28 September 2007

Fight for your right to walk, don't run, Hot Stuff

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has just announced its potential inductees. Here's the story. Wanna feel old? Check out who's hanging out with the Dave Clark Five and The Ventures. Yep, that's Madonna, Mellencamp and the Beastie Boys. Ugh.

They'll induct five of the nine on the list. So who do you think are most worthy?:

Which Hall of Fame nominees should be inducted? (Pick 5)
Donna Summer
The Dave Clark Five
The Ventures
John Mellencamp
Afrikaa Bambaataa
Leonard Cohen
The Beastie Boys
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Separated at birth?

We had a press kit on Clint Black -- who's performing at the RiverCenter on Oct. 12 -- laying around the office. And glancing at his promo pick I noticed an uncanny resemblance...

Now, of course, they're both Texas cowboys. And Clint proved, with his little ditty called "Iraq and Roll," that he's maybe not the sharpest tack (sample lyric: "Iraq, I rack 'em up and I roll/I'm back, and I'm a hi-tech G.I. Joe"). So could his middle name actually be Dubya?

Oh, and here's where you can hear thoughtful, intelligent and non-jingoistic music about the war.

27 September 2007

Very strange...

Freak out! So last night I had a dream that I was watching TV news right after John Lennon was killed, and Paul McCartney was being interviewed, trying to explain The Beatles' impact to the clueless reporter. Meanwhile, Ringo Starr was noodling around on a guitar (???) behind him, and Sir Paul was frustrated that he couldn't hear the questions or speak over the noise. So he turns to around and says, "Do you mind, Ringo?"

I wake up, and Jenn had just woken up too. She says, "Man, I just had the coolest dream about Paul McCartney, and I didn't want to wake up." Her dream was different -- something about bumping into him at a coffee shop and chatting a bit -- but still...

There's no scientific study of this phenomenon, which is apparently called "simultaneous dreaming," but it was hellacool. I'm a little worried that when you Google the phrase, a bunch of psychobabble comes up, so I guess I'll just let it go and enjoy the experience.

26 September 2007

Cold beer. Hot rock. Expect no mercy

The War (Damn) Eagle Supper Club -- that's the venerable club's slogan in the headline -- hosts Cory Branan and the Avett Brothers in concert tonight. Branan will make a fan out of anyone who likes the wisecracking likes of Todd Snider or the Old 97's. The Avetts play intelligent pop-rock with twinges of both psychedelia and, uh, banjo. Imagine if The Band merged with "Sound Of Lies"-era Jayhawks. (Mmmmm.)

It's a $15 ticket and worth every penny. Showtime is 10:30 p.m. EDT. Get there early, before the PBR runs out, bitches.

*War Eagle Supper Club
*Cory Branan
*The Avett Brothers

"Because the angle of her cheek is the math of persuasion
First time you saw the ocean she's got tucked behind her knee
She is swallowing lightning, she is spittin' thunder
Waftin' California, reekin' Tennessee
She is waftin' California and reekin' Tennessee"
-- Cory Branan, "Miss Ferguson"

What would Perez do?

Ever since starting this blog, I've wrestled with where to draw lines over the content. Yeah, I posted something about Anna Nicole Smith's death, and about Owen Wilson's attempted suicide, but for the most part I've tried to avoid tabloid fare. Pop culture stuff is supposed to be fun, and celebrity gossip always just bums me out.

The Chicago Tribune's Steve Johnson, their Internet critic, nailed the reasons why in a great piece that ran Sunday. Nevertheless, TMZ and OMG! are immensely popular (as is the Ledger's own Sonya Sorich, who, to her credit, just coyly implies her posts' ties to celebrity -- often with just a photo).

Whatever. I'll plan to keep this place a haven for harmless -- er, mostly harmless -- fun. And sure, I linked to those horrible gossip sites above, for your convenience. But the one I'm really hoping you'll click on is the Tribune story...

25 September 2007

Dogged humor

Got this link from my buddy Kevin, who writes: "Now this would make for a heck of a blog post: A wholly unfunny comic, focusing on two of the most drab cartoon characters since Nancy and Sluggo, in Spanish."

I ran the dog's last line through Babelfish -- the high school espanol is a little rusty -- and it came out as, "I cannot clear the sound through him." Then I found the strip in English, here, and the alleged punchline is actually, "It's only a soundbite." Ugh.

Of course, "wholly unfunny" and "comic" have gone hand-in-hand since the demise of Calvin & Hobbes and The Far Side. Dilbert's the only thing that's of any interest to me these days, and it's spotty.

(Photo) Doctor Phil

Phil Wartena rocks. Not only did he create this trippy photo illustration of me, just for kicks, but he also pointed me to Animoto site for making hyper-cool photo slideshows. How does it compare to Microsoft's Photo Story 3? It's like "Pulp Fiction" compared to an episode of "Friends."

Here's a 30-second video I did with Animoto (yes, it's more Cambodia pics. So sue me. And included is a snap of the world's cutest dog, Chupuis). Animoto is free in 30-second blips, but costs money for full-length videos. But "Pulp Fiction" cost us money to see, too, remember?

Here's Wartena's photo blog. Check it out. And here's the Animoto site.

24 September 2007

A moment of silence...

Marcel Marceau
Rest In Peace (and Quiet)

You don't know us, you don't belong

The commercial was for some sort of a feminine hygiene product. I've blocked it out now. But what I couldn't block out was the song that this poppy, soft, girl group was singing in the background. It was that old heavy metal chestnut "We're Not Gonna Take It."

Got that? "We're Not Gonna Take It" has become the soundtrack for, like, maxi pads. Ugh. Granted, Dee Snider had purty hair and enough makeup to single-handedly keep L'Oreal afloat. That song was about rock 'n' roll rebellion and had nothing -- repeat, nothing -- to do with keeping Aunt Flo outta the house.


The twisted sisters responsible for this are apparently Australian twins called The Veronicas. We hate them, got it?

23 September 2007

Sunday Spins

Feeling mellow after a long day working on the bathroom yesterday (there's paint on the walls now!) and a couple of Saturday parties. Here's the CD shuffle lineup:

* Pete Droge & the Sinners, "Find A Door": I love the title track, in which Droge scolds someone with the basic sentiment of "you need a hobby." Then he suggests several: "You could rescue the shipwrecked; feed all the hungry kids." This was Pete's second record, and I think it's his best.

* Jonathan Richman, "Jonathan Sings": Well, what Jonathan does is more akin to talking than singing, but it's feel-good, hyper-childlike stuff that makes me smile. This record's from '83.

*Pretenders, "The Singles": I generally lean to Pat Benatar, when it comes to '80s women. But sometimes you need Chrissie Hynde's kick in the crotch. Lazy days like today, for instance.

* Kevn Kinney, "MacDougal Blues": The drivin' n' cryin' frontman's first solo record, released in 1990, was better than any of his band's albums up to that point. Well, except maybe "Mystery Road."

* Dramarama, "Vinyl": Great late-era album by these criminally underrated fellers. I love the scathing indictment of classic rock and AOR radio stations in the song "Classic Rot."

20 September 2007

Dirty Potter, Book 5

It's taken forever to weed down all the dirty bits in J.K. Rowling's fifth book -- 870 smutty pages, mind you -- to just these highlights. Or should I say lowlights. Even the name of the book is vaguely suggestive of puberty: "Harry Potter and the Odor of the Phoenix" indeed.

Now, it's been a few weeks since our last installment, so you might need to brush up (ahem) on what we've already covered:
* Book 1.
* Book 2.
* Book 3.
* Book 4.
And now onto the latest. The most incriminating naughtiness lies on:

Page 5: "Put -- it -- away!" Uncle Vernon snarled into Harry's ear. "Now! Before -- anyone -- sees!" ... "Get -- off-- me!" Harry gasped; for a few seconds they struggled, Harry pulling at his uncle's sausage-like fingers with his left hand, his right maintaining a firm grip on his raised wand.

Page 187: "Does it -- er -- do anything?" he asked. ... "Loads of stuff!" said Neville proudly.
followed, in the next 'graph, by:
"Ginny, who had flung her arms up in front of her face just in time, merely looked as though she was wearing a slimy green hat, but Harry ... received a face full. ... Neville, whose face and torso were also drenched, shook his head to get the worst out of his eyes."

Page 315: She turned away, leaving Professor Trelawney standing rooted to the spot, her chest heaving. Harry caught Ron's eye and knew that Ron was thinking exactly the same as he was.
(...and exactly what every burgeoning young man is thinking after reading the phrase "her chest heaving," I'll wager.)

Page 547: "We saw him," Hermione whispered. "He was in the bed opposite Lockhart's, just lying there, staring at the ceiling. And we saw the Devil's Snare arrive."
(Just what is this "Devil's Snare" that arrives to a boy lying in a bed, staring at the ceiling, hmm?)

And, mid-climax on Page 792: Harry fell to his knees beside her as Neville crawled rapidly toward her from under the desk, his wand held up in front of him.

Because it still makes me laugh...

19 September 2007


Had some color in my face last night, for the first time in days. And more importantly, I had an appetite. Jenn sweetly offers to make something with fresh vegetables, since all I'd been eating is rotisserie chicken and soup. I was craving something green.

She roasts some sliced tomatoes with parmesan cheese on top, cooks up some corn, and puts some broccoli in the oven to bake. Only she's doing the broccoli bit from memory instead of pulling out the recipe. ... We tried it after what she thought was the proper amount of time, and it was still crunchy. So back in the oven with it. Twenty minutes later, still crunchy. Back in the oven. Twenty more minutes later, it's uh, on the other side of crunchy now. Charred is the word, maybe. Singed a bit. I rinse down some of the powder. Jenn and I are both laughing, and she vows never again to cook a dish from memory on just the second try.

I'm eyeing a small browned floret on my plate. Next to me, Sidda (the beagle mix), is watching me, mouth agape. What the hay, right? I fling it at her, she gobbles it down, and I try to offer Jenn some encouragement with, "Sidda still thinks it's good."

And that's when Sidda hacked it up with the most ungodly sound I've ever heard. A close approximation: "KWEEHCCKKK!" She's a genius of comic timing, that dog.

"She's choppin' broccoli
She's choppin' brocco-LIE-hie."
-- Dana Carvey, "Choppin' Broccoli"

18 September 2007


Interesting piece in this month's Wired magazine, about how a leading experimental psychologist thinks our brains may be hardwired to curse -- even before we have basic language skills.

To quote: "Pinker believes cursing is rooted in a primordial part of our brains, which means f-bomb-like utterances are not unique to Homo sapiens."

So next time Mom tells you your mind's in the gutter, you can say, "God dammity damn. So's yours, maw. All that crap's been in our damn heads since before the fish hopped outta the mud. Psychologist Steven Pinker says so. So step off, beeyotch!"

OJ Simpson. What the hell...?

Seriously. What the hell? There's not much else to say, really.

(Here's what I'm talking about, if you've been living in a cave. I mean, I've practically been in a coma for the past three days, and I heard about it. Not that you should feel stupid or anything...)

17 September 2007

Spittle, phlegm, and the "Valley of Elah"

I'm down with a cold today -- have been all weekend actually -- so forgive me if I don't post anything of substance today. Anyway, I did see a pre-screening of "In the Valley of Elah" last week, and the paper today ran piece I wrote on the film. I really wanted to like it. Paul Haggis has done so much right in his past movies.

Roeper did like it, I saw in the wee hours yesterday morning. He's a dope.

Anywho, read the column here.

15 September 2007

Picture: Frames

Seldom do I issue out-and-out orders, but here's one to my Columbus readers: Go see the movie "Once." It's the Columbus Film Society's art house feature playing this week only through Thursday at the Peachtree 8.

It's billed as a musical and a romance. But that really does it a disservice, since it's unlike any musical I've ever seen. It's not trippy, a la "Moulin Rouge." It's more like a film accompanying an acoustic album by Irish indie act The Frames, and its utterly charming, whimsical and completely believable. Frames singer and chief songwriter, Glen Hansard -- you might remember him from "The Commitments" -- wrote nearly all the songs for the movie, along with partner Marketa Irglova. And both ended up starring in the movie in a rather roundabout way. Suffice to say that I thought Cillian Murphy was cooler than that.
(OK, does that not suffice? Then read about the backstory here. But there may be spoilers, so go watch the movie first.)

Anyway, I've been a Frames fan since Hansard went to SxSW in 2000. He couldn't afford to fly the whole band across the pond for their showcase, so he went solo and played acoustic. Hope he could afford the flight now...

14 September 2007

In need of some action

Yesterday, Sorich posted a list from Cosmo of 25 skills every man should know. I scored great -- 23 outta 25, bitches. But I apparently have to learn how to patch a radiator hose and clean a bolt-action rifle to get back in right with the Man Police.

Still, I'll take 23 out of 25, when the list includes stuff like "fix a dead outlet" (done) and "rescue a boater who has capsized" (also done, although in the interest of full disclosure, I should admit that the boater in question was myself, on a little Sunfish). Just don't go telling the po-po that I can bake a mean lasagna. I'm sure that's some violation of the guy code...

Here's the list, on the Walk of Shame.

12 September 2007

Ready for Redding

It's time to get up from that dock on the bay -- or Hooch, as the case may be. The Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon is about to open up an exhibit that should be worth the two-hour drive.

The exhibit is called "Otis Redding: I’ve Got Dreams To Remember," and its a collection of music, photos, film footage and other pieces documenting the life of the Dawson, Ga. man who died 40 years ago (at the age of 26, for god's sake, in a plane crash that also killed the Bar-Kays). It opens Friday and runs through Sept. 10. It kicks off with an 8 p.m. celebration Friday night at Macon City Auditorium, where the Macon Symphony Orchestra will join Dexter and Otis Redding III and other guests for a concert. Elevate yourself to Otis' site for details.

"And I know that it’s home because that’s where the stereo sings
'I’ve got dreams to remember.'
But not even home can be with you forever."
-- Okkervil River, "Listening to Otis Redding at
Home During Christmas"

11 September 2007

Park Place

There may be no such thing as "simple" geometry, but I've worked really hard to make this one simple. I've even made some diagrams to facilitate learning.

If you drive one of these...

... and you park in a parking garage, the end spaces are about the worst place you can park, in terms of making life miserable for people who drive, you know, cars or regular-sized trucks instead of land yachts. Here's a top view to illustrate the problem:

See how little space there is to get around you? Now, if you park in the middle of a row, non-behemoth sized vehicles can still get around you. It's still not easy, but it's do-able. Like so...

But I guess, if you were concerned about someone besides yourself, you wouldn't be driving something that can comfortably seat your entire family plus the Pitt/Jolie clan, when 90 percent of the time you're the only one inside your gas-drinking mobile planet. So don't be surprised if me and some friends leave you a little message in the garage tomorrow. See if you can decipher the code.

Oh, and your penis is small.

10 September 2007

Overtime at 'The Office'

"The Office" break is almost over, as Season Four of the sit-quasi-com debuts in a little better than two weeks. Say what you will about the demise of television as an art form, this show has been at the top of its game. (I'm still partial to the British one, which was darker and more mean-spirited. But it sadly ran only two seasons.)

Best of all, the Sept. 27 debut is an hour-long episode. And supposedly it'll be one hour for the first four weeks. Woo hoo!

While I'm pimping, here's an Office-themed solitaire game to while away the work hours. Uh, I mean, home hours. And Dwight has a pretty funny blog (Schrute Space!) over yonder.

09 September 2007

Sunday Spins

Dirty Potter the Sixth is coming soon, you pervs. Just hold tight. Meanwhile, here's what I threw in the changer this morning -- as a backdrop to more home improvement and football:

* The Silos, "Cuba": A Gainesville, Fla., band that frequented Sluggo's in Pensacola when I was a 20something squirt. They're just half a step behind Jason & the Scorchers on the alt-country timeline, but their music has held up fantastically, alongside the likes of Ryan Adams, Son Volt, etc. Start with this record, then move to their eponymous major label disc. They're in Austin these days.

* Passengers, "Original Soundtracks 1": Passengers is essentially U2 with a few guests. Pavarotti's death reminded me about his guest stint on the song "Miss Sarajevo." We'll miss you, buddy.

* Tonio K., "Life in the Food Chain": Stereo Review famously called this "the greatest rock and roll record ever made" (or something like that) in 1978. It hasn't held up as well as "Cuba," but there's some terrific, funny songs, including that vampire bit I quoted a few days back.

* Cracker, "The Golden Age": I'm digging last year's "Greenland" as sort of Cracker's rebirth. But this is my favorite record of theirs. I think it's all the strings. Cue up "Dixie Babylon" and crank it up for the song's sweeping third act.

* Marlee MacLeod, "Favorite Ball & Chain": Another Sluggo's discovery. She was playing there as billed as Marlee MacLeod and the Lonesome Choir, which was an interesting enough name to snag my fivespot. Folk-tinged, rock-tinged, countryish stuff. So, "good."

Using our noodles

So I stumbled on a giant box of lasagna noodles at, of all places, Big Lots. Next thing I knew, I was loading them in the car. What the heck? I don't think I've made lasagna since fourth grade.

Of course, I've married a veggie-saurus since then, so we had to mod the recipe. We googled veg lasagna recipes, but many of them called for only a handful of the pasta -- or, more curiously, none. So we just used the traditional meat recipe and sauteed some eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms to stir into the sauce instead of beefs. I gotta say, it was fun laying down layers and layers of hot noodles, tomato sauce, and a mixture of ricotta, parm and egg.

It looks pretty and all. And it tasted even better. Especially with the 2004 Barbera we opened to go with it.

07 September 2007

Video killed the blog-gio star

Tired of video yet?

Tough. The new To Do webcast is up, over here. It's even odder than last week. Which is not a bad thing.


06 September 2007

Fixed the Cambodia video

I fixed the unpleasantries of the sound in the Cambodia video, and the audio sync issues. Also made it a smaller file so it would stream faster. All in all, if you had trouble watching it before, it should be much better now. Here 'tis. And lay off. That was my first upload to YouTube.

Moronic Moment of the Month*

*brought to you by Seventeen Magazine

It's long overdue, but the vacay threw my schedule off. So as a reward for your patience, I now bring you a supersized Moronic Moment of the Month. (And next month's installment should come in just a couple weeks! Yay, morons!)

There was lots and lots of fodder this month, and it was some work to pare it down to just these few examples. Let's start with this photo, at left, which is ostensibly showing us the young girl's shoes. Never mind that the little nymph has arched her back and appears to be grinding down on the fence, her hand delicately placed between her legs. It's about shoes. We know this because of the big word "SHOES" in the red box. Ahem.

There's also this photo, under the caption "I (heart) being tall," wherein they actually encourage teenage girls to kick it carny style:Elsewhere, Sorich takes issue with an alleged doctor's proclamation in a sex Q&A column. Read it for yourself. So, the doctor says "Not True!" And to this, Sonya says, "A big false." Which is to say, once you have sex, you may crave it all the time, I guess. Or hope. I can't speak for girls (thankfully), but guys are pretty much obsessed with it -- before and after they have it for the first time.

The ultimate moronic moment goes to something much tamer in topic. Here's the photo:

Let's start with the obvious. Nobody can wear a giant squirrel on her dress without taking enough derision to prompt a "Carrie"-style explosion of rage. (Oh wait. This is an outfit to wear to a student council meeting. Maybe it would be fine, then...) But the true idiocy is buried in her quote, wherein she says that student council rep is an important position, with big projects like making posters.

Ugh. There is no hope, people.

05 September 2007

Cambo pix and video

OK, I know a lot of folks are pro'lly tired of me talking about the Cambodian trip. But I finally finished the slideshow/video editing with our footage. The piece clocked in at 43 minutes. Luckily, you guys don't care about every facet of our trip. (Even we got templed out on the third day.)

So here's an 8-minute cut. Warning: While most of it's fun -- including scenes of us eating spiders! -- some of it's sad. And by "some of it," I mean the killing fields. And just so's you know, the palm fronds I took pictures of were used as saws for people's heads, we were told.

On that light note, here's the video!

* Here's more on the killing fields.

* These are the specific ones we visited. (And no, I didn't steal the photos from Wikipedia. I shot them and donated them. Because Wikipedia rocks.)

Suddenly all of France hates gay people

We've all heard, by now, about Jerry Lewis' gaffe, when he said the F-word on TV during the Labor Day Jerry Lewis Telethon.

No, not that F-word. He apparently said, "faggot."

This was particularly stunning in light of the fact that he abandoned the other F-word ("funny") in the earlier half of last century. If you ask me, he should've stuck to playing pianos and marrying cousins.

The height of Jerry Lewis' alleged comedy

04 September 2007

A show that's gonna bite

Prepping some stuff for a fall TV preview package (it runs on Sunday, so look for it), I come across info on a new CBS show called "Moonlight." It's about a vampire who spends his days solving crime! And when the teaser trailer starts with quality writing like, "Being a vampire sucks," is there any hope?

Then answer is no. This show is going to be awful. And the best part is the "hero's" name: Nick St. John. ... I mean, I love vampire stories as much as the next guy. (But clearly not as much as some people.) Who's writing this stuff, eighth graders?

OK, per Wikipedia, one of the creators of "Angel" was in charge of this series' so-called creative direction. So I guess it's not even eighth graders. Ugh.

"So tell me, how come I can't see you in my mirror?
How come you never come around here in the day?
How come you start to hiss when I say my prayers
and you wear those stupid capes,
and every time you see a cross, you run away?"
Tonio K., "How Come I Can't See You in My Mirror"

03 September 2007

Upping the ant-y

Forgot to post this the other day. It's a video piece Joe Paull put together to accompany last week's Home story on ants.

Yeah, that's me interviewing the pest control guy. That's also my fence in the close up shots of the ants marching like mad. Really must do something about them. Don't know why Bob Dylan thinks the ants are my friends...

02 September 2007

Sunday Spin-offs

I've worked my arse off so far this weekend. Dog-proofing the fence with chickenwire and scraping that danged bathroom trim, mostly (but the bathroom's ready for priming, which is a huge victory). But now I've got tomorrow to lay on what's left of said arse. And today wasn't really too bad, with a selection of great discs thrown in the changer and set to random:

* Matt Costa, "Songs We Sing": Debut album from a powerful new singer-songwriter. Ashton Allen told me about this guy, I bought the disc for Jenn, and damned if I don't enjoy it as much as she does. Check him out, fellers.

* Precious Bryant, "The Truth": The warmest blues singer I know. This is her second record, and highlights are the title track and her homage to Jessica Alba, "Dark Angel." And "Morning Train," which was featured in the nympho-romp of a film titled "Black Snake Moan"

* Scott Miller & the Commonwealth, "Thus Always to Tyrants": This was his first studio release after the V-Roys broke up. It's a fantastic record, and I'm particularly fond of "Goddamn The Sun."

* Dave Sharp, "Hard Travelin'": Like Miller's, this is the first solo record by a guy best known by his former band. In this case, it's '80s-tastic act The Alarm. But Sharp (at left) put out a record that mines Dylanesque territory and is a highlight of his whole career. This guy is tragically singing in an Irish pub in New Orleans these days.

* Robbie Robertson, eponymous: OK, I guess I just realized today's theme. Robertson, of course, hails from The Band. He frickin' wrote "The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down." This is from 1987, and U2 plays guest on two of the cuts.