30 September 2008

Bye for real

Hello, gentle readers. I've been toying with whether or not to keep the blog running. But in the end, I've come to the conclusion that it's either going to (a) take too much time to keep it updated right and proper, or (b) suck. So I think this'll be the last post.

I'm not taking it down, though. So come back anytime you need examples of stupid people, good advice for soon-to-be-dated music, ridiculing of Seventeen magazine, and misinterpreted naughty bits from the Harry Potter books (by far the most-read posts, by the way. Never underestimate the public's lust for Emma Watson).

Thanks for coming by and being my audience. Yeah, of course it's been a waste of time, but hopefully an enjoyable one. See you in the funny pages.

29 September 2008

Carmike and 'Fireproof' (or, Kung Fu Pander)

Some anonymous commenter, henceforth referred to as "Jackass" "Eva," accused me of “caving to The Man” the other day. It’s not clear if Eva's saying that because I was trashing “Fireproof” based on its ridiculous preview or because, after 17 years of working in a field that underpays people and is suddenly trimming its work force, I took a private-sector job.*


Most likely it’s the latter (to which I’d answer “up yours, Eva”). But I’d like to think it’s the former, because of the potential irony. In my book, Carmike Cinemas, caved to The Man by showing “Fireproof” on its largest screen, when anybody could’ve told you that “Eagle Eye” would be the No. 1 movie this weekend. (Final numbers: “Eagle Eye” rang in at $29.2 million, “Fireproof” at No. 4 with $6.5 million.)

Carmike is making marketing decisions based on broad stereotypes about the South, the Bible Belt. And being headquartered here in Columbus, Ga., it should know better. Or maybe it does know better, but it’s simply pandering to power brokers wielding a cross.

“Fireproof” stars Kirk Cameron, and for some, that’s enough to kill it right there. But he’s allegedly not terrible, despite how he looks it in the preview. That aside, the movie tells the story of a firefighter who is trying to salvage his marriage based on Biblical principles. That’s not a horrible premise, I guess, even if it’s more suited to a Lifetime movie than a Hollywood release. But when Hannah Goodwyn of the Christian Broadcasting Network reviews the film and says it doesn’t meet her "very high standard of what a movie should be" entertainment-wise, you know it ain’t very good.

Of the top five best movies of the year, three are based on comic book characters (“The Dark Knight,” “Hellboy II” and “Iron Man”) and the other two are animated (“Wall-E” and “Kung Fu Panda”). Funny thing is, you’d think comic-book heroes would offer the same black-and-white stereotypes that a film like “Fireproof” embraces, with “Love God/Hate Sin” roughly equating to “Hero Good/Evil Bad.” But the heroes of those three films are complex and fallible, and in some cases antiheroes. And that’s why people can relate to them. They offer real heart, real soul.

"Eva, I'm sorry
But you will never have me
To me, you're just some faggy girl
And I need a lover with soul power
You ain't got no soul power"
--of Montreal, “Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider”

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*Corporate culture is interesting, by the way, and not necessarily bad. My employer, for instance, charges 50 cents for diet sodas, but 60 cents for regular ones, in an effort to encourage healthier habits. And either way, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than the 75 cents I used to have to pay. Which adds up when you're (a) paid peanuts, and (b) addicted to caffeine.

27 September 2008

Scratched

Paul Newman
1925-2008
Pool shark, salad dresser, speed racer

25 September 2008

Jon Stewart: TV mightier than the pen

Ouch. I mean, I know I'm not in the newspaper business any more. But ouch.

This here's 24 seconds of pain... At least the audience didn't laugh too hard. Maybe they never figured out what he was talking about.

Et tu, Stewart?

'Fireproof' = Actorproof

Wow. I saw this trailer last night, in front of "Burn After Reading." The acting was so freaking bad that I half expected it to be a parody. I kept waiting for the overlay to say, "From the makers of 'Tropic Thunder!'" But no, it's real. And moreover, that's really Kirk Cameron.

Go ahead and click "Watch Trailer." I dare you to make it all the way through without laughing. Jenn and I both cracked up in the theater. She says she felt bad: "I didn't want to offend any Christians who might be in front of us." I says: "They hate crappy movies too."


I think the best part is how they make the double Os in "Fireproof" out of wedding rings. Awwww....

24 September 2008

Gay Aiken

It's probably no big surprise for most folks to learn that Clay Aiken has admitted he's gay. You know, the crystal clear singing voice, the penchant for big sweaters (exhibit left), the collection of haggard female fans.

What you may be wondering is, what effect will his coming out will have on record sales and fanbase?

None, it turns out. See, Aiken's fans (or, "Claymates") have a median age of 83. And to them, "gay" still only means happy and jovial. No harm, no foul.

23 September 2008

A license for that

Anyone else notice how the new Georgia license plate stickers are, how shall we say this, bigger than the indented space on the license plate where the sticker goes?

No big deal, I guess, since it's a common fact that you can run red lights -- at least in Columbus -- without much fear of repercussion. And you can certainly perform a hit-and-run and not worry about the Five-O knocking on your door. Seriously. That's what the police told us as victims of one two. "Well, there's 200 of those a month."

Uh, good to know...?

21 September 2008

Same cigarettes as me

My final pop culture column for the paper ran Friday, though I've still got a story or two in the can that will appear hopefully soon.

Anyways, here's the farewell column. It's not sad. And there's mention of Todd Snider, ELO, The Replacements and a slightly more oblique reference to the Rolling Stones. Fun times!

18 September 2008

Welcome to Corporate America!

I should preface this by saying that I think I'm really gonna like my new job, and everyone at work is super nice.

That said, I got a parking ticket at work on my first day. Go me!

16 September 2008

Not for the swallow!

Thanks, Joe Paull
It's hard to imagine how any kid shoots his eyes out, when BB pellets come with such specific warnings as this:

Click on the picture to read the label. Or trust me when I tell you that it clearly states...
* Under the parent serve as guardian usage.
* This product forbids the swallow.
* The in keeping with 7 years old and above childs play.

For some reason, this makes me want Mexican food for lunch.

By the bye

So tomorrow's my last day working at the Ledger-Enquirer, and, most likely at newspapers. No biggie. I just had a great opportunity come at me. After holy-crap-has- it-really-been-17-years in the field, I'm actually looking forward to a change.

Don't know what'll happen to the blog yet. The Ledger folks are happy to still have it up, so I'll probably keep posting as time permits. But the new boss is going to get full concentration, so I probably won't be posting daily.

I've still got some cool stuff coming: That Rock-afire Explosion story is just holding until they've got the space for it. It was slated for last weekend, but there was something about a hurricane in Texas or something that got in the way. And I'm working on a piece now about celebrities and politics. Fun stuff.

My last pop culture column runs Friday. I was thinking about great album closers for that column, and, even though it didn't end up in the column, I keep going back to "Shangri-La," on ELO's "A New World Record." Not the best song on the album, by a long shot. But Jeff Lynne's lamenting "I'm getting out of love" over and over and over seems to fit right now, as I leave the business that I love. Then the orchestral passage kicks in, resuscitating the theme from Track One ("Tightrope"). And then Lynne's back, his voice floating up from what sounds like a valley below, singing "I wiiii-iii-iiiill return, to Shangri-La."

Don't know if you've read James Hilton's "Lost Horizon," the 1933 book that created the concept of Shangri-La. Or maybe you've seen the Capra movie from '37. Suffice to say that Shangri-La's a paradise in the middle of the frozen Himalayas — a place that the protagonist leaves even though he may never be able to find it again.

***
"Like my father before me, I consider a past
I can't understand
As I grasp for a moment that slips through my hands

And I stumble toward a future, concealed in a haze
Half faith and half fear

And my innocent vision's no longer so clear

I walk on"

Tonio K., "We Walk On"

15 September 2008

Wikipediawesome

Reading the Wikipedia entry on the Dead Kennedys, in disbelief that the kid from "The Courtship of Eddie's Father" replaced Jello Biafra as frontman (true, by the way), I stumble on these two unintentionally awesome sentences:

"In the late 1980s, the band was embroiled in an obscenity trial in the US over the 1985 Frankenchrist album, which included a poster with art that depicted penises (Penis Landscape by H. R. Giger). The band was charged criminally with distribution of harmful matter to minors, but the trial ended with a hung jury."

Steady as she holds

Spent some time spinning The Hold Steady's latest record, "Stay Positive," this weekend. Along with the title cut, "Joke About Jamaica," "Both Crosses," and "Lord, I'm Discouraged," are kick-ass. Among the best songs they've every recorded.

So I can't decide what makes the first few songs on the record sound a little flat to me — which maybe kept me from listening to it very much for a few weeks. I think maybe I just don't like the tracking of the album. Happy to see the band is building some momentum, though. This, their fourth record, entered Billboard's Top 200 at No. 30, which is their strongest showing out-the-gates yet.

Oh, and just a reminder that they're touring with the Drive-By Truckers right now. There's a Nov. 1 date at The Tabernacle, in the A-T-L.

14 September 2008

Ugh.

I watched "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" this morning. You remember this movie. It played in your fair town like a week. Starred Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Marisa Tomei's breasts.

It's a good thing they made this movie, because, you know, if there's one thing there's a lack of in Hollywood, it's acclaimed movies with no redemption, no lesson for humanity with a healthy dose of despair, darkness and death.

11 September 2008

Manly fashion

Wondering now why I didn't watch this show during its one and only season... (Go ahead and watch. This clip is 11 seconds long.)

It's "Firefly," Joss Whedon's space-opera-meets-western that was eventually reworked into the very good feature film, "Serenity." Neither project was a success, alas. And we can only blame ourselves.*

You can stream the whole season for free over at Hulu.

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* The film produced one of the most magical pieces of dialog you'll ever find in a deleted scene:
Reynolds: Get these bodies together.
Zoe: We got time for grave digging?
Reynolds: Zoe, we're going to rope 'em together. Five or six of 'em. I want 'em laid out on the front of our ship.
Wash: Are you insane?
Reynolds: Put Book front and center. He's our friend, we should honor him. Kaylee, find that kid who's taking a dirt nap with baby Jesus, we need a hood ornament. Jayne, try not to steal too much of their shit.

Pink Floyd's Gilmour in concert

Attention stoners: A David Gilmour performance will get one shot on the big screen in Columbus. It's set for Sept. 22 at the Carmike 15 — which my press releases say is at "5555 Whittlesex Parkway."

Whittlesex? I'm kind of scared to ask what kind of fetish that is. Anyway, unless there's a new Carmike 15 on a new street, that was a Freudian slip and they mean Whittlesey. They should be forgiven. It's not like Columbus is the headquarters for Carmike Cinemas or anything. (Pause.) ... (Wait for it.) ... Oh, we ARE the headquarters for Carmike Cinemas?

Anyway, it doesn't really matter. This is just David Gilmour, after all. I mean, I love me some Pink Floyd and all, but only a dozen people saw the live "U2-3D" concert on its Friday night debut in this town. ... If you're looking for the full list of 107 cities showing the Gilmour concert, click here. It's a PDF, which is a pain in the arse. But that's the price you pay.

In summary, what we've learned today is:
*Carmike is dumb.
*Figgy needs to stop bogarting the blunt.
*This Web site generates your "stoner name." (I'm "Jurassic Jointmaster.")
and.
*When it comes to supporting events, Columbus sex. I mean sux.

10 September 2008

Picture imperfect

Here's a photo from the Ledger-Enquirer archives. It was provided by Fort Benning, likely from the '50s, but showing soldiers reenacting with what I'd guess is gear from World War I.
I like how they're all wagons-in-a-circle, as if Lou Diamond Phillips there with the bayonet in the front (a.k.a., the red-shirted Star Trek ensign) is actually General Custer in some anachronistic last stand.

My favorite guy is this one, though...
... as he's ready to fire his trusty pistol, should the rifles, cannons, grenade, mortar and, uh, tank fail to fell the enemy.

09 September 2008

For richer or Potter

J.K. Rowling, the world's first gajillionaire author, successfully sued two "creators" of the "Harry Potter Lexicon," a book that was to have been published.

The reason she won? There was little or no original work in the book. (The story is here.)

While I'm a fan of intellectual property, as long as it doesn't prevent us from making fun of, for example, the "unintentional" naughty bits in her books (as exposed (ahem) here, here, here, here, here, here and here), I do have a hard time buying her argument that the book's publication would have caused "irreparable harm" as a writer. Or damager her income. I'd guess she's already made 9/10ths of the fortune that her Harry Potter universe is going to earn her.

Bearly believable

Troy Heard found a forthcoming movie trailer that features a Phenix City man who assembled a Showbiz Pizza Place band (the Rock-afire Explosion, formally) at his place and reprogammed them to do cool things like this.

I'll have the full story this weekend in the paper. Check it out. (And thanks, Troy.)

08 September 2008

Sweet Homesky Alabama

Thanks Maggie and Bandit
So. Very. Disturbing.

Weekend lessons

I'm clearly not too old to learn stuff. Went to see the Falcons this weekend, and it was only my second pro football game ever. (First was an equally meaningless Saints vs. Redskins game in the mid-1990s. I apologize for the redundancies in that last sentence.)

Among Sunday's lessons:

— Free is the best possible price for Atlanta Falcons tickets, even if the parking is $25.

— The fake boob quotient is at least twice as high, per capita, in a football stadium than other places.

— (New Amsterdam gin* + Lemonade) = (Cheap + Delicious)

— Pro football cheerleaders look just as skanky in person as they do on TV. (Hot?)

— Fat people should not be allowed to wear inappropriate jerseys to a football game (i.e. the dude wearing an Iverson). Sleeveless ones are even more egregious offenses.
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*I like this gin a lot. For me, it's best as a mixer since it brings up the citrus in gin and suppresses the juniper. It makes a lousy traditional martini — so don't put olives anywhere near it. But lemonade or ginger ale with it are deelish. Ironically, they're marketing it as gin "so smooth you can drink it straight," which is pretty much what people do with traditional gin, in a martini (depending on whether you add a splash of vermouth or just wave it over the glass).

05 September 2008

Palin comparison

Jon Stewart's "Daily Show" has been hammering veep candidate Sarah Palin for claiming her daughter should have the right to make her own choices regarding the girl's illegitimate daughter. AKA, she should have a choice. So it's a great point.

And the fact that it comes from the mouth of a potential rock star ...

... makes it, of course, all the more true.

I hope my wife understands that I love Jon Stewart, with all of my body. Including my pee pee.*

In related news, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford this week did away with a requirement that salon employees receive 1,500 hours of training to shampoo hair, saying, "What we want to do is avoid laws on the books that don't pass the Comedy Central litmus test." Who says the media can't force responsible decision making?
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* A phrase stolen from this site.

04 September 2008

Esquire (again) proves that it rocks

What the Hell is Wrong with Blog Commentors?
Professor of Communications Paul Levinson and comedian Mike Birbiglia weigh in on why babygrl212 and mccainh8r think they have the right to be so goddamned stupid online.

Major Human Flaw: Posting inane comments online.

Response No. 1, by Paul Levinson, professor of communications at Fordham University and author of the upcoming book New New Media: Everyone has a ratio of satisfaction and frustration. What makes the Internet different is that it's so easy to express this frustration. Sometimes, people are too cowardly to assert themselves in person. They don't want to be shouted down, or they may know that what they're saying is absurd. But for those kinds of people, the anonymous empowerment of the Internet is like a drug. They're not just expressing anger, but authority.

Response No. 2, by Mike Birbiglia, stand-up comedian whose DVD, What I Should Have Said Was Nothing!, is out now: Comments sections offer this great opportunity for morons to show the world they don't know the difference between their,there, and they're. It's as if Brian Williams finished every segment by saying, "That's all I got. Now, does anybody have any batshit-zany e-mails they'd like me to read out loud?" The worst part is, I'll start to second-guess myself: Huh. I thought his name was spelled "Barack Obama," but according to squidbaby44, "Barak HUSSEIN Osama is a secret mooslim!"
 /\
//\\
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This is from the latest issue of Esquire, one of two* magazines I read cover-to-cover. So go ahead with the comments. Hurt me, babygrl212!!!
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*The other is Wired.

03 September 2008

Mr.E meat

My first experience with an Army-style Meal, Ready to Eat or whatever they're calling them now, came just a couple of weeks ago, but it came thanks to Hurricane Ivan back in 2004. That hit Pensacola, my old hometown, and I pretty much spent four or five straight weekends driving down there to help with post-hurricane cleanups on my dad's and brothers' properties. We were without power and water for the first couple of weekends, and the Red Cross issued us gallons jugs of water and as many MREs as the could.

Since Jenn and I were driving home to air conditioning and running water, we left that stuff down in the danger zone — with the exception of two meals: one marked meatloaf and one marked jambalaya (which was the closest to a vegetarian one we had).

That sat in the cupboard until our Cumberland Island camping trip a couple weeks back.

We're assuming, of course, that they were fairly new meals in 2004 and not, as we suspect, leftovers from Gulf War v.1.0. But either way, they were at least four years old — and they were still good.

I was also amazed at the quantity of food in there. And, not so surprisingly, old Skittles taste just like new Skittles.

Ye Olde Wikipaedia has some pretty interesting history on the meals, but best is their list of insults that soldiers have concocted for them, including: "Mr. E," "Meals Rejected by Everyone," "Meals, Rarely Edible," "Meals Rejected by the Enemy," "Morsels, Regurgitated, Eviscerated," "Meal, Ready to Excrete," "Materials Resembling Edibles," and even "Meals Rejected by Ethiopians."

My other favorite thing about them was the propaganda-lite on the packaging itself, urging soldiers to eat the whole meal and also proclaiming "Nutrition: A Force Multiplier!"

02 September 2008

East bound and down, six feet underground

Jerry Reed
1937-2008
Country legend, philosopher, bad actor

His machine killed fascists

Finished reading "Bound for Glory," last night. It's Woody Guthrie's autobiography, which is mostly not about music. I guess that makes sense, because he was just 31 years old when he penned it. The book is full of horrible spelling and dialect so thick as to be disorienting. But if taken as a series of vignettes, it's a very good glimpse at the formative instances in the young folk musician's life. (Curious, though, that he never mentions his first wife...)

Of note for Columbus-area folks is this passage, some 70 pages from the end:

"I got back to where everybody was, and the two little sisters was singing 'Columbus Stockade':

Way down in Columbus stockade
Where my gally went back on me;

Way down in Columbus stockade,
I'd ruther be back in Tennessee.

'Columbus Stockade' was always one of my first picks, so I let them run along for a little while, twisted my guitar up in tune with theirs, holding my eat down against the sounding box, and when I heard it was in tune with them I started picking out the tune, sort of note for note, letting their guitar play bass chords and second parts. ..."
You can find locals Rick Edwards and Henry Conley playing the old song at the bottom of this post.

30 August 2008

Picture imperfect

Here's a picture from 1956. I believe that's the bustling metropolis of Phenix City, Ala., in the background, and law enforcement officers turned to a newfangled tool we know as the radar gun (or, as it's called here, the "Speed-Meter") to crack down on those old jalopies that were roaring down U.S. 280 at — what's that needle say? — oh, 15 mph.


29 August 2008

Duchovny's 'XXX-Files'

David "X-Files" Duchovny has entered a rehabilitation facility to combat an admitted sex addition. This much is true. (And it made his casting in "Californication" easy, right?)

Researchers at the facility quickly discovered that every man who's been married to Tea Leoni* has had an addiction to sex.

Following that discovery, researchers determined that every man has an addiction to sex.
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*I don't really know anything about her first husband, Neil Joseph Tardio Jr. But how could it not be true?

Hootie to Blowfish: 'Suck it!' (updated)

Tragic news in the music world. Hootie and the Blowfish, one of the most popular bands of all time,* has announced a breakup.

I know. It's hard to believe. Hard to believe they were still together, that is. But the best news is why the band has split: So singer Darius Rucker (henceforth referred to simply as "Hootie") could pursue recording a few country music records.

So the ray of light here is that maybe Hootie's arrival on the country music scene will mean the same thing it did on the pop music scene. Namely, the destruction thereof. ... But wait, country music's already bland and compressed. On second thought, he'll fit right in.

The story.
(And already the course correction is starting, as evidenced here.)

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*Where "all time" is defined as 1994-1995.

28 August 2008

Now that's a case of the runs

Thanks Maggie & Bandit
I can't believe I'm just now posting this crap:

Click here.

See, I'm not just being crass. I'm informing you that a piece of art blew away from its exhibit space in Switzerland, causing all kinds of trouble. It just so happens the name of the giant, inflatable, brown-colored exhibit is "Complex Shit."

Oh, and the artists name is Paul McCartney. Oh wait, that's McCarthy. I got confused because McCartney's being making crap he calls art for years.*
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*Excepting last year's "Memory Almost Full," which is pretty good.

27 August 2008

Mexican vs. Mexican't

Yeah, I forgot to mention Brito's in the list of local Mexican places below. But Troy's right, it's great. That and La Mexicana de Columbus (the taqueria on Victory Drive) are the best.

Brito's has a Web site that's all in Spanish, so you know the food's good. I ran it through Babelfish for a translation and was particularly pleased with the information under the "About Us" tab (or just "We," as it was translated):

The services that we offer are:
  • Shipments of money to any part of the world.
  • Phonecards and for cellular of all the marks.
  • Service of slaughter.
  • Extensive provided of fruits and vegetables.
Service of slaughter. Sweet!
-----

City Out of LuckAlone At 3AM
"Mexico" (mp3)
from "City Out of Luck"
Buy album at iTunes Music Store

26 August 2008

Why does Columbus hate Greece?

Here's an ad that ran in last Thursday's To Do section:

So Columbus is losing a Mediterranean restaurant. But hey, we're gaining a place called La Margarita. And let me also take a huge leap of faith and say that I bet they'll have margarita specials on Wednesday nights!* Oh boy!

Because, you know, we needed another Mexican place, alongside Durango, El Vaquero (3 locations), Locos Amigos, Los Amigos, Viva El Toro, Vallarta, El Carrizo (2 locations), La Nacional, La Mexicana de Columbus, Don Chuchos and El Zapata (2 locations). And those are just the big ones.

On the Greek/Mediterranean side, that leaves us at, I think, negative-three eateries**. Great...
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* What is it with every Mexican restaurant here having margarita night on the same night? Wouldn't it be smart counter-programming to try that on, say, Tuesday? Or if they're feeling daring, Thursday?
** OK, two technically. There is Mario's, downtown, and Imbis, up by Columbus Park Crossing. But only one of those*** is good.
*** Imbis.

25 August 2008

Bigfoots? Bigfeet?

My fellow Ledger-Enquirer reporter Tim Chitwood wrote a great column on Sunday about the recent Bigfoot sighting in north Georgia. Here's the link.

So they think evidence of a "gorilla suit" makes this sighting a hoax. Who am I to know? But there is solid photographic proof of a Bigfoot, people. And here it is, as witnessed by three reputable sources. (Or, at least one reputable source.)

I know what you're thinking: That still photos are easy to manipulate. So that's why I also offer the following video footage that should erase all doubts...

23 August 2008

Laff Olympics

So I seriously heard this during the Olympics broadcast yesterday:


"Latvia: Small in population, huge on talent in BMX!"

Don't get me started on medaling in BMX. I guess the Olympics wrap up tomorrow. I missed much of the games, since we were outta town last week. And really, I've got mixed feelings about the way it caters to developing physical freaks for specific disciplines. But whatever. I do tend to like watching the sports I can relate to or have tried myself. You know, tennis, volleyball, synchronized swimming...

22 August 2008

Stuff in the paper

Here's today's column, which has some light-hearted lessons from Cumberland Island (including the secret of Kung Fu pigs!)...

And here's a little item on those groovy little retro-style Peek'Size Football Guides being in stores today.

(That little ninja pig picture over there I grabbed offa the site of this fine illustrator, Tracy Bartlett...)

21 August 2008

Something to Crow about*

This ripped from the AP wires, like so many bodices in the hands of swarthy men...:

LOS ANGELES — Sheryl Crow wants your vote — and figures she can get it for a song.

The Grammy Award-winning singer is offering a free download of her politically charged tune ‘Gasoline’ to anyone who logs onto the Rock the Vote Web site or anyone on the group’s mailing list. And the first 50,000 people who register three friends to vote will get a free digital copy of her album ‘Detours.’

‘I hope people wake up and emotionally engage in issues,’ Crow said...
Hmm. Hopes people wake up... That, of course, begs just one response: THEN STOP SINGING MUSIC THAT PUTS PEOPLE TO SLEEP.

(Kinda liked that "Leaving Las Vegas" song, though. And it is cool that she's giving her schtuff away for a good cause. Click here for the full story. Click here to register and grab the free tuneage.)

*
Whilst trying to come up with a clever headline for this item, I looked up the word crow and found "n. The shrill cry of a cock." And that's all I've got to say about that.

Staind vs. Jonas Bros.?

MTV News is reporting that Staind's 6th album (good lord, have we really endured SIX???) is likely to be the first since 2001 not to debut a No. 1 on Billboard's sales charts.

The reason? It'll be the second week of release for the Jonas Brothers' new album.

So the mouse's band kids — "Hanson 2008 with Disney behind them" as Staind's Aaron Lewis says in the story — are kicking the tatted-up butts of the post-grunge hard rockers. I kinda love it. Except that what MTV failed to report is that both bands are frickin' lousy. So no matter who wins, we lose.

20 August 2008

'Cracked,' not broken

Used to be, "Cracked" was the poor man's "Mad" magazine. I didn't even know "Cracked" was still around, but it is — online at the least. The Web site's really funny, and not in that "What, me worry?" sort of way.

I just browsed a list of the "6 Most Terrifying Foods in the World," which includes Balut, a duck-egg delicacy wherein the egg is fertilized before it's cooked, so there's a little duck in there. Mmmmm? But funnier, to me, was this list of 25 men who look like old lesbians (Bruce Jenner, anyone?).

Good stuff.

19 August 2008

On a scale of 1 to awesome, it's super great

While I was away, the crazy Brothers Chaps and Telltale Games apparently released the longish-awaited first chapter in a for-sale "Homestar Runner" video game series. It's actually getting good reviews from gaming sites.

It's called "Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People." I'm hoping the title doesn't preclude me from playing. It's a point-and-clicker, so I'm imagining it's kind of like "Peasant Quest" game over on homestarrunner.com, only without the typing. There's a demo to download and play, which I haven't had a chance to grab yet.

Here's more about the game, which costs all of 9 bucks.

(If you've read all this and are thinking "whuh???" then here's a quick primer: Homestar Runner is a series of webtoons and games set in an innocent-humored, '80s influenced cartoon world, populated by a series of rapscallions and colorful folks. The site's highlight is where a fellow named Strong Bad, who wears a Mexican wrestling mask, answers e-mails. Frickin' hilarious.)

18 August 2008

Hold Steady, it's the Truckers!

The Drive-By Truckers have just announced a co-tour with the Hold Steady. Which is great, as I'm a fan of both acts and they're playing Atlanta. They'll alternate which band goes first.

But most interestingly, this means we've got the next-gen self-aware Lynyrd Skynyrd touring the country with the next-gen ’70s-style Springsteen. Which seems like a weird pairing. Except that it's not.

Whatever. Here's the tour schedule:

Rock and Roll Means Well Tour Fall 2008
•Oct 30 Louisville, Ky. — Coyote's (HS closes)
Oct 31 Nashville — Ryman Auditorium (DBT closes)
Nov 01 Atlanta — Tabernacle (DBT closes)
•Nov 02 Tallahassee, Fla. — The Moon (HS closes)
Nov 03 Raleigh, N.C. — Lincoln Theatre (DBT)
Nov 05 State College, Penn. — State Theatre (HS)
Nov 06 New York City — Terminal 5 (closer TBA)
Nov 07 New York City — Terminal 5 (closer TBA)
Nov 08 Philadelphia — Electric Factory (DBT)
Nov 09 Boston — Orpheum Theatre (HS closes)
Nov 11 Toronto — Phoenix Theatre (DBT closes)
Nov 12 Pittsburgh — Carnegie Music Hall (HS)
Nov 13 Bloomington, Ind. — Bluebird (DBT closes)
Nov 14 Chicago — Riviera (HS closes)
Nov 15 Minneapolis — First Avenue Mainroom (DBT)
Nov 16 Minneapolis — First Avenue Mainroom (HS)
Nov 19 Boise, Idaho — Big Easy (DBT closes)
Nov 20 Seattle — Showbox (HS closes)
Nov 21 Seattle — Showbox (DBT closes)
Nov 22 Portland, Ore. — Creystal Ballroom (HS)
Nov 23 San Francisco — Fillmore (DBT closes)
Nov 24 San Francisco — Fillmore (HS closes)
Nov 25 Los Angeles — The Wiltern (DBT closes)

17 August 2008

Cumberland

So the vacation was spectacular, with the worst moments only coming during the drive back. After a week of avoiding interaction with human beings, dealing with their traffic jams and such proved bothersome.

Anyways, I'll post more about the vacay later. But here's a video clip from one of my favorite moments, where Jenn and I spotted a wild horse, full gallop, about eight miles north of camp. Then it came up to us to get a closer look...

16 August 2008

Road music

Today I'm heading back from a week of sun and seclusion at Cumberland Island, on the Georgia coast. It's pretty off the grid. No phones. No Internets. No cars even. It's accessible only by ferry. I can promise you that now, as I'm writing this even before we left, that Jenn and I had a great time.

So yeah, all the blog posts you've been reading this week I wrote up last week, and scheduled them to post through the week. Clever monkey, me, no?

I burned a bunch of MP3 discs with new stuff to sink into on the drive there and back. So I should have something to say about some of the following albums:

*Shearwater's "Rook"
*The Hold Steady's "Stay Positive"
*Spiritualized's "Songs in A&E"
*Dr. Dog's "Fate"
*Okkervil River's "The Stand Ins"
*My Morning Jacket's "Evil Urges"
*Centro-matic's/South San Gabriel's "Dual Hawks"
*Conor "Bright Eyes" Oberst's eponymous thingy

...and some others that I can't recall right now. Talk at you soon.

Second best chalkboard artist*

Thanks Maggie & Bandit
Submitted as a fine Friday time-waster. And boy is it ever. The Chalkboard Manifesto is a regular strip you can find here. Updated frequently.
*after Bart Simpson

14 August 2008

Burst all your balloons, burn all your cities

So the bassist for rock band Sister Hazel has written a children's book based on the lyrics of one of the band's songs. Which is cool, I think.

I like Sister Hazel, even if I chronically confuse them with Blues Traveler. I was relieved to find out, for instance, that the book was not based on the song "Hook," since I could see where trying to explain to a pre-schooler who Anne Boleyn* was might be, well, problematic. There's also the potentially illegality of using the words "mouth" and "organ" next to each other when talking to a child.

Jett Beres is the bass player's name, and the book is thankfully based on the band's innocuous song "Starfish." Here's the book's Web site, if any parents wanna check it out. It's out Sept. 23.

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*or "Amber Lynn" as one of my old co-workers used to think.

13 August 2008

Picture imperfect

Here's an interesting one from the Ledger-Enquirer archives. I'm not sure who this woman is, why the newspaper took her picture in the mid-1970s, or where in our bustling metropolis she found a wind tunnel that put her topside in this particular condition. Maybe she was rushing to get to the casting call for the role of an extra on an ep or "Kojak."

Whatever the reason, it's impressive.


It's a beehullet. Or perhaps a mullhive. Not exactly a mullet. Not towering like a beehive. Somewhere in an awesome, awesome place in between. ... Get thee to a haberdashery, lady.

Click here to see the last installment of "Picture Imperfect."

12 August 2008

Catsuits

Thanks Meg
I dressed my dog up exactly once. It was for a story on Halloween costumes for pets. He was a pumpkin, and it made him very, very sad.

So I get a weird feeling in my chest when I see what these people chose to do with their cats, as evidenced by the New York Post.

But I also hate cats, so it's kind of cool.

(The pictured "cat" is named Hale Bop, which indicates that maybe it's originally from outerspace, possibly explaining its lack of hair.)

11 August 2008

So to 'pop a cap' I'd use the blaster?

Thanks Joe Paull
The language is salty in places, but it's totally hilarious — and nothing you haven't heard in the rap music before, beeyotch. 

09 August 2008

Sugarland me sour

The former 1/3rd of what became a Sugarland duo (do the math) is suing the band, saying she's due a share* of the profits.

I thought I liked Kristen Hall. And, granted, she's the one who originally brought Kristian Bush and Jennifer Nettles together, with herself, to form the country music pseudo-supergroup. But I'm not sure how she thinks she's due substantial profits from the group's second and third albums, considering she co-wrote a total of one (1) tune on those two discs and hasn't logged any time touring with the band, doing interviews or otherwise, you know, working as a part of Sugarland.

I know, I know. She had a contract blah blah blah. I'm not talking about the letter of the law, but the spirit.

So now I suppose Kristian Bush can also retire, let Nettles do all the heavy lifting, and still make his third too? Come on, Kristen. Earn your part of the band's money or let it go.

(Did I mention that Jennifer Nettles is single again?)

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*where "a share" = $1.5 million

***
"Lookin' like a tramp, like a video vamp
Demolition woman, can I be your man?"
Def Leppard, "Pour Some Sugar on Me" 

08 August 2008

Paris Hilton Vs. Morgan Freeman

What do Paris Hilton and Morgan Freeman have in common?

Read today's column in the newspaper to find out.

07 August 2008

Horse (non)sense

I'll apologize at the front-end. I don't usually think people dying is funny. That's why I refrained from posting this yesterday, when I first read it.

OK, enough with the apology. Here's the item, posted by my Ledger-Enquirer cohort Tess Hollis:

A 35-year-old Chambers County man was killed early Tuesday morning when his car caught fire after he hit a horse.

Wyatt Finch was driving near Valley, Ala., on County Road 388 when he struck a horse, causing his car to catch fire. The accident happened around 6:20 a.m. Alabama State Troopers are investigating the accident.
The original item can be found rightcheer.

So why did I decide to post it? Not because a man dying is funny. But because that first sentence is maybe my favorite piece of newswriting ever. The brevity is its genius.

But does hitting a horse really cause a car to catch fire? Just any horse? (Or, as my co-worker Nick muses, was it one of those alcohol-laden Clydesdales) Was it a ridden horse? A stray? A wild horse? Ahhhhhh! We must know!!!

I don't know if Mr. Finch is married. If so, I apologize to his widow. I'd like to think, however, that if I was driving a car that hit a horse and then blew up, I'd be looking down from the clouds, chuckling about it. "Well, that's one way to go..."

06 August 2008

See you at the debates, bitches!

Here's what all the fuss is about. See Paris kick John McCain in the crotch. Figuratively.

As much as it pains me to say it, I've actually grown some respect for Paris Hilton. (But I still don't think she's hot (at least not from the neck up).)

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Goin' home

Like every other music writer who interviewed him, I wrote a story once about how young bluesman Sean Costello was. When I talked to him the first time he was 20 (going on 74), and I thought it was interesting that he was this old soul playing in bars that he otherwise wouldn't have been allowed in.

So, also like everyone else, I was stunned when he died a few months back.

In June, a buddy at work told me to check out the Creative Loafing piece on him. But I never did. I was sort of in denial, I think — maybe because Costello was about a decade younger than me. I dunno. Anyway, I finally read the story, and it is great. I actually hadn't even heard that his OD was accidental, a la Heath Ledger (although with heroin, amphetamine, and cocaine in his system, alongside a prescribed anti-anxiety drug). Check out the story here.

05 August 2008

I'm a jerk

I got caught up in workstuffs and ungraciously forgot to link Friday to the Georgia On My Mind blog, which hosted a regular event they call the Georgia Blog Carnival, in which they round up the most interesting posts within the past couple of weeks by Georgia bloggers.

I love the site anyway, since it's got absolutely the best blogroll of area bloggers, period. But they were also kind enough to mention one of my posts and link to the Web site. So, if you're inclined, go to the Carnival post and see what other Georgia bloggers are up to. It's good stuff.