There were no digital systems involved whatsoever. The blockhouse was positioned 400 feet from the launch pad, because that was the maximum distance they could transmit a clean signal along a wire to the rocket systems. Each launch controller looked at a panel of analogue instruments and gauges for every individual system. Now, there are so many systems that software has to monitor all of it. We simply don’t have the manpower to watch each aspect, as the early launch controllers did.

     This launch complex reflects a time in which every launch was truly a gamble. The opportunity for complacency wasn’t there, because of the ratio of failures to successes. Every time you launched, you really didn’t know what would happen. The blockhouse that contains launch control has 2.5’ thick steel and concrete walls and a 7’ thick roof. The windows, one set facing directly toward 26A and the other facing 26B, are each 45 pane thick safety glass. This was to protect the launch control crew against a catastrophic failure, which happened frequently in those days. Speaking with a former launch controller, he said that a failure “really made a mess of the place.” Living through all of those failures must have made victory that much sweeter when we successfully launched Explorer 1. 

(via oldflorida)

The “Neighborhood” Sessions.  Station West Studio A, Nashville, TN.  Photos by Shanning Newell.