The Legal Schnauzer has been "curled up on the rug," eating holiday leftovers and generally chilling for a few days.
It hasn't been a total chillfest though. As a University of Missouri grad, I was perched in front of the television last night as the Tigers defeated the Kansas Jayhawks to move into the Big 12 championship game. Folks are even talking about Mizzou as a national-championship contender.
I've lived in Alabama for almost 30 years now, and never thought I would see the day when Alabama and Auburn were heading to so-so bowls (the Tide might not go at all), while once-lowly Mizzou is in the national-title hunt.
Time to get back to the blog, and what better way to do it than to touch base with the "Soul Patrol," the Taylor Hicks fans who have joined us here when we've posted periodically about Birmingham's American Idol and his ties to Hoover High School athletics.
Hicks fans might want to check out an article by Courtney Haden in a recent issue of Birmingham Weekly, one of our fair city's alternative papers. Haden notes that it has been almost 40 years since the great soul singer Otis Redding died in a plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin.
Redding, of course, was one of Hicks' musical idols, and Haden provides an excellent retrospective of the "Big O's" career. It's a career that might never have started if not for Georgia guitar player Johnny Jenkins, who invited Redding to sit in with his band. Jenkins was to record at Stax Records in Memphis, and Redding was along mainly as a driver. But there was studio time left over, and Redding used it to cut one of his own tunes, which turned out to be his first chart single, "These Arms of Mine."
Haden notes that Redding sharpened his songwriting skills, and his albums and singles sold well. But they did not sell like the crossover material coming out of Motown. Could that be another connection for Hicks, whose debut album has not generated the kind of chart success as fellow Idols Chris Daughtry and Carrie Underwood?
Hicks has said several times that he wants to be a career artist, not a "here today, gone tomorrow" sort.
Courtney Haden says Otis Redding's impact lives on, 40 years after his death. One has to think that Redding, a Georgia native, would have enjoyed seeing a fellow Southerner turn the nation on to blue-eyed soul.
"How would the Big O have evolved had he lived?" Haden writes. "What marvelous fusions of city and country could he have contrived? Of course there's no telling, but 40 years after his passing, with comparatively few Otis Redding recording extant to tide us over, it doesn't hurt to wonder."