31 July 2008

Copycats

A dog has "adopted" three tiger cubs at a Kansas zoo, reports the Associated Press. Coolest part is the photo:
Well, it'd be coolest except for the fact that the whole trans-species rearing thing is passe ever since a little Tori Amos CD known as "Boys For Pele":
She should've called it "Girls for Piggy," I think. ... That's right. You forgot Tori Amos let a piglet suckle on her bosom, didn't you? Tried to block it from your mind, but it was still there, tucked somewhere beside the memory of Eddie Murphy's musical career, the phrase "Shall we play a game?" and the name of Salt-n-Pepa's DJ.

30 July 2008

The dark ages

Oh my sweet dear lord.

I think the best part about the above story (10-word summary for the lazy clickers: Man arrested trying to recycle a light pole for cash) is that the guy tied it precariously to his truck and drove to the recyclery. Which is probably a bad enough idea, but he did all this with a suspended license.

Still, not sure he should've been charged with grand theft.

29 July 2008

Miley High Club

LifeStyles, the condom manufacturer, is testing the mettle of young teen star Miley Cyrus, who pledged that she will remain a virgin until she marries. Despite her affinity for flashing her bra-covered teenage boobs. Anyways, LifeStyles is putting its money where her pouty-lipped mouth is, offering her $1 million to represent the company.

Hmmm. Wonder what message that would send...

Simulated teen boy thought process:
"I'd better buy some condoms to have on hand for my date with the girl who will (a) never go out with me, and (b) not sleep with me even if I contrived a way to end up alone with her."

Or maybe the condoms are for the hooker that the frustrated kid goes to later. Not sure. Doesn't matter. She's apparently not interested in the contract. (Of course her alter-ego, Hannah Montana, jumped at the chance for the endorsement. But everyone knows she's a slut.)

Waits gain

Here's a roundup of some free music you should check out:

—My buddy Dan saw Tom Waits in concert at the Fox in Atlanta earlier this month. "One of the best shows he's ever done," he said. And he's seen him a number of times. So you can kick yourself* for missing it. Or you can hear it on NPR's Web site, starting today. They're streaming the full, 2-1/2 hour show which features "songs he’s never played outside a studio. The 25-track set includes 'Hold On,' 'All the World is Green' and 'Hoist That Rag,' followed by an encore of 'Anywhere I Lay My Head,' " says NPR. Go here to hear him hack up a lung for the roaring crowd.

—Over at Spin.com, you can download a new cut from Gnashville's Kings of Leon. The song's called "Crawl," and it's off the album "Only by the Night," due out Sept. 23. The cool thing about this is "Crawl" isn't the lead single, so you might not hear it much on yer satellite radio. Grab it here. You gotta give 'em your e-mail address, but whatever. Oh, and here's the Spin story on the Kings Sons of Leon download. Why not give them a click as a little thank-you?
----------
*Not sure why we always suggest doing this. Ever tried actually kicking yourself? It's not easy.

28 July 2008

Best of '08 (so far): Steady as they go

Three great records are in heavy rotation for me right now. (Well, four. But I've already written about this one.) So maybe these are my strongest contenders for record of the year so far:

* Raconteurs, "Consolers of the Lonely": Jack White, Brendan Benson & Co. sneaked this thing out with, like, two weeks' notice. After a noisy couple of tracks — which Stephen Thomas Erlewine insinuates is an "In your face!" to critics of the last record's softer sound — the boys get down to very, very good business. In all, this is a boozier, braver and better album than their debut. And the fact that it just appeared makes it all the more magical.

* My Morning Jacket, "Evil Urges": God bless these guys for pushing at the walls. At different times in their career, they've been hailed as a great jam band, heirs to Neil Young, alt-country akin to the Drive-By Truckers. Yet they seem to be interested in none of those labels. This album's third track sounds more like Prince than anything else. Behind the quirkier cuts are songs that will appeal to fans of "It Still Moves" and "Z." But the experimental stuff should do well to separate the fly-by-night fans from the ones willing to go on a ride without knowing the destination.

* Okkervil River, "The Stand Ins": This one's not out until September, when I'll buy it. Right now I'm listening to the leak, and I love it. This is a sort of sequel/companion piece to last year's "The Stage Names," and the pop culture references from that record still abound (Zykos; Bruce Wayne Campbell; Yet another reference to porn star Savannah), but here they're nesting in a setting that's more folk-rock than pop. Musically, it sounds like a cross between "Stage Names" and "Don't Fall in Love with Everyone You See," and tracks like "Singer Songwriter" and "Calling and Not Calling My Ex" recall early Dylan more strongly than any of their previous work.

Last year about this time I was raving about the Apples in Stereo and Of Montreal records — so Georgia was definitely representing. This year, not so much. Although barring an incredible crop of music for the second half, REM's "Accelerate" will probably end up on my year-end list.

25 July 2008

No trouble with stubble

The Georgia Department of Agriculture launched a new policy that takes casual Friday to a new level. Here's the release, which details the plan by Ag Commish Tommy Irvin.

They're actually discouraging men from shaving on Friday, to conserve water. (Maybe they're discouraging women from shaving their legs, too. It's not clear.)

Of course, as I write this I'm sitting in jeans, loafers and an untucked shirt. So I love anything that encourages such slackitude. Wonder what are the odds of this breaking out into corporate environments...

Irvin

Stuff in the paper

If you're of a mind to click here, you can read today's column, about what I didn't like about the new Batman film, "The Dark Knight."

And click here to see what me, Sonya and Alan are up to this weekend. Mine involves an anagram of my name. Because I'm a dork.

24 July 2008

Some will win, some will lose

thanks Maggie & Bandit
This bears no further explanation. Just watch.

Today's news we don't care about

Number 1: That Google unveiled Knol, a hopeful competitor to Wikipedia.

No. 2: That Christian Bale's alleged mother/sister smackdown was prompted when sis asked for money to help raise her three kids.

No. 3: That Brad Pitt threatens legal action to.... Wait, I don't even care enough to finish the sentence.

The best Bale-related clip I could think of...

23 July 2008

Form of, an ice missile!

'Wired' magazine has listed the 10 Best Battle Cries. You can read it here. They're pretty good, topped by King Leonidas' "This is where we fight! This is where they die!" (as seen in "300," which I'm still convinced is gay porn with an R rating). There's also a He-Man line on the list. Bethcha can't guess which one.

Two notable omissions:

*I'll always remember the winged dude in the awful "Flash Gordon" movie, looking at thousands of enemies approaching, then plunging in the fray — and certain death — saying, "Who wants to live forever, anyway?"

*It was a bad movie, that "Flash Gordon," so we can forgive that oversight. But there's less sympathy for neglecting these immortal words: "Wonder Twin powers, activate!"

Lautrec-ing for a good drink

We were in Cambodia, on the western coast, playing in the Gulf of Thailand and eating cheap food. We were in Sihanoukville, which appeared to be an enclave for expatriots and for Russian mobsters tourists.

So it seemed like a good place to drink pastis. It's a French anise-flavored liqueur, akin to what I imagined absinthe tasted like, only without the whole bothersome mind-rot thing. It was yellow and becomes cloudy when you cut it with water — and believe me, you'll want to cut it with water. But it was delicious. I had lots more, knowing I'd never be able to find the stuff in the states.

All that changed this year, I guess. And now the The Denver Post is reporting that by year-end, we will have 20-25 brands of absinthe available stateside. Huzzah! Sounds like it's time for us to order a bottle and try my hand at painting like Toulouse-Lautrec. Or at least sit back and watch our Cambodia slide show.

Whit's end

The Ledger-Enquirer's video guy, Joe Paull, recently finished this piece on guitarist Ricky Whitley — who used to live in these parts but now roosts down on the Florida panhandle (or maybe the Alabama coast). Anyway, this was supposed to be a companion piece to the stories that Tim Chitwood and I did last fall on "Columbus Stockade Blues." But evil forces conspired against us and it never got done.

Until now. It's a performance of the song, and some wacky hijinx from Whitley, who's quite possibly crazy.

22 July 2008

Getty up? No, Getty down

Estelle Getty
1923-2008
Stallone's mom, Manilow's mom, Dorothy's mom, Golden Girl

Oh yeah, the Batman movie

And speaking of Batman, Monday night was my "Dark Knight." So sue me. It was a busy weekend.

The film is fantastic. I don't understand the reviewer* who said there was an extraneous "epilogue." So I was expecting the six false-endings from "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" (or "Get on the boat, Frodo," as we've taken to calling that malady in shorthand). But it wasn't there. I think the reviewer missed something there. That last 20-30 minutes was, arguably, the whole point.

When "Iron Man" came out, I put it at the top of the heap of superhero films to date. It's now second-best (but still the most fun).

---------------
*Carrie Rickey at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Here's her review.

Stereotypes

The star fraternity president on ABC's reality show "Greek," Scott Michael Foster, was arrested for drunk driving. Seriously.

Christian Bale, who plays Batman, the world's greatest detective, is being investigated after accusations that he beat his mother and sister. Seriously.

Oh yeah, and Heidi Klum likes the sex. Seriously.

What's with everyone dropping right into their stereotypes these days?


Bale, trading in his Batman suit

for a wife beater mom-and-sis beater

21 July 2008

Head like a Heidi-hole

In a new interview with Heidi Klum, available for viewing here, she says that sex is "definitely here to stay. It would be very boring without. It’s definitely one of the most fun things to do, you know?"

Now granted, Klum is being interviewed by Liz Smith, the gossip column diva who is a startling 85 years old. And Smith is pressing her for something juicy. And Smith is also rocking around on her sofa, leaning forward and backward and side to side like she might just be passing a gallstone during the interview (Certainly distracting). Further, Smith leads her into the "definitely here to stay" line.

But please. "Here to stay"? Was sex in danger of passing out of fashion? And "It would be very boring without"? Yes. Yes it would. It would also be a bummer from a, you know, reproduction standpoint if no one had sex.

But, I guess, what do you expect from the daughter of a makeup artist and a hairdresser? (Answer: Good looks. And that's apparently all we get.)

Weekend lessons

Things I've learned this weekend:

1) Dinner for two at the tapas restaurant at Meritage — even if you just order a small-plate and your wife orders a single tapas and you share one bottle of wine — can be expensive. But it's worth it. (Stick to the tapas, though)

2) Once of the hidden danger of surprise parties is that the surprisee has no idea that she shouldn't get completely ripped the afternoon before the party.

3) Winning about $1,200 in chips by drawing a royal flush* is one of the world's most sublime joys.

* Actual odds in Texas Hold 'Em: 1 in 649,740

18 July 2008

Rubik's boobs

This could be fun. You know, in the way brain hemmorhages are fun...

*What: U.S. National Rubik’s Cube Tournament 2008
*Where: Underground Atlanta
*When: Saturday July 19, 2008 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday July 20, 2008 noon-7 p.m.
*Website: Here.

These guys allegedly solve the standard cube blindfold. They also have a "speedsolve" of the 4X4X4 cube. Have you ever even tried one of the 4-bys? No? Don't bother.

I'm going up there, taking a contestant by the shoulders, shaking him until his glasses fall off, and saying, "SOLVE WORLD HUNGER. CURE CANCER."

Bright night for 'Dark Knight'

The new Batman film, "The Dark Knight," has set a new box office record for a midnight debut, the AP is reporting. Here's the brief:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A tracking firm says ‘‘The Dark Knight’’ has set a box office record for a midnight debut.

Media By Numbers says the new Batman movie from Warner Bros. brought in $18.5 million Friday from its midnight screening in 3,040 theaters.

That bested the 2005 performance of ‘‘Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith,’’ which took in $16.9 million at its debut.

‘‘The Dark Knight’’ figure did not include any of its 3 a.m. or 6 a.m. showings.


I know in Columbus, we sold out four shows and had a good crowd in the fifth, so maybe it's no Joker.

'Talk' talk

After seeing previous for "Talk To Me," the story of D.C. DJ Petey Greene, for like the last six months of 2007, the movie never appeared. Then I spotted it on a DVD release calendar. Turns out it never went wider than a few theaters.

So was this an art-house movie that never caught on or a film that just wasn't good enough for the big leagues (despite starring Don Cheadle and Cedric the Entertainer)? It took some time to get the answer, because video stores 'round here didn't stock the dang thing. Jenn finally tracked it down at the library, though.

And the answer is, it's neither. It's puzzling that it never saw wider release, since it's very good — if short of great. Apparently the writers played a little loose with the facts. My biggest complaint, though, is his whole rise to fame, from released felon to, eventually, TV talk show star, feels like it happens over the course of a year or so, when it really was a 10-year climb. The film's focus is a bit meandering.

But Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor are great as Greene and Dewey Hughes, respectively. And the soundtrack's phenomenal, loaded with classic '60s and '70s soul and some more obscure cuts, too. So if you find this one in your rental store or in a discount bin, don't be afraid to give it a spin.

17 July 2008

No, not a 6-foot 'pianist'...

Thanks Meg
A 19-year-old who showed his arse by dressing like a penis at his high school graduation has been slapped with an unfavorable court ruling. He has to write an apology to the city of Saratoga Springs, NY, pay for an apology in the newspaper, and perform 24 hours of community service.

Huh-huh. Perform. Huh-huh. For 24 hours.

16 July 2008

Why the Miami Dolphins will still suck

My homeboys, the Miami Dolphins, have had quarterback problems for all of this decade. They apparently won't end with Josh McCown at the helm, in light of this report.

That's right, gentle readers, the man charged with leading the team made the allegedly conscious decision to hold firewood while his brother swung an axe at him and the wood tried to cut through the wood with a chainsaw. (His brother is a quarterback at a rival Florida NFL team, I should point out. Sibling rivalry run amok?)

I'd say we're lucky the finger's still attached and healing. But are we really?

If you change your mind (take a chance)

So I guess Jenn's going with her girl friends to go see "Mamma Mia" this weekend. From the previews, I'm just gonna go ahead and say I'll hate this thing. (And not because of the ABBA soundtrack.)

Speaking, at least parenthetically, of ABBA, the sadistic folks at Sirius satellite radio have launched an all-ABBA station. I expect suicide rates among Sirius listeners to spike soon...

Now, I was recently listening to the 19 tracks on the newly re-released greatest hits collection (called "Gold"), and in the group's defense, once you get past the stereotypes, the music's aged pretty well. Sure, the lead vocalist (Was she one of the A's or one of the B's? Can't remember. Not worth the google) has a voice that's a little too pretty and strong for most manly men's tastes. And on the whole, they're a little operatic. Still, hasn't a track like "Knowing Me, Knowing You," with it's guitar-hero lead riffs and chopping Rhodes keyboards held up as well as Fleetwood Mac songs? Or at least Supertramp, come on.

Interesting factoid: 66 percent of visitors to ABBA — The Site say they listen to ABBA every day.* This compares to the 97 percent of the population as a whole who listen to ABBA either (a) never, or (b) slightly more often than never.**
---------------------
*this is true.
**this is probably also true.

15 July 2008

Oh 'Boy'

I've ranted before about the expanded re-releases of records that offer us too much in an effort to buy new versions of albums we've bought at least once already. Ryan Adams and Lynyrd Skynyrd come to mind first. But next Tuesday, U2 re-releases its first three records, each with a bonus disc (much as it did last year for "The Joshua Tree").

You gotta understand: this is my band. U2 is my Beatles, my Stones. Already I've bought "Boy," and "War" twice — once on vinyl, then on CD. ("October's" a fine record, but I bought it circa 1986, on CD, the first time.) So will this be any different? Will I re-buy again to get added tracks like the studio version of "11 o'clock Tick Tock," and alternate cuts of "I Will Follow," or is it all, ahem, U-2-much?

The "War" and "October" bonus discs are heavily laden with live tracks and alternate mixes of songs on the records — neither of which I give a rip about. The "Boy" release is most tempting. There are a lot of track's I'd never even heard of: "Touch," "Speed of Life," "Another Day." I've spent some time listening to the cuts on imeem.com (where with a free registration you can preview all the tracks) and they're interesting. A cut called "Saturday Night," proves to be an early version of "October's" "Fire" (with completely different lyrics), for instance. Tracks from the uber-rare "U2-Three" record are on there, too.

Go here, register, and give 'em a spin yourownself. Or try the player below. The bonus stuff starts at track 12.
U2 Boy - Deluxe Edition

Old hand at this tech stuff...

My co-blogger Allison posted an item on the world's oldest blogger dying at 108. Here's the post, in which Allison said she hopes there are bloggers in heaven, only that there aren't a lot of passwords to remember.

Personally, I hope the password at the front gate is "welcome". Or maybe "welcome1" to limit the number of hacks.

p.s.: when I was looking for a suitable image to accompany this post, I stumbled on this scarring site...

That 'Spirit,' yeah, that 'Spirit'

While we're still loosely on the topic of comic books becoming movies, here's a blog that's posted the new trailer for Frank Miller's film "The Spirit" (based on Will Eisner's strip, about a detective who comes back from the dead as the namesake Spirit). As the Film School Rejects guys say, it's too early to tell if this style is forced, but while they're kind of bummed out by the trailer, I think it still shows promise. But then, I'm not the biggest comic book geek around.

Samuel L. Jackson, on the other hand, might be. Anyone else know what L.'s fascination with comics is? Between "Unbreakable," his "Iron Man" cameo, the forthcoming "Avengers" thing, and now this, he's been all over the comic-to-film radar...

Anyways, the movie's out at Christmastime 2008.
***
"Somewhere tonight out on the street
Somewhere beneath this city's heat
In the eyes of strangers who pass me by
Life is cruel and so unkind"
-- The Alarm, "Spirit of 76"

14 July 2008

Hell, boy

I've been puzzling over the single best word to describe "Hellboy II: The Golden Army." Best I can do is "sumptuous." So many gorgeous moments. It's like the film version of the old AD&D "Monster Manual." Trolls, earth elementals, dark elves, a nasty gang of fairies, and of course the big red demon with the ground-off horns.

What's nice about this film, as walls are smashed, giant guns are blowing stuff up and swords are crossing, never lost is the fact that this film is about life (I'd say "humanity," but that's clearly not the case, given the rogues gallery of creatures). It's an extension of the first "Hellboy," which pondered what it is that makes a man a man. But it's better than that first movie. More imaginative, and more powerful, if less funny, and certainly something to give Tolkien fans hope for with his coming adaptation of "The Hobbit."

I was never a "Blade" fan. And I wanted to like "Mimic," but didn't (Mmmmm, Mira Sorvino). "Cronos" was good, but overrated. While this new Hellboy film is fantastic, it's still del Toro's quieter, Spanish language films — "The Devil's Backbone" and "Pan's Labyrinth" — that stand as his masterpieces.

13 July 2008

No bull

In the running of the bulls, New Orleans style, it may be the runners who are, um, horny.

After all, they're pursued by rollergirls, dressed in rollerblade gear and with makeshift horns affixed to their helmets. Mmmmmm, rollergirls. It all happened Saturday, and here's a photo from the event that helps explain why the men maybe weren't trying so hard to outrun their pursuers...

Of course, there's only one true Rollergirl in my book. Here's our girl, Heather, with a different set of wheels:

11 July 2008

Hate(voice)mail

Wow, that "Friends" column really set someone off. Here's a voicemail I just got, complete with stutter (but not the redneck Southern accent):

"I-I just read your article in this paper — read through it. You know what? You're a moron, and you sound like a queer. You need to stop writin' if this is all you can come up with. You're about an idiot. It pisses me off that they let people like you write stupid sh!t in the paper."

Guess he really hated "Friends." The jackass feller didn't leave his name, of course. But I wonder if they don't realize our voicemail gives us caller ID? Crosses back to a woman's name and address in Alabama. Probably his momma.

Reminds me of my favorite hate mail, in response to a column I wrote about Widespread Panic. One Panic fan said he "wanted to stab my gay Republican ass in the eye with a fork." Never mind that my gay (wrong) Republican (wrong) ass doesn't have eyes. I need to get Will Schaff to do a surrealist portrait of me based on that description.

***
"I'm goin' straight to hell
Just like my momma said
I'm goin' straight to hell."
drivin' n' cryin', "Straight To Hell"

Stuff in the paper

Today's column in the real newspaper is a fleshing out of the "Friends" movie post on this blog earlier in the week. It's funnier. Here's the linkage. And our weekend picks, complete with an item that will have people calling me gay, again, are here.

Tomorrow, look for chaos from the scene of the Columbus AT&T store, where the iPhone 3G went on sale this morning, as well as a rant about census counts. Fun stuff.

10 July 2008

Its handses or nothing, my Precious

Some guys clearly have too much time on their hands. But that can be a good thing when it results in a fan-made trailer for the forthcoming "Hobbit" film...

Amazing that he stitched all this together with "Lord of the Rings" bits and some dragon shots from, I believe, "Eragon." Meanwhile, in the real world, we await news about who'll be cast as Bilbo Baggins in the film(s), which Guillermo del Toro will direct and Peter Jackson will produce.

Oh, and here's a group of folks with even more spare time. They're creating a set of computer animated films based on the stories from Tolkien's "Silmarillion." Lots of luck, as the book that serves as source material is unreadable.

MGM to remake wrong 'Red' movie

Thanks Jeff
The news came out yesterday that MGM has given the green light to a remake of, of all things, "Red Dawn." God help us. Tampa Bay blog The Juice makes better fun of this that I could, over here.

I loved this movie when it came out. Then again, I was 14 when it came out. I tried rewatching it a couple of years ago and saw it in a totally different light — a light that revealed painfully long stretches of "dialog" and "acting." I didn't remember any of that. I remembered Cuban (Soviet?) paratroopers landing in a field in front of a high school. I remembered kids popping out of trap doors in the ground to take down soldiers.

There's always the hope they'll make a better film this time around. (Shyeah, right. If they're gonna remake a crappy '80s film, why couldn't have been something as eye-pleasing as "Red Sonja"?)

***
As of this morning, you can stream the original "Red Dawn" on Google Video, rightcheer. But really, why would you?

09 July 2008

Playful plates

Over the holiday travels, saw three great vanity license plates, all in the span of about two hours in the interstates.

The first was a plate that said NOVBR 5. Great to see a Guy Fawkes reference en route to fireworks displays...

The second plate said WIZBANG. Which just about covers it.

But my favorite plate was an Alabama tag on a sport-utility number that said, succinctly, SCRIMP. (As in, I'm assuming, fried scrimps, not "scrimp and save," since that's a concept foreign to drivers of SUVs.)

08 July 2008

The other Sam Phillips (the one with curves)

I probably shouldn't be allowed to review records by pop vixens with whom I've had dinner, like Sam Phillips. (True story that I'm sure she doesn't remember.) But since this blog is pretty much an authoritarian voice, bollocks to you naysayers. Besides, she didn't buy my dinner, so it's not like payola.

Her new disc is "Don't Do Anything," the title of which might've been mistaken as a directive from her publicists at Nonesuch. It slid out silently on June 3, and her Web page still has an Amazon pre-order button. D'oh.

Anyways, after a handful of aggressive pop music albums, Sam settled into an acoustic, almost modern parlor-music groove for her last two discs. But "DDA," her first self-produced effort, finds her breaking away from that sound without retreading her 1990s near-fame. Still low-key, the songs have an acoustic forefront, but deeper in the mix are grinding guitars, feedback, and odd, clackity percussion that make the album sound like a kissing cousin to her ex-husband and ex-producer T Bone Burnett's newest record, "Tooth Of Crime." The album opener punctuates meter with a tooth-rattling, resonating bass drum. Elsewhere there's just piano, gorgeous strings, and that slicing thin-yet-strong voice.

If 2004' "A Boot and a Shoe" was a career pinnacle — and it was — "Don't Do Anything" is not a step down. It's highly, highly recommended.

***
Sam on World Cafe: Hear her live in concert on July 23rd your local NPR World Cafe affiliate. (In Columbus, that's WTJB, 91.7, which airs the show 11 p.m.-1 a.m. the following Saturday. Or stream it at your leisure here.

'Friends' movie plot

Whilst the British media debate whether or not there's a green light for a "Friends" movie, I'll get down to generating potential plot lines for said film. All the whilst, I'll try and colour my language with as many British-isms as I can. (Why England seems obsessed with this, I don't know...)

*Ross pitches a three-way with that tart Rachel and his old pet monkey, Marcel. Uncomfortable hilarity ensues.
*Chandler finally gets his hands around his WENUS, which manages to earn him a promotion over his hapless boss, played by Ricky Gervais.
*Outside a dank pub, Phoebe and her twin get into a knife fight, in a segment directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Jolly good. Any others ideas, chaps?

Beautiful + Borning = Jennifer Aniston

07 July 2008

Picture imperfect

Every now and then, I'll throw up an old historic, or at least funny, picture up from the Ledger-Enquirer photo archives.

Here's the first selection...
Now, obviously this bears a little more explanation. This 1978 photo features a fellow names e John Thomas Allen, who was both a Phenix City police detective and a Baptist minister. So the photographer's told to go get a picture of him holding both instruments of his two professions.

Classic, eh?

***
"If a man was made to suffer,
Then I'm a mighty man, I know
And I cannot shake the anger
That keeps me on this road"
Jason & the Scorchers, "Bible and a Gun"

06 July 2008

'WALL*E' sequel?

It's made, like, a bajillion dollars in two weekends, so I guess it's no surprise that Pixar's already announced a sequel to "Wall-E." But I'm not sure I approve of the direction...

05 July 2008

Damn yankees

With the flash of the fireworks, I can see rows of piers and their reflections in the water, and on each one, a set of puppet-theater silhouettes of people, sitting quietly and watching the colorful explosions in awe. On one pier, a doberman-shaped shadow moves back and forth on the pier, nervous with each explosion.

At the pier where we're roosting, a dark-skinned man in a wife-beater jumps into our conversation with broken English. He and his big group of friends are here from Austin, Texas with $5K in fireworks, he says. Do we need anything, he asks us. We thought he was trying to sell us some boom-booms. "I have to go get yankees out of water," says Austin, who says he's originally from Cuba. "We have three yankees in water, I have to get out."

Yankees in the water? Was this some vague waterboarding threat, some wondered. Then I put it together. Not yankees. Jet-skis.

Austin comes back with a giant box of Black Cat fireworks, and he gives them to us. "Free!" he says. "Enjoy!" So he wasn't trying to sell us stuff. He was trying to give us some of his extras. We shot them off. They were awesome, and totally illegal.

Thanks, Austin.

04 July 2008

Fourth right

Personally, I much prefer a fifth on the Fourth. Maybe it's just me. Or, as Homestar Runner might say, "Happy Fireworks!"

Today, I've got a front-pager deconstructing typical Fourth of July or patriotic icons that are allegedly ours. Look for it here.

And, in response to the competitive eating bit at the bottom of that story, I'll leave you with this hilarious video of champeen gobbler Takeru Kobayashi trying to eat more hot dog than — get this — a kodiak grizzly. (Ching said he was gonna post it on his blog, but he didn't. So I did. Take that, Chingy.)

03 July 2008

Short item

I know, I know, you still can't get over the fact that someone's been jumping this man's tiny bones:
I saw a picture today of the woman who, uh, co-starred in Verne Troyer's sex tape. Here's young Ranae Shrider:The 22-year-old "aspiring model" was reportedly furious about the tape's release. So yeah, I guess that means maybe she pleaded with the culprit to "Put a little love in your heart."

What? I said heart.

02 July 2008

Say 'konnichiwa' to my li'l friend

Here's a new video service, called EZTakes, that lets you download movies and burn them to DVD. The prices seem a tad high, considering they're offering mostly left-of-center titles and only a few that you probably know by name ("Super Size Me," "Little Fish").

But never mind that. You can stream lots of them for free, including "One Eyed Jacks," a great revisionist Western, starring the thin version of Marlon Brando, long before Eastwood was doing such. Hitchcock's original "The 39 Steps" is there, as is Wayne Wang's "Dim Sum." And don't overlook "Reefer Madness." There's a bunch of martial arts crap films too.

My two favorite titles, though, are Bela Lugosi's "The Devil Bat" and something called "Mafia Vs. Ninja"!

01 July 2008

See shell

I was bummed, at first, when Jenn came home with the groceries. She was bringing shells for comfort-food-style Taco Night. I'd been cutting up the fixin's. But she bought the soft-shell corn tortillas. "I thought that's what you wanted," she said. She was bummed, because she likes the crunchy ones too.

Never fried my own taco shells before, bet I set out to try it. Heated some olive oil and got pretty good at frying, flipping, then frying the other side. (The trick? Hold the taco folded and fry the bottom first to firm up the U-shaped pocket, then fry the two sides.) It was time consuming — one taco at a time — but they were awesome. A little crispy, but not brittle and pointy. Great flavor. In fact, they were the best damned tacos I've ever had.

Jenn agreed, saying, and I quote, "That's the best taco I've ever had."

They even looked awesome. That's one in the photo up there. Give it a try some time. Tonight: leftover tacos!

H-2-whoah!

So on the grand opening weekend for the new Columbus nightclub, H2O, the place gets busted for serving underage patrons. Here's Alan Riquelmy's story.

Not a promising start for this dance club, which opened at the old site of Muldoon's (We took to calling it Muldance before we found out what the new name was). I'm saying, the underage drinkers should've said, "Hey, we thought this place only served water." Given it's name and all...

Speaking of its name, might we humbly suggest that the club change its name to H21, just to make the minimum age requirement clear?