Stupid Country Lyrics

As a member of the Advisory Board of the Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Association, I’m proud to say that none of our Honorees are on this list.  I have a feeling this list will certainly grow, since they’re asking for readers’ contributions.  Funny stuff, some of this.

Ryan Young

Don’t miss this one.  Some of you know Ryan as the incredible guitar player/singer/songwriter/frontman for the Ryan Young Band, and some of you know him as the kind, generous, thoughtful teacher to your preschooler or guitar student.  Either way, he’s very good at what he does and is a decent guy with a big heart, lots of talent and no ego.  Well, he has made a new album and will release it this Saturday night at Joe Ables’ Saxon Pub as the headliner, following Guy Forsyth and the Greezy Wheels.  As an early-to-bed, early-to-rise sort of guy, it’s going to be tough on me, but I’m going to do my best to be there.  Probably with a camera or two.  He’ll have his new CDs there…remember this?)


AUSTIN, TEXAS – JAN 1, 2010  (From Market Reports) So that’s the total number of views this ol’ blog got in 2009.  Slightly lower than the street anticipated, but up almost 10% from the 2008 numbers.  Concern for the future of the blog as a business?  Not so, says one officer of the company.  “Since Carlton Wade Photography’s blog has no revenue and incurs no expenses, we feel the health of the company is sound, and future growth looks promising, especially in terms of profit and loss.”  He went on to add, “Carlton Wade Photography’s blog is a dynamic media outlet, and the operations team can change fonts, colors, add photos and even ‘hyperlinks’ to it’s UI (user interface).  We’re excited about what 2010 will bring in terms of new visitors, possibly even some from outside of Austin (Texas).”

The real spirit of Christmas

Now that my kids are 6 and 4, I’ve begun to try to sell them on the very real fact that giving really is better than getting.  I’m reminded of this all the time, but especially around Christmas.  This belief may not hold true for some of you, and it certainly doesn’t for a six year-old with a bunch of friends who talk about nothing but what they’ve got and what they’re getting.  I get it.  I used to be one.  But, I suppose the older I get, the more this matters.  My father, pictured here a couple of years ago with my daughter, embodies the spirit of giving more than anyone I know.

We’ve all got issues with family, and lots of times those issues get in the way of spending holiday time together.  My family is definitely not immune to such issues, but we get by okay.  But this Christmas, I realized one special trait about my father.  He is a giver.

For the last few holidays (Thanksgiving and/or Christmas), my wife and I have had problems traveling to my hometown to celebrate with my side of the family.  Her side of the family gathers for Christmas, but Thanksgiving isn’t as big a deal.  Both are big deals on my side.  Coat and tie, silver and linen, waiters, the whole Southern bit.  It’s a show more than anything else, but it’s a family ritual, and its meaning and lineage have been burned into me so much that I now crave it.  Nothing against Luby’s, but if I never have to dig those disgusting side dishes out of cardboard containers again, I’ll be just fine.

Last Christmas, when we couldn’t make it to Thanksgiving, my father told me to “stay in Austin with your family this Christmas.  The kids will get to wake up and open their gifts at home, and y’all can come see us sometime after New Year’s, when things sort of quiet down.”  We did just that, and it was the best Christmas I can remember.  Watching my kids make cookies for Santa, fake being nice to each other, want to go to bed at 5pm on Christmas Eve and waking up at 2am and begging for three hours to go out to the living room and me finally caving and trying to video the whole thing on two hours’ sleep.  It was all more than I’d hoped for.

This year, we stayed home for Thanksgiving and are doing the same for Christmas.  My father again advised me to “stay there with your family,” and it was only today that I realized that his gift to me of “stay with your family instead of packing them up and driving nine hours and repacking and driving back and all that” is the greatest gift I can receive at this point in my life.  He is giving me the gift of irreplaceable moments with my own children, instead of a bunch of guilt about not being there with him and my mother.

And for that, I’ll forever be grateful.  My parents have given me far more than I ever deserve.  Support, material things, love, good advice, guidance and understanding.  I’ll never be able to repay them, and even if they read this, they’ll never know how much I cherish, value and appreciate their gifts.

It’s Christmas Eve, and while my kids climb all over me as I write this (and cook the turkey and assemble toys and mediate tantrums and everything else that goes along with parenthood), I wish you nothing less than what I’ve been given.  I have one wish this cold winter night, and it’s that my kids will one day think of me, just for a second, like I think of my parents right now.

Merry Christmas.

Michael Dell: Who’s Tiger Woods?

Playing in a tournament a few years ago, I heard a story about Tiger Woods and Michael Dell.  When Tiger was ready to turn pro, 12 years ago or so, he made a list of companies he wanted to be his sponsors, and I suppose his agent went to work, shopping Tiger’s shirt sleeves and cap and golf bag and whatever else out to corporate America.  Since Tiger had been a Dell user in high school and college, he wanted Dell to be his major sponsor, mainly on his golf bag. He was asking for $2 million.  Word has it that since Michael Dell was not a golfer and had no idea who Tiger Woods was, he laughed at the thought of spending a couple of million branding dollars on an unproven golfer.  A few years later, Dell claimed “it was the biggest marketing mistake I ever made.”

Doubtful he feels that way today.

Tiger reaches new low

Shameful as this whole thing has been for Eldrick, I can’t believe no one’s talking about this.  Sure, he strayed from his arranged marriage and has “let everyone down” (all you hypocrites), but to me, this is the most selfish, heartless, brutal thing he has done so far:  He makes his mama fly commercial. WTF?  You think Shaq’s mama has ever seen the inside of the terminal at LAX?


This one is for you young husbands.  After years of having my wife asking me to “retouch” perfectly beautiful photos of her and the kids (but never me), I finally get it.  A woman’s job is to CREATE UNCERTAINTY.  This revelation is a huge springboard to carrying me through a happy middle-agehood and beyond.  I’ll explain.

When I see a photo of my wife, I see her beautiful face, happy smile and age-defying skin, but she sees something else and knows Photoshop exists.  In the past, I said how I didn’t see anything wrong with the photo and told her how great she looked, which she took as the beginning of an argument.  When I see a photo of my kids, I prefer dirt and stains and messed-up hair and all the realities of what kids look like.  Pictures of clean, stainless, smiling, well-dressed, perfectly coiffed kids give me the creeps.

But remember, fellas, the goal here for women is to CREATE UNCERTAINTY.  So you go ahead and clean the chocolate off the kids’ faces (you know, the M&M bribe you had to make just to get them to put on that sailor suit), take an imperceptible laugh line off your wife’s face, add a little hair to cover her ear, whiten teeth, whatever.  Just do it. (If you’re a real pro, you’ll do it happily and not grumble things like “I can’t believe you think this is better” or “Jesus H” between mouse clicks.

When the photo goes out, the other women will study it.  You heard me.  Women look at photos of other women and their families and HERE’S WHERE YOUR PHOTOSHOP WORK PAYS OFF.  You have created uncertainty in the minds of the other women.  They all know about retouching and Photoshop, but none of them have the balls to call and say, “Okay bitch, I see you your beautiful family here, and I may not have seen you down at Westbank Dermatology, but I do know that you don’t look like this, so WTF is going on here?” Goal set, goal achieved.  Uncertainty.  It really is a victimless crime, and I’m a better man for knowing about it.

And if you DON’T do the Photoshop work your wife asks, the other women will see EXACTLY what you were supposed to fix and take huge amounts of joy in the fact their “friend” looks older than them and her kids aren’t cared for as well.  They’ll even call her and use “the tone” that all women know and say “I got your card today and it’s SOOOOO cute,” which will begin a completely new argument, one you didn’t even see coming.

So do yourself a favor this Holiday season and learn from ol’ CW here.  And if you don’t know Photoshop and find yourself in this situation, send me your photo and I’ll fix it for you.  After all these years, you don’t even have to explain what you want done.  I’ve seen it all, and I have a Masters in the Business of Uncertainty.

I wasted a good title

“Holy…”  <— that should’ve been the title of this post.  Guess what the following people all have in common: Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Glenn Beck, Tyler Perry, Kate Gosselin, Adam Lambert, Sarah Palin, Brett Favre, Jenny Sanford and Michael Jackson’s kids.

If you don’t know, I applaud you.  Now that I know, I need a shower.

Barbara Walters has picked this group as her “Most Fascinating People of 2009.”  WTF?  God help the USA.  I sure hope there are some medical researchers and innovative educators and crisis survivors out there somewhere who have ACTUAL stories worthy of fascination.


So I went out and dug up the shots I’ve posted here on this blog over the last couple of years and found which ones were clicked the most, along with a few that Google ranks the highest when searching for things I think are necessary to find me.  If this is the collection of what represents me as a photographer, I’ve got some work to do.  My tagline for the coming year:  “Shoot More Skin in 2010.”

Allen Shamblin, Texas Songwriter

If you listen to country music, you’ll soon hear Miranda Lambert singing this.  It was written by Texas Songwriter Hall of Famer Allen Shamblin.  Here he is singing it at a pickin’ party in his current home of Franklin, Tennessee.