30 April 2008

Yeee-frickin'-hawwww!!!

What, gentle readers, could possibly warrant the thinly veiled profanity amid the Rebel Yell punctuated with not one, not two, but three exclamatory punctuation marks?

Why, DukesFest, of course. It's a celebration of all things related to "The Dukes of Hazzard," and it's held in Hampton, Ga. on June 28-29. That's not far from Covington, where the craptastic show was filmed early on. John Schneider will be there, pimping the DVD release of the film he penned, lensed and starred in, "Collier & Co.," which has the dubious distinction of being even worse than "Dukes." Tom Wopat, Catherine Bach, James Best (Rosco), Sonny Shroyer (Enos), Ben Jones (Cooter) and Rick Hurst (Cletus) will all be there. But best of all, there'll be a replacement Duke, with Byron Cherry (who played Coy for half a season).

The Wikipedia entry on the show, which ran from 1979-1985, describes its hijinks thissaway: "Many episodes revolved around Boss (Hogg) trying to engage in an illegal scheme with criminal associates. Some of these were get-rich-quick schemes, though many others affected the financial security of the Duke farm, which Boss had long wanted to acquire for nefarious reasons." It should be noted, however, that the word "nefarious" is one that would never be found in a script of the show, lest it confuse the actors or the shows viewers.

Get all you need on the fest right cheer. The opening video is painfully priceless.

Abated

Albert Hofmann
(1906-2008)
scientist, father of LSD, hippie hero

***

"Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain
Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies,

Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers,

That grow so incredibly high"

The Beatles, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"

29 April 2008

Miley Siren?

So the photos last week of Hannah Montyrus, I mean Miley Cyrus, showing her green bra to the camera were fake. Or maybe not. First is was allegedly a look-alike. Or did she really admit that maybe the pictures were, kinda, sorta, her? It's hard to keep it straight.

It doesn't matter, because without question the nude photo of the 15-year-old in "Vanity Fair" (left) is f'real. Annie Leibovitz shot it.

Child porn-mongers will be disappointed to hear that the photo is tasteful. Cyrus doesn't even look very attractive, in an adult sort of way, in it. The photo has the added bonuses of teeing off folks at Disney and making Cyrus uncomfortable. So really, everyone wins.

28 April 2008

Hot play

Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow and the rest of Coldplay is modestly one-upping Radiohead's record release strategy with the first single from its new record. The song, "Violet Hill," will be available, for free, on the band's Web site for one week, beginning at 7:15 a.m. EDT on Tuesday. Thereafter, the song goes on sale at digital retailers. As far as I know, the band will still charge monies for the full album, titled "Viva La Vida," and out June 17.

The band is also playing a free Madison Square Garden show for you yanks on June 23. Details on that are TBA.

Another music alert: Okkervil River performed a new song at/on WOXY last week. The song is up over at The Smudge of Ashen Fluff, along with three other live-in-the-studio tracks. I really like the acoustic "A King and a Queen," with accordion in place of the horn section.

Weekend lessons

No. 1: While you can hear "Mustang Sally" too many times (and, in fact, already have) you can never hear "People Get Ready" enough.

No. 2: The tines on a steel hand tiller are no match for Georgia clay.

No. 3: If you haven't listened to an album by Cake in three years, it's time. (I played their debut after posting the download link to "Ruby Sees All" last week. Forget how good that record is.)

Everyone have a great weekend?

25 April 2008

More 'Grand Theft Auto,' and a movie Queen

In today's column for the real newspaper, I talk about the forthcoming "Grand Theft Auto IV."

There's also a bit about Monday's Carmike 15 concert featuring Queen and Deep Purple. (I know: "Huh?")

Word writer, song writer

We were in Nashville, spending a short weekend with a good friend of mine who works at the paper there, the Tennessean. We're eating dinner in East Nashville and in the mood for a party, but — with all due respect to Music City — I don't like the country & western.

Earlier in the day, my friend, Linda, had tried to call Peter Cooper. He's one of the lead music writers there, and Linda's his boss. If anybody knows where we should head that night, it's Peter, we figure. He never called back, though, and I don't blame him. When you spend your whole workweek writing about something, sometimes you just want some distance on the weekend. Who are we to demand his advice, simply because we've got his cell?

Then into our restaurant bursts Peter Cooper, picking up a to-go order. What are the odds? He doesn't know me or Jenn, but he recognizes Linda and strides our way. He's got a big smile and he clutches our table with both of his hands. "Here you are!" he says to her. "I've been in every bar and restaurant in Nashville looking for you!"

That's Peter Cooper, ladies and gentlemen. And aside from being a quick wit and kick-ass writer of newspaper stories, he's a great singer-songwriter. His debut record, "Mission Door," is just out. Give it a spin, but brace yourself for a little twang and lots of steel guitars. The themes aren't surprising — with sentiments about whiskey, wine and growing older — but there are some great moments, including the bluesy folk of "Take Care" and the snarky wit laced into "Boy Genius." (The download below says the album's "Cautionary Tales," but that's the name for the European release.)

Cautionary TalesPeter Cooper
"Boy Genius" (mp3)
from "Cautionary Tales"
(Corazong Records)
Buy at eMusic

24 April 2008

Market daze

Got some details on the move of The Market, for Columbus diners.

The restaurant — which is inarguably the finest seafood restaurant in town — is moving from 17th Street and Manchester to First Avenue, downtown. There's about 50 percent more space and a huge built-in crowd for event nights (Springer, RiverCenter, Columbus State theater, you name it). So the move makes sense so long as its legion of regular patrons will follow.

Owner Jamie Gruber is shooting for a May 8 opening, and the place is looking great.

They'll be open for lunch (so "Hurray!" on behalf of all downtown workers). The fresh fish counter will still be in place, but the selection will probably shrink a bit — likely to just fresh fillets and whatever's special-ordered. The big downside is the place will lose its brown-bag license with the move. So there's no more bringing in your own bottle of wine. Sigh. Apparently the city doesn't issue said licenses any more. Jamie promises to have a broad wine selection, though, including bottles starting around $10.

Never been there? Try the sushi-grade tuna, rare, when they've got it. Or the prosciutto-wrapped halibut. They're both among the best meals I've had anywhere.

***
"Cuz when the seaweed sinks and the sun gets low,
When the waves retire to the darkness below,
I know, I know Ruby sees all"
Cake, "Ruby Sees All"

Motorcade of GenerosityCake
"Ruby Sees All" (mp3)
from "Motorcade of Generosity"
(Upbeat Records)
Buy at Rhapsody

Crazy like a Fox

FHM Magazine has just named its 100 Sexiest Women in the World. You'll never guess who's No. 1.

You'll never guess because you only know her from one movie: "Transformers." That's right, it's that plucky young Megan Fox. Now I know that guys, stereotypically, are very flavor-of-the-month. But is one breakout role in a popcorn-muncher of a movie really enough to elevate 21-year-old Fox above, say, Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johansson, or (Esquire's choice) Charlize Theron? What do we know about this woman as a person? What makes her tick? What are her passions?

Many might not even remember what she looks like. So let's have a picture...
Uhhhh. OK. Allow me to formally withdraw my objections...

23 April 2008

Snickers. Still not satisfied...

Here's the new candy bar that was calling to me in the break room. Snickers Charged...


That's right, it brags about caffeine, right there on the shiny silver label, near the rhino head popping out of the package (Mmmmm, pointy!). Could it be true, finally, that there is a candy bar equivalent of Jolt Cola, with a big burst of eye-opening goodness in every bite?

Eh. If you look at the ingredients,
caffeine is listed below things like salt and vegetable oil. So don't get too excited. It tastes just like a chocolaty version of a regular Snickers. Hardly the fun of a good, old-fashioned Jolt, with its playful "All the sugar and twice the caffeine!" motto. And I was still yawning.

Oh, and the mysterious "taurine" on the label? Sure it's in lots of energy drinks. It's also a large part of what's in bile. Sure glad I didn't learn that until after I finished eating it.

Are you satisfied?

Never could quite pinpoint what it was about the song that struck a nerve with me. Was it the way Paul Westerberg wailed — almost moaned — "Look me in the eye and tell me, I'm satisfied?", his cracking voice stretching out the last word as if it were tied down by blackened iron to a medieval rack.

Satiss-fie-eee-iiied?

Maybe it was the guitars that teetered between jangle and full-fledged power chords. Maybe it's just that I was 14 when I first heard The Replacements' "Unsatisfied." I dunno. But the song would become for me their defining cut. When I grab an album by the band, I grab "Let It Be," largely because of this song. The angst and the frustration of being both alive and incomplete are captured there in just four minutes and one second.

And not pinpointing why the song is so special is part of why it's so special.

In any case, it's good to see the album remastered and re-released on Tuesday. Other CDs to look for: Elbow, "The Seldom Seen Kid"; Jonathan Richman, "Because Her Beauty Is Raw and Wild"; Tokyo Police Club, "Elephant Shell."

22 April 2008

Old news

The best post-punk-country- rock band ever, the Old 97's, play live Thursday night on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." They'll play "Dance With Me," the first single from their new record, "Blame it on Gravity," due out May 13 on New West Records.

It's good. By which I mean the single, and the record (at least, based on 30-second sound clips of the whole dang thing).

***
"I hope you crash your mama's car.
I hope you pass out in some bar.
I hope you catch some kind of flu.
Let's say I wish the worst for you."
The Old 97's, "Wish The Worst"

Maybe next: 'Disturbia'?

I'll give up the pretense of not harping on Carmike Cinemas all the time. They must simply be morons. For five days now they've been advertising "Mr. Brooks" as the new release on its biggest screen at its best Columbus theater — the Carmike 15.

That's right, "Mr. Brooks." The Kevin Costner/Demi Moore movie that placed no better than No. 5 when it was actually released, on June 1, 2007. It's OK if you don't remember.

Needless to say, the movie's not showing at Carmike 15, and certainly not on the big screen, which is actually showing "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." I know the error was pointed out to the theater chain, because one of my co-workers pointed it out to them. So they either (a) don't look at their own ads in the paper, (b) don't know what movies are actually playing right now, or (c) don't care if they're providing their customers with wrong information. And by "or" I actually mean "and," since all three would have to be true for Carmike not to have caught the problem FIVE DAYS after the ad started running.

Demi Moore (l) needs more plastic surgery.

21 April 2008

Zoiks!

Here's the trailer for "Grand Theft Auto IV" -- available on your next-gen platform (PS3 and Xbox 360) on April 29. "GTA" geeks can get a load of many of the differences and improvements here. Guess I won't be playing it, until I shell out some dough for a new game system. Which will be when I can buy a new game system used. D'oh!

Anyway, it looks pretty intense. For mature audiences only, indeed.

What's your price for fright?

Good news about the forthcoming Night Ranger tour. I know, I know, sounds impossible — that there could be good news about a band what had two Top 10 hits in the mid-1980s, yet remains together and launches a new record and tour.

(Don't tell me you forgot about "Sentimental Street.")

Here's the good part: They're traveling nowhere near the Southeast. Sorry Oklahoma and Missouri. You're in for lots of Sister Christianing. My pick is the June 22 date in Texas with Styx and Boston. Craptastic!

The dates are as follows. May 11, Oklahoma City, Okla.; May 22, Trinidad, Calif.; May 25, St. Louis, Mo.; June 7, West Wendover, Nev.; June 14, San Juan, P.R.; June 19, Oshkosh, Wis.; June 20, Brookville, Ind.; June 21, Sioux City, Iowa; June 22, Woodlands, Texas; June 28, Cheyenne, Wyo.; July 2, Arlington Heights, Ill.; July 3, Hays, Kan.; July 4, Glenview, Ill.; July 5, Kettering, Ohio; July 6, San Jose, Ca.; July 11, Pryor, Okla.; July 12, Grapevine, Texas; July 19, Fort Smith, Ark.; July 25, St. Clair, Mich.; July 26, Maquoketa, Iowa; July 27, Lake Ozark, Mo.; Aug. 2, Rifle, Col.; Aug. 9, Windsor, Ont.; Aug. 10, Des Moines, Iowa; Aug. 17, St. Joseph, Mo.; Aug. 23, Tower, Minn.; Aug. 30, Pittsburgh, Penn.; Aug. 31, Sparks, Nev. ; Sept. 28, Jackpot, Nev.; Oct. 1, Tulsa, Okla.

Anyone else know that Troy Aikman is in Night Ranger?

***
"Out on Sentimental Street in the avenues
Take a good hard look
There ain't nothing ever new"
Night Ranger, "Sentimental Street"

Bada Bingbing

Jackie Chan. Jet Li. What's not to love about "The Forbidden Kingdom," right?

Jenn and I went to see it Sunday night. It was an enjoyable romp. Certainly it's aimed at a bit of a younger audience than us, though. I think it will rock the world of 15-year-olds. For us, it was just escapism: kind of a weak story, set around lots of great kung fu. Any time people start messing with time-travel plots, there's bound to be a few screw-ups. This one messes it up royally, but luckily that's almost an aside.

Oh, and I'm totally in lust with Li Bingbing, who plays a white-haired witch with a whip-and-hair fetish. She's the one in the picture about to put the smackdown on Shia LeBeouf look-alike Michael Angarano.

B is for Boogie. And belicious...

It was a weekend full of food, and music, and seeing old friends. And playing horseshoes and bocce with the most ghetto set of bocce balls even manufactured, then sold for $1.25 at a Kaybee Toys that was going out of business. They were actually filled with water. Were, I say, until they ruptured, turning the playing field into a Slip 'n Slide style water park.

I digress.

We had 13 people in our party, at Saturday's Old 280 Boogie in Waverly, Ala., and everyone brought to share. I made a gourmet mac and cheese recipe (for the second weekend in a row) and a giant tub o' salsa verde. And some rolled sandwiches with cream cheese. Mmmm.

The mac (shown here) was made with gruyere, gorgonzola and parmesan, and it seemed to be the big hit. I wish I could claim the recipe, but I found it here. Try it. You won't be sorry. Unless you're lactose intolerant, in which case you'll instantly die (there's also heavy cream in the sauce!).

18 April 2008

Won't you take me to Funkytown?

It's the Old 280 Boogie weekend, and I'm one psyched puppy.

Here are my weekend picks, including the Boogie, in nearby Waverly, Ala. Best part about the Boogie is packing a cooler of food (and beer beverages) to share with your friends. So far on my menu is gourmet mac & cheese and homemade salsa verde. I'll post recipes this weekend, if anyone wants 'em. Smart people do.

Second best thing about the Boogie is the free music, which includes the Pine Hill Haints and Martha's Trouble.

Talk at you guys soon.

17 April 2008

More Sean Costello cuts

Some songs to listen to. Man, I'm gonna miss this guy's blistering guitar work, that growling voice and the only sideburns longer than mine... We've now posted a cool picture and an eerie song sample with the news story.

I interviewed him twice. Once was in 2000, when I was a newbie at the Ledger. The other time was in 2006. They were both short chats, but he was insightful, forthcoming, and seemed to be generally tickled that he'd found a way to make a living playing one of America's least popular styles of music since he was in high school.

Was he frustrated that he couldn't find a wider audience? I asked him.

"It's only frustrating that there's so much bad music out there," he said.

The way he played the guitar, I half suspect he made some deal with the devil at the crossroads (Peachtree and Peachtree?). Sure hope not. But heck, all our friends are down there anyway, right?

The cuts are all from the last record, out earlier this year.

We Can Get TogetherSean Costello
"How in the Devil" (mp3)
from "We Can Get Together"
(DELTA GROOVE PRODUCTIONS)
Buy at Rhapsody


We Can Get TogetherSean Costello
"Can't Let Go" (mp3)
from "We Can Get Together"
(DELTA GROOVE PRODUCTIONS)
Buy at Napster


We Can Get TogetherSean Costello
"Anytime You Want" (mp3)
from "We Can Get Together"
(DELTA GROOVE PRODUCTIONS)
Buy at mTraks Download

Call the cops

Sean Costello
(1979-2008)
Blues great, old soul, boy toy to Susan Tedeschi

***
"Soon I will be done
with the trouble of this world
I'm going home, to live with God"
— Sean Costello, "Going Home"
(you can listen to a bit of this song at the link above...)

16 April 2008

New tour dates (Truckers hate the South?)

The Drive-By Truckers have just announced a new leg of their tour, and yet again they're not playing Atlanta. Instead, they're working the West, the frozen tundras up north, and parts of Canada. But there is a little somethin'-somethin' for us here in Dixie, too.

Singer Patterson Hood, that groveldy-voiced redneck Teddy bear (redneck Teddy bear = sweaty bear?), is playing a set of solo shows 'round here. Don't know why we didn't get more notice. Nevertheless, here are the gigs:

Wednesday, April 16: 40 Watt, Athens, Ga.
Thursday, April 17: The 5 Spot, Atlanta (w/Don Chambers of GOAT)
Friday, April 18: Mercy Lounge, Nashville
Saturday, April 19: Proud Larry's, Oxford, Miss. (w/Audra Brown)
Sunday, April 20: Birmingham, Ala., Workplay Theatre (w/Elliott McPherson of the Dexateens)

James: blunt

or,
The Curious Case of Whether There's
a New Record by the Band James


Seven years ago, after dismal sales of their record "Pleased to Meet You," Manchester act James cashed in. Rather, singer Tim Booth left, and the rest of the band didn't know what to do. The cruel irony is that the record was the finest of the band's already strong career. Anthemic. Sweeping. Propulsive. Free of filler.

So why the hell didn't anyone buy it? I dunno, except that on this side of the pond, people only know James from their hit "Laid." And most people only know "Laid" thanks to the "American Pie" movies. (So see, those movies were good for something.)

Anyway, the band is allegedly back. Allegedly because the new album, released last week in the UK and released yesterday stateside, doesn't seem to be, technically, available anywhere. Even Amazon.com (both the US and the UK variety) lists the brand new record as "temporarily out of stock" and there are no sound samples. Their record label doesn't list them among its staple of artists. Yesterday, the band's new Web site didn't work.

Not a good sign for what used to be a powerhouse arena act over yonder. The good news: The Web site seems to be working this morning, complete with song snatches to listen at. And it's good. Booth sounds as subtle as a pink Christmas tree, with lines like, "Hey, ma! The kids in body bags, coming home in pieces," all set to a sweet pop melodies. (Booth Luzianne-clear tenor is the reason I once said that it takes balls to sing like a girl.)

Anyway, give it a listen. You'll like. Unfortunately, the buy and download links aren't working yet. I'm gonna keep trying. "Pleased to Meet You" stayed in rotation for about three years and still gets frequent spins. I owe them a good effort to track down this record.

15 April 2008

Phenix City exposed

Here are a couple of photos I found in our archive when I was looking for stuff on the Phenix City vice smackdown of '54. Great photos, but we just didn't have space to use them alongside the Sunday and Monday stories. Alas.

But here they are, for all yous faithful blog readers:

This one is from July 1954, and it shows someone measuring a die (one that's crooked even to the naked eye, if'n you ask me).

Here's a pre-crackdown raid, circa 1952. Police found a bunch of gambling machines hiding out in this innocent barn. They're carted off, smashed up and burnt thereafter, reportedly. So reportedly not, repeat NOT, taken downtown to the honkytonks that openly featured gambling machines in their whiskey-soaked walls...

Wood you listen

I've been remiss not to mention this already for Columbusites who are/were fans of the band King Johnson, who frequented The Loft. But just out is an album called "Loaded," by The Wood Brothers. That's King Johnson frontman Oliver Wood and his brother, the more famous Chris Wood, of the jazz act Medeski, Martin & Wood.

It's their second proper record. Still, many probably didn't even know they were brothers. I think I mentioned it in one profile on KJ, years ago. But it was pretty clear that Oliver didn't want that gimmicking up his own deal. So be it. King Johnson was much more of a brassy blues and rock act anyway.

The music's whimsical, slow-going rock 'n' roll. So it's more King Johnson than MeMaW, but it's not as high-energy (which in this case leads to a lovely sound). Check out four tracks right heeyah. And next time you see Brad or Buddy at The Loft, ask them to book the brudders. And then go to the show. Then you can say you saw the Woods.

(Get it? Saw? The Woods?)

14 April 2008

Hey! Fever!

I'm not usually a pessimist.* But it seems like allergies have become worse these days. Now, you can cool it with the age cracks. I know allergies can develop or worsen with age, and I'm sure that's what's going on with me.

But I'm talking about allergies in general. When I was a kid, free of pollen-related snifflings, I don't remember anyone getting laid up with allergy problems. I'm left to ponder this today, home from work, in a bed, trying to concentrate on watching "No Country for Old Men" (thanks for the loaner, Roger) and finish a book.

Should be back to work tomorrow, and that should mean back the usual blogpace in the blogspace. (In my defense, I've been busy at work, too, doing a couple days of stories on the trials and tribulations of Phenix City in the 1950s.)

*this may be a lie

12 April 2008

Moulin Bruges

Huge line at the Peachtree 8 last night. I figured everyone was there to see "The Bucket List" or some other crap. Turns out, the art film Jenn and I were there to see, "In Bruges," had a full house. Happy.

The film, about a couple of criminals hiding out in Bruges a city in Belgium, was wonderful. I'm not sure everyone liked it, but judging from all the sardonic laughter, most of us did. Really, what's not to love? It's got hitmen, lots of "witty banter" (tm), hot prostitutes, dwarfs, and a cockney accent delivered by Ralph Fiennes. But the stars were Colin Farrell -- not as unlikeable as usual -- and Brendan Gleeson. So with Gleeson and Fiennes, someone correctly pointed out that is was Mad Dog and Voldemort, from Harry Potter filmdom, together again!

It's bloody in places, particularly near the end. But this film is highly recommended to fans of dark, funny gangstery stuff like "Sexy Beast." It's got a lot of parallels to "Pulp Fiction," too, but this is really a better film than that. In Columbus, it plays through Thursday. Unless it keeps packing the house, at which point maybe they'll keep it around.

Ralph Fiennes is about to turn this uppity Belgian into an effing inanimate object.

11 April 2008

Extra 'Hard'

Huh-huh, huh-huh. So the just-out DVD release of "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" comes in two editions. Regular and the ingeniously named bonus-disc edition, "The Unbearably Long, Self-Indulgent Director’s Cut."

I'm tempted to get that one just for the name. But here's the other kicker: It's priced just $1.01 more than the predecessor. Yeah, I know I just wrote a column lambasting useless bonus material. At least this one is a joke.

(Best line from the movie, uttered by Elvis Presley: "It's called karate, man. Only two kinds of people know it, the Chinese and the King, and one of them is me.")

09 April 2008

Take me to the other side dish

When Joe Perry's not rockin' your world on stage, as the guitarist for Aerosmith, he's rockin' the world of your mouth. Apparently.

Yesterday around the office were pondering the forthcoming "American Idol" performance of "Dream On" by Michael Johns. And that led a couple of us to wonder, out loud, whether Joe Perry had recently had a knee replacement or somesuch. So Jeff googles Joe Perry and comes up with this, as he terms it, "the best Web site ever."

Per Perry's words on the site, "I'm often asked how and why I got into the hot sauce business. ... Over the years, hot sauce has been one more thing to make life more exciting."

Uh huh.

Seems you can get a quesadilla (Spanish for "cheesedilla") served with Perry's patented hot sauce at your local Hard Rock Cafe.


Ironic that Ragu, not Joe Perry's Rock Your World Hot Sauce, sponsored this clip...

08 April 2008

Kitty galore!

Thanks, Meg.
What's new, pussycat, is that awesome hairstyle. Wigs for cats, can you believe it? It's all courtesy of Kittywigs.com, god help us. The Pink Passion model (pictured below) is the mover, apparently, but there's an Electric Blue that's also smashing. Shades of Jennifer Garner in "Alias." All the toms will be saying, "Here, kittykittykitty!"

The wig descriptions can be quite entertaining. Here's a snippet from the Pink Passion page:

Pink is the color of fantasy. Our model, Chicken, looks like her mind is elsewhere when she wears this wig — somewhere in a land of cotton candy and pinwheels where the air smells like sugar kisses.

Or, somewhere where she can get her claws on her owner's throat for (a) making her wear a frickin' wig, for crying out loud, and (b) naming her Chicken.

I'm dying to see what one of these does to a hairless manx, who would otherwise be forced to walk around genetically bald, like some sort of feline Bruce Willis.

"Am I your pussycat?
I know what's new
It's the oldest hat in the book"
Sam Phillips, "Animals On Wheels"

Awesome possum

Thanks, Lee
So the Wall Street Journal ran a story about eco-friendly furs. They're making these furs out of an invasive species, brushtail possum, that they're trying to get rid of in New Zealand. They're not the rat-tailed, bitey little possums found around here. They're actually kind of cute. (Look at the left picture for a minute, would ya'?)

The problem, though, is twofold, illustrated wonderfully by author Christina Binkley, who writes, "The plush pelts sewn into an Eco-Luxury couch throw here at my desk are soft and luxurious. But when people heard they were possum, two different reactions ensued: 'Ewww, fur' and 'Ewww, possum.'"

I'll have to tell y'all the story about Possum Day in Wassau, Fla., sometime soon. Meanwhile, here's the WSJ piece.