30 June 2008

Shout it out loud

Looks like I got kind of a shout-out on this guy's blog. Or, at least I think it's a shout-out. Kinda hard to tell for sure, and it almost sounds like he's saying that columnist Tim Chitwood and I are conservative voices at the paper, and that can't be true.

But hey, thanks Richard.

'We Love Breasts. We Want to Save Breasts'

That up there's the genius slogan of the Margarita Wrestling Association, a group that obviously loves margaritas, too.

The concept is deliciously simple. Basically, imagine female mud wrestlers — or Jell-o wrestlers, or foam wrestlers, or any other woman+lubricant type of event — and replace the mud with a sloshing pool of margarita mix. Ready, girls? GO! (And make a lot of noise while you're at it...) They do this all to raise money for breast cancer research, which seems more fitting than the spandex suits worn in the pool. It all makes for a happy referee, too, as evidenced by this photo.

There's an annual July 4 match coming up. It's on Hermosa Beach. Sadly, that's far away.

Write or wrong?

We watched "WALL*E" over the weekend. (My one-word review: "Go.") There were tons of previews for horrible looking movies, including this one full of -- no lie -- talking chihuahuas. Or, I should say, rapping chihuahuas.


I swear, who thought this was a good enough idea to spend what must've been $200 million in digital dog mouths for this, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua"...? Disney has lost its mind.

The most idiotic moment came during the preview for the well-reviewed "Kitt Kittredge: An American Girl." Near the end, there's a title card that flashes onscreen that says, "from one of the writers of 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.'"

One of the writers? Hmmm. Maybe this is true, but it's clearly not, you know, the writer. That would be C.S. Lewis. Since when did the screenwriter of a movie based on a famous book become "one of the writers." It's an insult to the guy who came up with the idea and actually wrote the book. Or it would be, if he were still alive.

29 June 2008

Sunday Spins

It's CD shuffle time. No theme this week. Just good, old stuff that I haven't put in the player in too long. In the rotation:


* Billy Pilgrim, "In the Time Machine": Criminally underheard duo who were sort of unsportingly dubbed the Indigo Boys when they formed. They're fantastic songwriters and tear the hell out of guitars, though. This was their last studio record, from 2001, and it's more symphonic than their earlier work. This sounds like it was influenced equally by "The Joshua Tree" and "OK Computer." Which is OK by me. In the opening track, Andrew Hyra growls, "Know you wanna be with me, baby. Why you say goodbye?" The other guy in the group, Kristian Bush, went on to form the country act Sugarland with Jennifer Nettles and Kristen Hall.

* Charlie Sexton Sextet, "Under the Wishing Tree": On this album, roots/blues rocker Sexton puts out a vibe like The Wallflowers, a year before the 'flowers ever charted a single. Tonio K., who is a songwriting god, co-wrote half of the 12 songs, and James McMurtry helped pen one, too.

* Seventy Sevens, "Sticks and Stones": Too heavy for Christian music, too Christian for the radio was the old adage about the Sevens. The latter statement's not true, though. They're best work always talked about love and longing, but in indistinct -- and more universal -- terms. An exception on this disc is "God Sends Quails," but with its gloomy verses repeatedly stating, "You've failed. Tried half-hearted and failed again," it doesn't feel like he's preaching salvation. This was an odds-and-ends collection that turned out to be maybe their finest work.

* Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "Echo": The first proper album ("She's the One" soundtrack rightfully excluded) after the phenomenal "Wildflowers." I dug this out because singer/guitarist Mike Quinn played "Counting On You" at Peg Leg Pete's on the beach a couple weeks ago. Love that song.

* Sam Phillips, "Zero Zero Zero": The contractual last album for Phillips with Virgin records. It was supposed to be a best-of. But she remixed five of the tracks and threw three new ones on, and it seems to have a life in its own right. Most ironic: The song "Zero Zero Zero!" isn't even on here. ... She's got a brand new record out. I've got it ordered but it hasn't arrived yet. This is a stopgap for me.

27 June 2008

Asparagi by the dashboard light

I figured Mars soil would be best for growing candy bars with almonds in them. But no. According to these reports, it's actually well-suited for growing, of all things, asparagus.

Which would be great if the soil were here on Earth. But — maybe you already know this — it's butt-ass cold on Mars. That's why they found ice on Mars, but not water.

Now I'm off to find me one of them Mars Bars.

26 June 2008

Duck of Earle

The scrolling LED behind the singer read "Bent strings make bent souls," which seemed fitting considering the guy on stage was actually kicked out of insurgent country hellraiser Steve Earle's band. This singer is tall and lanky — "six-seven, 110 pounds," guesses Ching, who coaxed me into going to the show — and knows his way around a methadone clinic.

It's Earle's son, Justin Townes Earle. It's Wednesday night at Auburn's Strutting Duck. He doesn't even come on until almost 11, Central, which makes for a real late night for this Eastern time zone blogger. But it's worth every hour of lost mid-week sleep.

With a voice that's a little deeper than his diddy's and a song style that owes more to Hank Williams Sr., Earle paces nervous semicircles on the tiny corner stage, occasionally punctuating the music with booming, irregular boot stomps on the hollow stage floor.

I'd say young Earle is destined to be a star. But that's the kind of talk people used to say around Steve, too, so maybe we should just give the kid a break and not put the weight of the world on him. He's good, though. Very good. Download a song from his album, "The Good Life," here.

***
The Galway Girl - The Best Of Sharon Shannon (w/Steve Earle)Sharon Shannon, Steve Earle
"The Galway Girl" (mp3)
from "The Galway Girl - The Best Of Sharon Shannon"
More On This Album

25 June 2008

Gun ho!

Thanks, Meg.
Don't know why it's taken me a couple days to pass on this story, about an Alabama militia group that made a loads and loads of their own weapons!

The so-called "Alabama Free Militia" stockpiled 130 homemade hand grenades and about 70 grenades rigged to be fired from a rifle. (Sweeeeeeet...)

I've got a great shirt I bought at Standard Deluxe that says "Waverly Militia" on it. It was a joke. But now I'm kinda scared to wear it, for fear of it being confused with these yokels. And you Sweet Home Alabamans owe me for not making any jokes about the Dixieland here...

***
"Oh, Alabama
Banjos playing

through the broken glass"

Neil Young, "Alabama"

24 June 2008

Big Gay Al

Al Fleming once called me a friend of his, in one of his on-air commentaries. It was after I'd written a long feature on the former newscaster/bar owner on his retirement. I didn't write it to be his friend. I wrote it because I thought he was an interesting person, even if you hated him. Whatever. I did think he was a nice, personable guy. But I'm white and have a wife.

And it makes me itch uncontrollably when he says things like this, in his recent commentary on WLTZ. (Dammit. Can't figure out how to imbed the video. You'll have to click the link to watch.)

Now, I'm straight. But I've got a fair number of friends who aren't. Hey, gay guys tend to run in the same circles as artsy, liberal-ish people -- go figure. So I'm just wondering what Al thinks about being friends with a friend of The Gays.

Rude, Crue'd and contemptible

Today, at long last, we have an all-new Motley Crue record. The first with the band's classic lineup since "Dr. Feelgood." So how good is "Saints of Los Angeles"?

Uh, it's just as good as most Crue records, I'll say that. There are two (2) songs that have the abbreviation "M.F." in the title. And my favorite song, titlewise, is one called "Chicks=Trouble." But either my tastes have gotten a lot more complex, or the '80s formula for heavy metal hasn't aged well. Not to mince words, but the album is boring as crap.

Maybe all those bands' trick was to confuse us with their costumes — the hairsprayed and teased skyward-climbing locks of hair, the leather codpieces, the jauntily-draped chain belts — until we didn't notice how crappy the music actually was.

The Crue never seemed to fall victim to the most egregious of fashion faux pas, though. I'm speaking, of course, about the heavy metal boot. You know, the short little bootlet, usually made of suede or leather, often cuffed, and shorter in the back than in the front. Let's take a tour of the brief history of said boot, as demonstrated by several sucky bands.

Before we start our tour, though, it's important to set the baseline. Here, for instance, is the band Night Ranger demonstrating shoe (and clothing) styles that are even worse than the heavy metal bootlet.On the cover of what must be a 2-track "Greatest Hits" EP, two are wearing snake skin boots, a fashion choice that aged far better than the poofy-shouldered jackets that they look uncomfortable wearing. The guy in the middle is wearing what at first glance appear to be white heavy metal boots. But they're actually loose-laced tennis shoes. So he's ready to hit an audition for a breakdancing movie right after this photo session. And I'll just leave the beret alone...

On to the boots. Check out this example, from Bon Jovi's eponymous 1984 debut:
Sexy, sexy boots there, Jon. It's particularly nice how you tuck your jeans inside the boots. And thanks for taking the time to look at the camera before going to get your hooker... It all becomes clear when one analyzes the album's almost confessional single, "Runaway," wherein Mr. Jovi sings, "Daddy's girl learned fast, all those things he couldn't say." Mmm-hmm.

Here's another good example from Cinderella.I feel kinda bad making fun of the guy in the white bootlets, since the guy in the traditionally styled red boots is so frickin' ridiculous. "Nobody's Fool"? Don't be so sure, guys. So let's just move on to the single most offensive example of metal boot. It comes from the cover of Autograph's third abum, 1987's "Loud and Clear":
Take a look at the footwear on the guy on the far left. (Forgive me for not knowing the members of Autograph by name.)

Yes, that's right. They're blue.

What's that button do?

So one of the selling points about riding a scooter, from scoot-fans, is how easy they are to work on yourself, I was told, back before buying Donkey.

That was two years ago, and I hadn't had to do anything to my trusty Kymco. But I cracked the lens over the speedometer (a piece of wood above it in the carport fell and exacted retribution on it for some unknown offense), and having ordered the replacement part I set out for my first scoot project. It wasn't too, too hard, I thought. Had to file away some plastic to get the new piece to fit just right. Had to figure out how the casings snap together and such.

I get it all back together, and Donkey won't start. The engine turns and turns, but it's like there's no spark. I break for lunch and rack my brain trying to figure out what I could've done to kill my scoot. I pull the spark plug — it looks bad. So I go on a trip around town trying to find a new plug to fit it. It took four stops, including three auto parts places and a scooter store.

I put the new plug in. Nothing.

So I break the scooter back down, trying to figure out if I shorted out a wire or something... I've got all the parts loose when I notice the kill switch near the throttle got bumped to "off." The same kill switch that I've never used and, honestly, forgot was there. I throw it back to "on." The bike starts like a dream. Of course, it was now in pieces and all.

It leaves me wondering if Donkey is really the name of the scooter. Maybe it's more appropriate for its rider.

23 June 2008

She kissed a girl, too

A couple of weeks ago, when a friend told me about hearing that new song by some woman, "I Kissed a Girl," I gently corrected her. That's Jill Sobule, I told her, and it's not new. It's probably 10 thirteen years old. ... Color me stupid. I hadn't heard Katy Perry's new song, "I Kissed a Girl" at the time.

The songs are very different. Sobule sings about her encounter with an almost sing-songy dismissal. "I kissed a girl, her lips were sweet. She was just like kissing me," she explains in the song. It seems designed to break down barriers.

The one by Perry (shown left, and hot even when covered in dirt) derives its very power from the taboo that Sobule seemed to be trying to quash. Perry's is a mysterious experience shrouded in almost Alanis Morissette-like production. "I kissed a girl, just to try it," she breathes. "I kissed a girl, and I liked it."

So is there room in the world for all this girl-on-girl kissing?

You betcha.

Shit!

George Carlin
1937-2008
Comedian, social critic, bad actor, pottymouth

Stuff in the paper

So sue me.

Or just click here to read last Friday's column about four places to get food in downtown Columbus, all of which are called some variant of "The Market."

Want more? Well, here's a package I put together (with some AP help) on the Tuskegee Airmen, talking about the creation of the national historic site -- just in time, potentially, for help in filming George Lucas' movie on the men. It's in today's paper.

19 June 2008

And I want to paint it black

Never seen the Stones in concert. I love 'em. But in the great Beatles/Stones tug-of-war, I was always in the Fab Four's camp. But "Ruby Tuesday," "As Tears Go By," and most of their original early-to-mid-'60s stuff is awesome. I'm choosy about the later stuff. Still, always wondered what I missed when I passed on my chance at seeing the "Steel Wheels" tour...

Luckily, Martin Scorsese's "Shine A Light" made me feel like I've seen them in live. Don't go expecting a Dylanesque bio. There's very little of that stuff (though it's precisely chosen and quite revealing). Once it's 30 minutes in and the music starts, it's mostly a concert film.

I kept contrasting it to the other concert film I've seen recently, "U2-3D." Where that one felt as large as the arena it was filmed in, this one feels close and intimate, and not just because it was shot in a small theater. It's got everything to do with Marty's artistry. That's really what makes it special. They're probably the biggest, most-deserving arena act on the planet, and here we are looking up their cavernous, wrinkled nostrils.

The film's last shows in Columbus are tonight at the Peachtree 8. Go if you've got a buck to spare. Dress lightly, as the airco was busted Wednesday night.

***
"There's that look in you eye
I know what you're thinking
It's just like the '60s to me
You paint it all black"
Daniel Amos, "Walls of Doubt"

18 June 2008

Maddening

Are you ready for some lawsuit?!?

Gamers finally got p.o.'d enough at EA Sports' exclusive rights to create NFL football games that they've filed a class-action lawsuit against the giant video game company. You might remember that EA sold its "Madden 2005" game for $30, after competing "NFL 2K5" was priced at $20. To prevent the same from happening thereafter, they purchased exclusive rights to NFL players, team names, logos, etc., then priced new games 70 percent higher (per the lawsuit). Here's a post over on Gameworld Network.

Go get 'em, I say.

I've always thought it was criminal that EA made you pay full-price for essentially an updated roster. I always thought a better model (for players, at least) would be to make a new NFL engine, priced at say $60, every five years, and sell $20 roster updates every year. That brings the average cost of the game to $32 a year.

There's the beef

Holy cow! At Turner Field on Friday, the Chick-fil-A chain unveils a 40-foot-tall cow that will do the Braves' famous Tomahawk Chop.

The giant cow, shown here en route to the Atlanta stadium, is wearing a Braves cap and carrying a sign with the phonically correct phrase, “Du Tha Chop. Eat Tha Chikin.” Mighty brave (ahem) of a cow to be carrying a hatchet, I think. Hopefully drunk and hungry fans won't deleriously see the big cow as a potential 15,000-pounder...

She makes her first ceremonial chop at 7:15 p.m. Friday, just before the Bravos play the Seattle Mariners.

17 June 2008

You gotta be kidding

How did this not end up on ESPN 8, "The Ocho"? The USA Rock Paper Scissors League — that's right, there's a league — has negotiated the rights to air their third annual tournament on Fox Sports, as a "Best Damn Sports Show Period" special.

The competition is this weekend, with the special to be aired in October. So RPS is not as hot of a fake sport as, say, poker is. At least not yet. Tune in and you'll see engaging competition scenes such as this:
And there are even official, I swear to god, Girls of Rock, Paper, Scissors, shown here. (Mmmmm, Paper...) Their moms must be so proud.

What's next? I'm predicting a movie on the spectacle starring Christopher Walken.

16 June 2008

Gas saver

Thanks, Joe Paull
This little piece of genius advertising is in a Columbus area classified newspaper. Classic.
Think I might go for a test drive, to see what that "Strato Freeze A/C" is all about.

Doggone it

Thanks (?), several folks.
Awww, poor little guy. A New York street sweeper actually swept up a Boston terrier. Craziness. And what's with the guy refusing to turn off his whirling brushes?

My sympathies to the pet owner. Losing one through something as stupid as this must be terrible

And since the "X-Files" movie is coming out soon, I'll pitch one conspiracy theory. New York street sweeper. Boston terrier. Coincidence...?

***
"And a boy and his father
Went out looking for the lost dog
You know, what haven't they learned
Since they did that together
They did not bring him back

He already had departed

But look at everything they have learned
Since that very day."

Van Morrison, "Redwood Tree"

14 June 2008

Bad news

Tim Russert
1950-2008
Newsman, class act, man with a huuuuge noggin

13 June 2008

Stuff in the paper: Killer tomatoes?

So the New York Post had one of its racy covers the other day, proclaiming the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, what with the salmonella scare! It's a funny cover (shown here). But the story's got a fatal flaw.

The opening two paragraphs present a vignette where a McDonald's diner bites into a hamburger that sans 'mater. "It's disgusting!" she exclaims.

The problem? Only one hamburger on the Mickey D's menu actually contains a tomato -- the little-ordered Big N' Tasty burger. No tomato on the Big Mac. None on the Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Of course, there's the chance that she didn't usually eat at McDonald's, so she would've always found it disgusting...

Anyways, here's a story I wrote for today's Ledger-Enquirer about the tomato shortage.

Here's today's column, on the career disintegration of M. Night Shyamalan.

Oh, and here's my weekend picks.

12 June 2008

Veggie-saurus cinema

My wife's a plant-and-fish eater, exclusively. Me, I like the meats.

But PETA has just released a list of 10 movies to "Make You Go Meatless." Yeah, they're freaks, but sometimes they've got a sense of humor. (And I'm waaaaay for the ethical treatment of animals. Even food-animals.) Here's the list of movies, annotated where I couldn't resist:

* "Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead" (2008).
* "Soylent Green" (1973): Uh, the message here is really 'Don't eat Soylent Green.' Cuz, you know, it's people.
* "Babe" (1995). Poor widdle piggy...
* "Delicatessen" (1991).
* "Fast Food Nation" (2006).
* "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (1974). Granted, this will make you not want to eat human meat. If you ever had the urge...
* "Super Size Me" (2004). Message here? Don't eat like a moron.
* "Chicken Run" (2000). Eh. Go ahead and fry up some Mel Gibson. See if I care...
* "Sweeney Todd" (2007). Pies are only meant to have fruit in them, anyways.
* "I Am an Animal" (2007). It's about PETA founder Ingrid E. Newkirk. Which is why you've not heard of it.

OK. There you go. Discuss (or disgust) ...

Holy crap

Thanks, Rhonda
It's worth the watch. And safe at work. And one of the most effective PSAs I've ever seen.

11 June 2008

Spin city

World-class DJ Roonie G, who for some reason is still slumming in Columbus, Ga., despite regular gigs in Vegas and such, has been nominated at one of DJ Times magazine as one of America's Best DJs for 2008.

Now Roonie, who was one of the first guys to use a digital turntable with CDs and a pioneer as a video DJ, just needs people to vote for him. The DJ Times Web site is here, and the page what has the ballots is over here. You can vote for up to five, but unless you want to cancel out your vote for the local boy, I'd suggest just one... He's up against the likes of The Crystal Method and Moby, by the way.

And if you're interested in more about Mr. G — including his forthcoming date at Atlanta nightclub Opera — check out his own page on the Interweb.

10 June 2008

Brad SMASH!

Comic aficionados — as in comic books, not those who frequent the Laugh Factory — will want to tune into Starz tonight at 10 p.m. for "Comic Books Unbound." Just in time for this weekend's release of a Hulk movie that looks just as crappy as the first one.

The docu's larger purpose it to explore the "evolution and revolution" of Hollywood's take on comic books. But many will want to watch for the interviews with "Hellboy II" cast — Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Guillermo del Toro — and behind-the-scenes footage of that film, the new Batman and more. To kick things off, the network is also showing "Spider-Man 3" at 7:40 p.m., and following the documentary comes "Ghost Rider" at 11 p.m.

Yes, those are two movies that will make the documentary look even better. But it's a good watch, even though they do the annoying Byron Allen trick of pumping action-style techno-lite music behind the interviews to give an artificial sense of energy to the talking heads. It's the new millennium's laugh track.

Adbustertising

If you've not seen the Web site Adbusters, go spend a little time there reading the articles by a collection of "artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age."

I found this piece on the dangers of social networking interesting — if maybe a bit overblown. It comes at a time when I was specifically thinking about dropping out of both MySpace and Facebook. Not for reasons regarding paranoia, mind you, but just to simplify my life.

Best of all is their collection of spoof ads, like the ones here showing the "true colors of Benetton," and the real Marlboro Malboro Country. The Calvin Klein ads are priceless, too...

***
FaithlessnesslessJohn Parkes
"Cigarette" (mp3)
from "Faithlessnessless"
(AAZ Records)
Buy at Amazon

09 June 2008

'I think it's the same dog!'

thanks, Meg
The dog days of summer pale next to what I'll call, for lack of a better idea, the loon days of June for one unlucky rottweiler in Tornado Alley. The dog, Chase, actually got picked up in a twister, spun around a few times, then deposited — alive but extremely dizzy — about a block away.

"People started coming up and saying, 'We saw your dog in flight,'" said owner Sandra Holmes.

Here's the story, courtesy of Chicago's CBS2.

In related news, the makers of Flying Dog Ale are suing Holmes and Chase for theft of intellectual property.

Cruise-ing

The 24-Hour Plays went off smashingly last night. Some hilarious stuff. Sure, I'm biased, but the one that Jenn stage-managed was the best. It was called "Killing Time." I'll add in the writers' and director's names here later. Can't remember them right now, but one of the writers played Algernon in their production of "The Importance of Being Earnest" last month. Miranda "Bunbury" Baras and Brian Johnson wrote the play, and Haley Rice directed it.

Each set of writers apparently was given a random pop-culture magazine from which to draw inspiration. So maybe it's no surprise that two of the plays focused on Tom Cruise being in the closet. Kudos to Chuck Leonard for hamming up the role of Sean Connery as a male prostitute. Each of those plays also had a compulsive donut-eater as comic relief (Kirstie Alley in one, Oprah in the other). Mmmmm, donuts.

There was a good crowd, but there were still some empty seats. Fill one of them next time ChattShakes tries to pull this off. Congrats to Troy Heard and his company.

07 June 2008

Sunday Spins (Saturday night edition)

Jenn's stage managing a play for the Chattahoochee Shakespeare Co. tomorrow. (Go see. It'll be fun. They're writing, casting and producing five 10-minute plays in 24 hours.) Anyway, she'll be outta pocket all day, so she asked for an early set of Sunday Spins, and here it is.

*Fastball, "The Harsh Light of Day": After the pseudo-novelty hit "The Way," these guys buckled down and recorded a great set of hard-driving alt-rock. It went, criminally, almost unheard. (New record due out sometime this year.)

*The V-Roys, "Just Add Ice": The first full-length from alt-country rockers who were signed by Steve Earle. After the band broke up, singer Scott Miller's gone on to record three great solo recs, but this has maybe my favorite song of his, "Goodnight Loser."

*Weezer, "Maladroit": Jenn loves the Green Album. So much that she's not listened to their other ones enough. While not as good as Green, Blue or "Pinkerton," it's still an excellent set. "Take Control" rawks.

*Whiskeytown, "Stranger's Almanac": I bought this sleepy country-rock record when it came out, in '97, after reading a couple of glowing reviews. It was my introduction to Ryan Adams. Didn't know what to think at first, but it grew on me a lot. "Houses on the Hill" is the cut that first penetrated. Good stuff.

*The Original Harmony Ridge Creek Dippers, eponymous: This is the band that The Jayhawks' Mark Olson formed with his then-wife, the more-famous Victoria Williams, after he left the 'hawks. A lonesome, almost mournful record (also from 1997) that has aged incredibly well.


***
"When you dance with him
You look so thin
That I can almost look through you to see
When you dance with him
I see losers win
And a loser's who they're not supposed to be
Goodnight you loser
you midnight moonlight user
It's time for you to try and fall asleep"
-- The V-Roys, "Goodnight Loser"

06 June 2008

The pick-up line I never used

The Bradley fighting vehicles rolled by the back of the office yesterday, so it was easy for us to cover. The flashbacks to James Garner in "Tank" were quite painful.

Which reminds me, I am remiss that I got married before I ever got to use the best pickup line I could ever have concocted: "Hey, baby. Wanna go for a ride on a Bradley?"

OK, OK. Maybe that wouldn't have worked so well anyways. Here's a woman with a great concept for the next generation of Bradleys.

Stuff in the paper

In today's Ledger-Enquirer, I've got a column on the Importance of Being Weezer, and a piece on George Lucas turning his attention to the story of the Tuskegee Airmen.

It'll be interesting to watch the World War II fighter pilots take their seats in tie fighters and X-wings, I say.

05 June 2008

Raiders of the Lost Bark

Then I'm telling the snake story, detailed below, to some co-workers. One of them, Nick, says his parents' dog ate a snake whole the other day. Then the dog threw up the snake and it slithered off.

An amazing story, yes. It's even more amazing when you as the inevitable, "What kind of dog was it?"

"A dachshund," he says.

(You listening, Maggie & Bandit?)

Snakes alive!

I'm driving the scoot to work this morning, and I swerve to avoid a branch on the road in the The Bibb. Then I do a double-take and swing back around for a closer look. It's a four-foot long snake, right on the middle of the road. Gray, with mottles down its back. Kind of like a B&W version of a rattler (but no rattle). So I'm not too worried. Not a rattlesnake. Not a cottonmouth. Not a copperhead.

But one of the old ladies in one of the houses comes out. I point to it and say, "Don't get too close. I don't know what kind it is." She scurries to her neighbor's door, and she comes out and asks me to kill it. "I'm not riding over it in the scooter," I say. They motion over a meter-reader guy in a truck, and he agrees to run it over. He runs over it and I hear its back crack as he rears up and strikes at the tires. He's slithering madly away and the guy backs over him again. CRACK!

Still, the snake keeps going. He goes under the first old lady's car, and I watch as he slithers up her tire and disappears. I ask her to pull the car forward to suss him out and she throws me her keys. I move the car. He's still hiding up in there. I take a peek and see him at the top of the wheel well. So the second lady gets me a stick with a metal prong on the end. I try to pull him out, but he climbs up higher and disappears completely.

I shrug my shoulders. "I'm sure he's harmless," I say, "and he can't get inside the car, so don't worry about that."

I look him up online and it's a harmless gray rat snake. "You should've just left him alone," Chitwood tells me. And he's right. Poor little guy. Last I heard, the ladies had called Animal Control to get him out.

***
"Now the revenue man wanted grandaddy bad
He headed up the holler with everything he had
It's before my time but I've been told
He never came back from Copperhead Road"
Steve Earle, "Copperhead Road"

04 June 2008

They play 'Aqualung' at the reception, right?

According to a release from the Pensacola Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, my old stomping grounds is a hotspot for the trendiest wedding themes, including Seaside Chic, Bayside Bride, Southern Belle (where my suggestion for the vow is "Frankly, my dear, I do."), Marina Marriage, Historic Moments, blah blah blah.

Here's the good one: Underwater Weddings. According to the release, "Couples can tie the knot scuba style with a ceremony conducted underwater at the USS Oriskany, the world’s largest artificial reef. Captain Ron Beermünder of Pensacola Dive Company is not only a dive instructor, he’s an ordained minister."

Now, I have some fundamental questions about being married by someone named "Captain Ron," but maybe that's just my own issues with Kurt Russell. But this guy's last name clearly means "more beer." So you'd have to wonder if you were having trouble understanding the minister because he's slurring his words or because of the bubbles...

03 June 2008

Hold on to that feel-ay-eee-in

Never mind that Radiohead's got a new best-of out, with a 13-track bonus disc of stuff that's not on albums. Never mind that the Weezers have just released one of their best records today. (Guess what it's called...)

Here are today's two releases that I know that, deep down, you really care about:

Bret Michaels, "Rock My World": That's right, Brett Michaels. Of the band Poison.
Journey, "Revelation": That's right, Journey. As in "Open Arms." Best part? This album introduces a new lead singer, named Arnel Pineda. There's 11 new songs, 11 re-recorded greatest hits and a DVD of a live concert. Woo hoo!!!???

There was a priceless Journey moment in last night's triple OT Stanley Cup finals. The DJ is playing "Don't Stop Believin'" over the sound system, and little Steve Perry sings, "Just a small-town girl..." and then they cut the music, because the puck's dropped. But 30,000 hockey fans sing the next line, "livin' in a lonely world..."

It was (sniff-sniff) beautiful.

02 June 2008

Diddley deadilly

Bo Diddley
(1928-2008)
Blues/rock legend, luthier, karate champeen

***
Here's the story, with some great photos.

Staging a comeback

This just in on the Okkervil River front: A new record out early September and a whole slate of new shows, including ones in Birmingham, Ala., and Athens, Ga. Yeehaw!

This appears to be a fully-formed and expanded version of the songs that originally were slated to make the second half of "The Stage Names" double-disc, back before they pared it down to a single platter. Don't think these are rejects, though. Folks who bought "Black Sheep Boy Appendix" EP were stunned to find songs that were, in some cases, stronger and more powerful than the ones on the proper album.

So anyways, here's what's on the band's Web site:

We are very happy to announce the release of The Stand Ins, which will come out via Jagjaguwar this fall (September 9 in the US and October 13 in the UK and Europe). Track list is below. We are really proud of this album and can't wait to share it with you all.

01 The Stand Ins, One
02 Lost Coastlines
03 Singer Songwriter
04 Starry Stairs
05 Blue Tulip
06 The Stand Ins, Two
07 Pop Lie
08 On Tour With Zykos
09 Calling and Not Calling My Ex
10 The Stand Ins, Three
11 Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed on the Roof of the Chelsea Hotel, 1979

And here are the tourdates:
* Sept. 12: Lawrence, Kan. - The Bottleneck
* Sept. 13: Omaha, Neb. - Slowdown
* Sept. 14: Madison, Wis. - Barrymore Theater
* Sept. 15: Fargo, N.D. - Aquarium
* Sept. 17: Seattle - The Showbox
* Sept. 18: Vancouver, B.C. - Richards on Richards
* Sept. 19: Portland, Ore. - Crystal Ballroom
* Sept. 21: San Francisco - Treasure Island Festival
* Sept. 23: Los Angeles - Henry Fonda Theatre
* Sept. 24: Solana Beach, Ca. - Belly Up Tavern
* Sept. 26: El Paso, Texas - The Blue Iguana
* Sept. 26-28: Austin, Texas - Austin City Limits Music Festival
* Sept. 30: New Orleans - The Republic
* Oct. 1: Birmingham, Ala. - Matthew's Bar & Grill
* Oct. 2: Athens, Ga. - 40 Watt Club
* Oct. 4: Richmond, Va. - The National
* OCt. 6: New York - Webster Hall
* Oct. 7: New York - Webster Hall
* Oct. 8: Northampton, Mass. - Pearl Street Nightclub
* Oct. 9: Millvale, Penn - Mr. Smalls Theatre
* Oct. 10: Buffalo, N.Y. - Tralf Music Hall
* Oct. 11: Montreal, Queb. - Les Saints
* Oct. 12: Toronto, Ont. - Phoenix