Here’s a little tip I would like to relate, big fish bites if ya’ got good bait…

They’re called stockfish, and for centuries this was mostly what Norway had to trade with the rest of the world.  These guys were hanging around on our tour of the Hanseatic Museum in Bergen.  The Hanseatic League (we were told by our comely German tour guide) was an organization of German merchants who set up enclaves in mostly Northern European cities to serve as trading outposts.  They had a pretty good deal going there while it lasted, though required to live a bachelor existence, embrace celibacy, and endure a number of other restrictions of the “no more fun of any kind” variety that were popular in the Middle Ages.  The game plan was to go abroad, get rich buying from and selling to the locals, and then hand off the business to the next Hansa and go home to live happily ever after in the big house with the good German girl and raise the next generation.  They prospered for several hundred years following this formula, but you know what happens to all good things in the end.   My title comes from a song by the great blues musician Taj Mahal…if you like the blues at all and aren’t familiar with his work, get with the program!  (16 August, 2011  Bergen, Norway)   

I’ll be sittin’ when the evening comes…

While Otis Redding left behind a lot of music, most folks know him for Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay.  It’s rare that I don’t think of that song if I’m near the water at sunrise or sunset…the combination of a space in time, slapping waves, and that low angle of the sun just cries for contemplation with backing blues.  Otis wrote the song with the great guitarist, songwriter and producer Steve Cropper (Booker T & the MGs) and recorded it three days before a plane crash took him in Lake Monona, near Madison, Wisconsin.  It was his first and only Number One single, and it was never supposed to be released because it wasn’t a finished cut.  When Otis whistles the last verse at the end of the song, he did so because the last verse wasn’t written yet…his whistle was just a placeholder until they could come back and “do it right”.  Thanks Otis, I think what you left us works just fine.  Oh, and if you don’t know Otis very well, could I suggest Try A Little Tenderness and I’ve Been Loving You Too Long…you might have heard of those too.  The image below was shot at the old Brygge on a lovely evening with friends in Bergen, Norway.  (16 August, 2011  Bergen, Norway)