Saturday, December 31, 2005

Eddie Would Go

Working at a hotel, I love that I am always a potential step away from meeting someone really interesting. Tonight, I met a family from Crossville who was traveling back to Hawaii the following morning.

Looking at their car bumper, I saw a bumper sticker that read, "Eddie Would Go." Being a Nashvillian, my first thought was, "Yes, Eddie George did go...to the Dallas Cowboys." Of course, I knew that the meaning behind the sticker must be something entirely different. And so I asked one of the family members about it. The wife and mother told me that it was in reference to Eddie Aikau, a famous Hawaiian who seemingly came out of nowhere, to become one of the most respected surfers in the area.

What brought on the phrase of the bumper sticker was the story of when he and some other surfers attempted to recreate a famous voyage. It is a successful voyage, but they try it again and meet with dangerous weather. Eddie volunteers to swim the 12 miles to save his friends and...well, I'll leave it to you to check out/buy the book or just do some web research on Eddie Aikau. I'll be picking up the book at my local library soon.

I love that I met such a positive and friendly family tonight. I really felt a part of their family as they were telling me the story. I wish them well.

BioWillie

Willie Nelson continues to be one of the coolest men I wish I knew.

He is backing a biodiesel which is good for farmers, the environment, and the world as we know it. Well, the article does quote someone questioning its good for the environment, but it seems that his intentions are certainly honorable.

Read and enjoy.

Friday, December 30, 2005

When In Doubt, Just Post Some Fave Links

What I want to write about are two things. One topic of interest is my recent trip to Amelia Island. My favorite part of the island is an area called American Beach. It's worth more than what I would just hash out at the moment, so I will be working on a good report of the history of American Beach and my thoughts on it over the next few days. It's a very important part of African-American history, or just American history come to think of it.

The other topic is something that will require some research. I recently came across some old pictures of a trip I made to NYC with my dad back in '91. I have some good memories from that trip but I want to make sure that I get some dates and facts right first. Maybe I'll get that one posted in the next week or two.

So, in absence of anything bigger to write about, I'll just leave with a couple of links that I try to visit daily.

Refdesk - a great reference site

Arts & Letters Daily - articles, new books, and essays

NPR - 'cause I like it

Rocketboom - proof that you can make a lot of money doing something fun and quirky

Concert Blast - a local podcast featuring three guys talking music. I used to do that, but without the podcast.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Joshua Sings Karaoke With His Nama

Old plan: didn't work.

New plan: click here and enjoy. It's streaming video and is still a very large file, so you may have to pause it for a few seconds and then hit play so that it will run smoothly. I promise it's worth it. Just be sure that your sound is on. ;-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Vacation Pics Within




And so another Christmas season has drawn to a close. The Beziats went to Amelia Island and had the nice time.

Click here for the link to some of the pictures we have chosen to upload. More on the trip later. For now, I'll just listen to some jazz and ease back into a Nashville way of living.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Absentee Blogger Alert

'Tis the season for me to head down to Florida and celebrate Christmas with the wonderful in-laws of Florida. Temperatures should be in the 60s and I should be found walking the sandy beaches with my jeans rolled up and my feet bare.

You can have your snow and ice. That stuff looks better in pictures than real life in my opinion anyway.

I'll be back in a week or so. Peace and happiness to all. You have my love.

The Perfect Gift For This Springsteen Fan


My mom came through with the present that will consume me for the next month or so. Springsteen's Born To Run 30th Anniversary Edition CD/DVD was released recently and it makes me want to be a better man.

I listened to the CD portion already and while the remastered quality is lost on my significantly inferior car stereo system (can I call this crap a system?), the words and music resonate in a way that makes me know that in the 30 years since its original release, the world hasn't changed much at all. In fact, the human spirit remains the same over the course of all time. We are all born to run and we want to know if love is real. We are desperate and we are hopeful and we are broken down and we want a reason to keep on trying.

What I love is knowing just how clueless I was to this release when it was released in 1975 (I was five years old), but how much it means to me now. It was written for the ages and we need its message. No matter the generation. No matter where we are in life when we find it.

Tomorrow, I look forward to watching the DVD portions of this present. One is a documentary of the making of the record in the first place. From the songwriting to the production, it's all here for the fans to witness. The second DVD is the famous live Hammersmith Odeon show in London. Bruce and his E Street Band went to London to do there what the Beatles did here in America.

To hear Bruce tell the story, the hype generated by the record company was overwhelming and and he spent as much time tearing down posters as he did rehearsing for the concert. After the show, he remembers thinking that it wasn't all that great and never watched the footage of it. He just got busy pursuing what is now such a rich history for his part in rock 'n' roll.

Thirty years later, he finally went back and watched the footage and changed his mind about that performance. He and the band had nailed it! And now we get to watch it, all cleaned up and on DVD. One night in 1975 gets to be brand new for me. A first in rock 'n' roll, played all over again, for me.

For all of this, for what I will be watching over and over again, I thank my mom for this awesome present. She has given me the past, and it keeps me young at heart.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My New Favorite Podcast Is...

...ConcertBlast.com

Three Nashville area guys sitting around talking about music. Their joy is infectious.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Papa's Got A Brand New Bed

They say that we spend 1/3 of our lives in our beds. I wish that was the case. Anyway, the Chez Bez Christmas present to ourselves was long overdue. Years spent on a nice queen sized bed with a mattress that should have been taken around back and shot a long time ago have now come to an end.

Behold the new bed.

And if I am to use a tired old cliche from 2002, this is where I would say:

Old and busted.



New hotness.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

This Blogger's Birthday

It's my birthday today.

I just thought my reader(s) should know.

I celebrated like any good thirty-six year old should. I worked my shift, clocked out, and went to Waffle House where the good waitresses comped my meal. And then I came home and listened to Tom Waits, checked some blogs, drank some beers, and went to sleep.

Note to self: party a little more next time.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Music Group of Greater Kalamazoo Rocks You

I saw and heard them courtesy of Rocketboom. A couple of minutes into the video, I saw that the bass player who, as Tom Waits would say, "ought to be chained up somewhere," only has one hand. Here's the link. Go there and play the video and be wowed.

Speaking of good guitar players, check out Hiram Bullock's website. I saw him with David Sanborn many years ago with my pop at Starwood and his solos rocked us all.

Enjoy! I'm out.

Will Podcast Be On My Son's Vocabulary Tests In Ten Years?

I think I read that Webster's Dictionary has listed "podcast" as the #1 new word of 2005. In honor of that little fact, I link to a very cool podcast featuring the New York City's Hotel Chelsea.

Here it is, beautiful babies! The Podcasters Have Gone Viddy

First Name, Last Name, Whatever

As a former record store employee, I heard this type of stuff on a daily basis, except it was usually people looking for Elvis Presley under "E" and in the country section.

From Overheard In New York:

Girl #1: That's weird, they don't have any Tori Amos here.

Girl #2: Have you checked under "A"?

Girl #1: Why would it be under "A"?

--Virgin, Union Square

Friday, December 16, 2005

Texas Lullabye


Josh Hartnett (whatever), Ellen Barkin (cool), John Malkovich (cooler), and Tom Waits (coolest) have been cast in a movie called Texas Lullabye.

It's an indie film apparently inspired by Shakespeare's Hamlet. Set in the 1980s, a young man is tortured by the mysterious death of his father and attempts to figure out what happened.

For those of you who want to see Tom Waits in his latest acting performance, he is in the movie, Domino, starring Kiera Knightly and Mickey Rourke.

Fernandina Beach For Christmas

You can have your white Christmas. I'll take white sandy beaches, thank you.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Monday, December 12, 2005

Ever Hear Tom Waits Sing James Brown?

Thanks to Coverpod, I have.

The most recent podcast plays the following playlist:

James Brown's Papa's Got A Brand New Bag performed live by Tom Waits
I Don't Want To Grow Up by Petra Haden and Bill Frisell
Rosie performed live by The Wandering Sons
(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night by Shawn Colvin
Ice Cream Man by Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Downtown Train by Everything But The Girl
Johnsberg Illinois by Jason Falkner
Ruby's Arms by Frente!
I Don't Wanna Grow Up by Eddie Spaghetti
Somewhere (from West Side Story) by Tom Waits

Hey Rex! Your thoughts?

Video Blogging In The New York Times

Thanks to Sunday's New York Times, I know more about video blogs, or vlogs. Amanda Congdon and Andrew Baron have been producing a vlog called Rocketboom for the past 14 months and have quietly achieved an online viewership of roughly 100,000.

Simply put, Ms. Congdon reports, in a slightly quirky way, events and newsworthy items from around the globe. Mr. Baron produces the show out of his one-bedroom apartment. And what had to have started as more of a fun project and excellent way to goof around than a vision for making money, has now become a very serious money making experience.

It is estimated in the article that they could sell advertising at the end of each show for a fair price of $8,000, or $2 million a year. TiVo has, in fact, recently signed a deal to list Rocketboom in its directory giving the creators 50 percent of associated ad revenue. With the added publicity of The New York Times and TiVo, this goofy little side project is certain to just get bigger and bigger.

Well done, video bloggers. I've checked out Rocketboom and like what I've seen so far.

Here are the links:

TV Stardom On $20 A Day

Rocketboom

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

HNT - Checking My Christmas Stocking

My wife wants to upgrade to a king size bed this year. I want like anything for us to be able to afford that. Money is tight. I wonder if one will fit in this stocking.

Driving home tonight, my car made some funny noises. And not "funny ha ha." I sure hope that whatever the problem is, that it is not too expensive. This stocking could use a cheap answer to that.

The dream job that I want was taking applications before, but not now. That was going to be my shot at making more money for my family. I'll still keep my eye out for any changes but now I need to expand my search. Anyone know of any good jobs with good health insurance in the Nashville area? I could use one of those in this stocking. My family deserves for me to be a better money earner.

Aside from good ole American money anxieties, all is well. Everyone is healthy and no one lacks for love. I continue to check the stocking for any lucky breaks all the same.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Have Match, Will Set Fire To Giant Straw Goat

I think at this point, the only way to keep it from being burned is to stop building it.

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Vandals set light to a giant straw goat Saturday night in a central Swedish town, police said — an event that has happened so frequently it has almost become a Christmas tradition.

It was the 22nd time that the goat had gone up in smoke since merchants in Gavle, 150 kilometers (90 miles) north of Stockholm, began erecting it to mark the holiday season.

(Click here for the rest of the story.)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

For Many, Chez Is Someone Else's Word

chez (shā) prep.
At the home of; at or by.


I'm sipping Sam Adams and listening to Tracy Chapman on KCRW.com. There's a person who hugs me through her music. I've been sick for a week now and I have worked each night regardless of the weakness in my bones and the stuffiness in my head. I've endured and tolerated and accepted and smiled, and my wage is my reward. The wage is for me and it's for my circle of people for whom I have boundless love. I sniffled, sneezed, coughed, and hacked my way through a work week, and now, listening to Tracy Chapman on a chilly Saturday night, I am feeling renewed and am breathing easier.

This interview/performance is beautiful. Tracy certainly inspires and challenges people to be better without really seeming to look us in the eye about it. It just comes through in her compassionate tellings of people in need. As I typed the last few sentences, she spoke of a book she recently read entitled The Midnight Disease by Alice Weaver Flaherty. It's all about writing and its associated pathologies, the need to write and its relation to hypergraphia and depression, both suffered by the author. It doesn't necessarily resonate with me; I don't feel depressed and I will be looking up hypergraphia in a few minutes, but that need to write is something that I feel almost always. And I'll be reading this book as soon as I find it at my public library.

Listening to these songs, I remember Alice. I first met Alice when working at a record store on Nolensville Road in the early '90s. She would stop in a few times a week and make my life a bit more interesting. The best we at the store could figure was that she was homeless and not a recipient of much love in the world. Maybe she had a place to sleep, but I imagined that she made use of her days just walking up and down the streets, stopping into various stores and interacting with people in the only way she knew how. There were times when we would have to ask her to leave our shop. Alice would ask questions of us that didn't seem to have any relevance to anything at all, and sometimes she would take quite an acerbic tone and go into a tempered rage.

While we knew that we liked her and were curious about her state in life, we would at those times have to ask her to leave if there were customers about. Alice would just mumble something about how we were no good and leave for the day. But she always came back and we were cautiously happy to see her when she did.

Some years later, I read a heartwarming scenarios in the paper around Christmastime about a woman who had wandered into some Nashville bank and stated that she had some money being held for her. The loan officer she spoke with, who might normally might have just blown her off, felt some compassion for this woman who did seem disheveled and mentally hurt, and did some digging around.

I forget the details of the story, but it ended with him finding her relatives who had lost touch with her many years before when she had traveled by bus en route to visit or live with them in North Carolina, but for some reason she apparently got off of the bus in Nashville and had been here ever since. It was one of those stories that only seem to run around the holiday seasons. Her face was in the paper and it was my Alice from those almost daily rants in that Turtle's record store where I spent so much of my early twenties. There was now a Chez Alice. Whatever her new place in life, it now came with the warmth of a roof and a reunion with her family.

Happy holidays, stay warm, and help someone else stay warm.

(I just looked up hypergraphia. I like to write, but I'm not even on the same planet as those who suffer with that disease. Not yet, anyway.)

Theron Sexy, But Flux Sucks

You don't read the word "suck" in the newspaper very often, do you? Thanks to London Free Press and its headline writer for making me smile.

Happy Birthday To Me, Happy Birthday To Me



Kodak z740

Now, on to the instruction manual...

Friday, December 02, 2005

"Don't Let the Record Label Take You Out to Lunch"


This song is by Jeffrey Lewis and is as spectacular as anything I have heard. I became aware of the new song by him on WRVU. The radio show is called Alphabet, is hosted by Ashley, and you can hear it every Tuesday morning from 6 - 8. It joins Nashville Jumps as one of my favorite radio programs. And, as always, you can go to WRVU.org to listen to archived shows at your convenience.

Here are the cool, cool lyrics to "Don't Let The Record Company Take You Out To Lunch" as found on Goatees.net

And here is his website. He's a comic book artist and musician living in NYC. I've seen him described as folk-punk. Please, listen to his stuff and be fulfilled.

I'm Too Sexy For Spring Hill


'Sexy' offensive in Spring Hill, officials say
from The TENNESSEAN
(click here for the whole story)

"The city's sign ordinance says you can't have any lewd language," he said. "I know it's the name of a product, but people objected to the word 'sexy' on the sign."
White said a woman called him and said she had her child in the car with her when she saw the sign.
"She said she didn't want to have to explain to her 6-year-old what 'sexy' was," White said.


'Prude', however, is a word she had no problem explaining.

Four Lines Friday

`Cause baby I'm just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta find out how it feels
I want to know if love is wild
girl I want to know if love is real

-Springsteen Born To Run

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Do Your Ears A Favor

Friday mornings from 8-10,listen to Nashville Jumps on WRVU 91.1 Nashville. If you are not in the Nashville area, go to the link and listen online.

Three years ago, I discovered this show and it has been awesome to me ever since. Pete Wilson plays the best in Jump Blues, a genre that I had never heard of until I stumbled onto it. It's a kind of jazz/swing horn based blues that was popular back in the '40s. This is not your my-baby-left-me-and-I've-got-the-blues blues. It's fun and it's sexy and it moves.

Listen in the morning and report back to me. You'll dig it.

Mission Statement? Sure, I Got One Of Those.


Much like the pre-couch hopping Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, I find myself sick, self-medicated and assured that my thoughts should be everyone's thoughts. It is, yes, my mission statement.

Tonight, I worked my nine hour shift and just like so many nine hour shifts before it, I didn't get rich. I did, however, spend ten minutes talking with a good and valued friend of mine. She, like my wife, is my friend because I don't think hearts get more special than hers. Her compassion for others is overwhelming and her general kindness to people is reaffirming.

It's as easy for me to say "life's not fair" as it is for someone else to say, "who ever said it was?" But each day I see so much rudeness by so many people who, if they would just slow down a bit, would know that there really is no need for their behaviors. Selfish people get their way at the expense of others by complaining and throwing tantrums wherever they go. The squeaky wheels bring me down.

And all the while, there are nice people just trying to make it in life, being walked on by the brash, who happily infantilize those who are there to help them. It's a big world, people. We can afford the time and space to be nice to one another. I have friends with more sadness than they deserve because they are just emotionally beat up all of the time.

I remember once, several years ago, my dad and stepmom had my brother do some volunteer work in a soup kitchen for the homeless. That is just one of so many good parenting decisions they made as they raised their children in this world. My brother, now a young man, is a man I am proud to know. He has success in his work and makes a good living, but he is defined as a man with a good heart. He cares for others and his sincerity really shows.

I'll be vague about my job but will share that I often juggle the different needs of several customers at once. It's unavoidable that to satisfy one, another will feel mistreated. There's no way around that. I employ a sense of empathy and kindness, but typically I am just treated as if I am subservient and not worth a kind word. Does that get to me? Sure. But I only mention it to remember that after 9/11, it was not the case at all.

I suppose that we were all in a state of shock, but it seems that everyone I came into contact with knew what life was all about. I was there to help, and they were appreciative and grateful. We were all one people and we were nice to one another. I noticed that and hated the reason for it of course, but loved the kindness that was occurring.

It didn't take us long, however, to get back to bitching about waiting ten minutes for a free ride to our hotel, yelling at restaurant hostesses about not getting an immediate table on a Saturday night, or cutting someone off in traffic to get somewhere we don't want to be in the first place.

Maybe we all need to get some time in helping out in our local soup kitchens and homeless shelters. We need to say thank you a bit more sincerely to the people who help us out in our daily routines (the grocery store cashier, the waitress at the diner, the parking garage attendant). At the very least, we need to hug our loved ones a lot more. We need to hug for the sake of hugging.

To my friend at work, I'm grateful for our friendship. Everything you do is worthwhile.

To my wife, I am everything because you love me. I'm gonna give you a big hug tomorrow.

And to my village of parents, I thank you all for raising me to be who I am. I've certainly got my struggles and I tend to dwell on my perceived failings a bit much, but the important thing is that I like who I am. For that, I credit you all.

(In the movie version of my life, this is where Bob Sugar fires me and I go on to start my own company.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

You Better Believe It's On My Christmas List

All of us Bruce Springsteen fans are just giddy about the newly packaged Born To Run CD. The accompanying DVD is the selling point. The reviews point to the great in studio footage of Bruce and company laboring over what might be their last chance with Colombia Records.

Here's a link to a wonderfully candid interview Bruce did with Terry Gross a couple of weeks ago.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Perfect Christmas CD

Remember everyone, now that Thanksgiving is past and we all look forward to all things Christmas, here is the CD we must all be listening to as we put up and decorate our trees.

Vince Guaraldi Trio A Charlie Brown Christmas

You're welcome.

Skyline Chili Comes To Murfreesboro

On November 26, 2005, I brought a little bit of Cincinnati cuisine to Chéz Béz South. Surprisingly, it resembled the Cincy restaurant taste closer than I had anticipated. It lacked certain spices and I found my cupboard bare of the ever important Oyster crackers, but all in all, it got the seal of approval from my Georgia-Florida raised bride. As evidenced by the attached pictures, I was quite happy with it as well.

Now I have this urge to walk around the Clifton-Ludlow area of Cincinnati. How 'bout them Bengals?

(click the pics to enlarge)


Fairfield Four, Now There Are Only Four

The sad news waiting for me this morning is that Wilson 'Lit' Waters Jr. of the Fairfield Four has died of cancer. I had the pleasure of hearing the Fairfield Four open for Lyle Lovett at TPAC some several years ago. I remember them getting a kick out of introducing themselves as the Fairfield Four, pausing a second, and then assuring the crowd that there were indeed five of them on stage. "Nothing's wrong with your eyes", one would say. "There are five of us."

Go here to read their very interesting biography, and here to read the news of the passing of Wilson 'Lit' Waters Jr.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Delbert McClinton, Bringing His Great Music To 3rd

Just a quick heads up.

12/11/05

Nashville Sunday Night
Delbert McClinton (special holiday show)
8:00PM @ 3rd & Lindsley

Go to the show or at least listen to it on WRLT.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Chris Whitley 1960-2005


Words from his daughter and his brother:

Trixie Whitley:
My father took his last breath last nightthe 20th of November. I would like to make it clearthat the people he needed and loved the most were with him while and when he left in peace. Those were Dan, Susanne, me and Chorinne. I would also like to ask you guys to understand there is a very fine line between Chris Whitley the legendary musician and Chris Whitley the Father, Brother, and Lover.

This was my Dad's favorite line from the first song I ever wrote,this is for you Daddy: "Like the feather we blow away, in the thoughtlessness of words others say."

All faith and peace,
Trixie Whitley

Dan Whitley:
I just wanted to add Chris passed over surrounded by lots of love. The time we spent with Chris in these last days were something I'll never forget and these woman whom I shared Chris's last moments with were just amazing. Susann Buerger who was by his side nonstop (Chris planned to marry Susanne) held him in his arms the moment he passed in absolute and total peace, the reason I mentioned this is I always felt being held by someone you love while you passed over was a truly special thing. Trixie my niece is one of the strongest young woman I have ever met and Chris was always so proud of her whenever we spoke, Im also incredibly proud to be her uncle and love her beyond words. Chorinne gave her home to Chris and the rest of us in this time of need and didnt stop taking care of things that needed to be taken care of the entire time, she gave us all a sanctuary to take care of Chris in and went way out of her way to help from the beginning and is still helping. Me, I pretty much just cried my ass off when I wasn't helping Susanne with Chris....still crying.I hope you all will morn my brothers death but more important celebrate his life as Chris was all about life and living... I started the celebration by crankingup Dirt floor in his honor...crying still.

Chris Whitley's Legacy will no doubt transcend all time.

Love and Light,
Daniel

Chris Whitley, Dying Of Lung Cancer


Back on April 11, 1992, my dad, my friend Boxset, and I drove up to Cincinnati. Boxset and I attended a show while we were there. At the legendary Bogart's on Vine Street, blues phenom Chris Whitley played a show with Toad The Wet Sprocket opening for him. Working at Turtle's Records at the time, I was very familiar with Chris Whitley. I had listened to his debut album, Living With The Law, over and over, loving the sound of that National Steel guitar coupled with that voice that resonated with all parts pain, desperation, and hope.

With that love for the music he created, Boxset and I were giddy to catch the show. It was our first and only time to catch a show at Bogart's, but I still feel that I was at a very important club in the history of music. The floor filled up quickly and so we went to the upstairs balcony where there were tables set up overlooking the stage. Each table was covered by glass and between the glass and the wood were ticket stubs from so many of the bands and artists who had played there over the years. The one that I remember was not a ticket but a reference to the rehearsal show that Prince had performed before going out on his Purple Rain tour. Boxset and I sat through the Toad show, and watched as hundreds of Toad fans below bounced up and down with a youthful exuberance that made us laugh.

After Toad finished their opening set though, we were dismayed at what we saw. Those hundreds of music lovers filed out of the venue. They were happy and they were sated. But they had no idea what they were about to miss. Boxset and I watched what was a soldout hall become a sparse crowd at best waiting to hear Chris Whitley play his music for us. And sure enough, here came Chris onstage, playing and singing and emoting with a feral ferocity only found in the rarest of earthly moments.

Boxset and I looked at each other and one of us exclaimed that the poor bastards who had left had done themselves a serious disservice. After all, they could have been within five feet of this masterful musician. And then the other one of us decided that the foolish ones were we, sitting far away and high in this balcony, when we now had the opportunity to be within five feet of this creator of sonic and aural knockout punches.

And with that, we were soon down in front, looking up at that National Steel guitar, reflecting stage lights and blinding us temporarily of sight and context. We were owned by the music.

A decade or so passed and I saw Chris Whitley again at 3rd & Lindsley on April 28, 2002, in my hometown of Nashville. This time he was without a band. It was just he and that famous guitar and some kind of kick drum pedal thing at his feet. And, as before, he was phenomenal. I remember thinking how lucky the world was to have an artist like this to listen to. We had already lost two other brilliant guitarists and tortured souls in recent years, Danny Gatton and John Campbell. But here was Chris Whitley before my eyes and for my ears, the last man standing if you will.

Tonight, I read this:

Chris Whitley dying of lung cancer

NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) --
Singer/songwriter Chris Whitley is reportedly dying of lung cancer.

On Whitley's official message board, his brother Dan said the recording artist is
receiving home hospice care in New York as he lives out his final days, Billboard.com reported Monday.

"As I type this Chris is resting peacefully and is in little physical pain," Dan Whitley posted. "At one point today he grabbed my hand firmly as I spoke to him, looked at me and smiled his usual knowing smile but that is all and that was quite enough."

Whitley canceled his fall tour dates in October citing illness, but did not give any
further details. His latest album "Reiter In," is due in mid-December on
vinyl and will appear on CD sometime next year.

Billboard said Whitley was a heavy smoker.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I Don't Wanna Work...


...I just wanna bang on my blog all day.

That said, I must go to work. Carry luggage, shuttle people around, smile for ten hours, that kind of stuff.

My friend at Phonoluxe is holding two Tom Waits CDs for me. I'll pick them up tomorrow and I'll be buying shoes, too. So, tomorrow is a day of aural and ambulatory improvements. My ears and feet will be happy.

How you doin'?

Papa's Got A Brand New Bag

My pop starts a new gig tomorrow. A teacher since July 15, 1971, he starts a new chapter, this time in the world of business.

And to this bold new direction, I offer him these words of wisdom (taken from Steve Martin's The Jerk).
  • Lord loves a workin' man.
  • Don't trust whitey.
  • See a doctor and get rid of it.
Now go make some money!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Beziats In The News


Discovery Cove's first baby sloth, born Sept. 4, 2005, drinks from a bottle administered by trainer Marette Beziat, on Monday, Oct. 17, 2005, in Orlando, Fla. The female sloth, named "Ellie," was born to Mom Star and Father Lucky, both 6 years old and residents of Discovery Cove at SeaWorld.
AP Photo/SeaWorld/Discovery Cove, Richmond Gibbs

New Monk And Coltrane, Unearthed

Here's the NPR review.

On The New Nina Simone Anthology

Click here for a review by David Was.

Encore

My pop, writing about memorable Nashville concerts from the '60s and '70s.

Click here for the Nashville Scene article from 2004.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

HNT - Poor Man's Palm Pilot


As a hotel bellman, I go to many rooms over the course of a day and I must document each room I go to. It seems though that I often lose paper. And thus, I write on my hand to transcribe the info to paper at the end of my shift.

Happy HNT to all.

John Cusack, Talking Politics

Thanks to Mel's Diner for showing me the link. John Cusack, one of the good guys, writes his views on the Dems and why they need to make some noise. And he did so at Huffington Post, a daily stop for me.

A friend from work recently shared with me the buzz about how Bush might actually be facing impeachment. Whether I be a cynic or a realist, I wasn't excited about that possibility at all. All that meant to me was that a puppet would be removed from office and Cheney and his boys would be even more at the helm than ever before.

I'd love to see a centrist with a good heart get the votes next time around. I wish C-SPAN was more popular. Imagine a country of individuals with real knowledge of all goings on in the Senate and Congress, not waiting to hear the spin from their favorite partisan radio talk show host. I love football and life's other entertaining distractions, but I'd rather imagine the same passion going into understanding the motivations for our elected leaders' choices while in office.

Instead, we keep on rooting for the home team to score big while the politicians and their friends score bigger with our tax dollars. I'm just as guilty as most. I share my opinions, but I usually just preach to the choir. I have often been taught that silence is golden, but more and more I learn that silence is consent. A lot of wrong is done very often with too much consent.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bruce Springsteen Interview On Fresh Air Today

Listen and be moved. Tonight at 6:30 on 90.3 WPLN or archived online after 3:00 today at Fresh Air.

Rock 'n roll is a "good place for misfits."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Georgia, Our Bulldog (The Early Years)



She's almost three years old now, but these pics are of her when she was just a puppy. She shares the same bloodline as the famous UGA mascots for the University of Georgia, where my wife attended. And, of course, she is the greatest dog ever. (You can click the pics to enlarge them.)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

He Invented The Album Cover

Make 'em sing

Vandy Fans Flagged For Excessive Optimism

The '05 Vandy football season has been both atypical and it has been typical. Their 4-0 start was something so amazing and wild that the New York Times and a lot of other national media were driven to write stories and request interviews with Vandy players and coaches. But that was followed by a five game slide, losing both when expected and when not expected. Ole Miss and Arkansas fell to our 'Dores, but then teams like MTSU and South Carolina came out victors to our Black and Gold.

Even so, at 4-5, with a heartbreaker of a 2 OT Florida loss behind us, we had reason to believe that with upcoming games against a terrible Kentucky team and a beatable UT team, that a bowl game could still be in sight. I met a lot of loyal Kentucky fans who came down to Nashville for the game. I enjoyed making small talk with them and shared my thoughts about the upcoming game with them. I thought that Vandy fans had been taught humility over the years, but these UK fans were the real deal. They would have none of my encouragement. They made the trip down to their lower bunk bed of a state with absolutely no aspirations of seeing a winning effort from their football playing Blue Man Group.

Me: It should be a good game tomorrow.

Them: We don't know about that. You guys should win pretty easily.

Me: Well typically, our games are pretty close, and you know how Vandy is.

Them: Yeah, but your 'Dores are pretty good this year. Heck, you almost beat Florida last week.

Me: Yes, but that's my point. We play up to the big games and down to the small games.

Them: Well, you're still going to beat us pretty easily.

And yet these people made the trip down, got hotel rooms, ate in our restaurants, and were ready to emotionally and financially support this team who had "no chance of winning." But, as my dad says, for UK fans there is basketball season and there is pre-basketball season. They simply enjoy watching their Wildcats play.

Saturday afternoon arrived to reward these loyal, humble travelers. I sat with my dad and my son at this game and watched myself be proven right, and painfully so. Just like that, seemingly mere minutes after kickoff, I watched my Commodores stumble out of the gate to a score of 34-3. How does this happen? We know how it happens. We are Vandy fans. Florida players might be watching this later and they might be asking if this is the same team that took them to 2 overtimes a week earlier. Older, wiser Florida fans won't be surprised though. This is typical Vandy.

Finally, with minutes to go in the 1st half, Vanderbilt came alive and started scoring points. With UK playing a bit softer on defense, we managed to make a game of it. We closed the game with 25 unanswered points and came within 5 points and a failed onside kick of a win. I'll admit that while I resisted to get optimistic about the comeback chances, our team finally got me believing again in the closing minutes of the game. They opened up my heart again, only to whisper into my ear and say, "Hey, at least our academics are exceptional." We lost 48-43.

The win loss record now stands at 4-6, and we are going to UT next week with nothing really on the line. You know what that means. We'll probably handle them soundly. And to the humble UK fans, I say congratulations. You came to support your hapless Wildcats and you got to watch a great win for your efforts. You watched 91 points scored in the thrilla in Nashvilla (that might be a stretch). You watched a game that truly did come down to the wire. Your team won and you were still humble. And because I am a Vandy fan, I understand your humility.

With that humility firmly in place, I say to Jay Cutler, Bobby Johnson, and to the rest of the '05 Commodores, thanks for the 4-0 start, thanks for the close losses, and thanks for the season of fun and excitement. The bowl bid didn't happen, but thanks for letting us believe in the chances so late in the season. There's an accomplishment right there.

And just for fun? Let's beat UT next week.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

John Waite Is Playing Where?

John Waite is playing at the Exit/In? Are you kidding me? Isn't this the venue where rock lives? Doesn't John Waite not rock very much at all?

Nothing against him I guess, but "Missing You" is pretty unforgiveable. Oh well, people got to play their music somewhere.

For those who care, the show date is Nov 21.

Me? I'll be home listening to some Fishbone. Enjoy.

Very Interesting Article On The Complete New Yorker

From the Wall Street Journal, thanks to Jilly at Poetry Hut Blog.

TennCare Activists Disrupt Governor's Speech

Read about it at the Tennessee IMC.

Friday, November 11, 2005

On Nashville Public Radio This Weekend

It's all good, always. Here are some highlights from this weekend's schedule. Listen live at WPLN.

Veterans Day
On Nov. 11, 1918, World War I ended. It was the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month. The observance came to be known as Armistice Day. In 1954 President Dwight Eisenhower created the first Veterans Day to honor the men and women who have served the United States in uniform. NPR has gathered a collection of stories reflecting the diversity of those who have served in uniform.


Gershwin Classic Performed Live
Seventy years after its New York City premiere, Gershwin's Great American Opera, Porgy and Bess, comes to us live from the nation's capital. The Washington National Opera brings us all the hits, from "Summertime" straight through to "I'm On My Way," live from the stage of the Kennedy Center Opera House, on the banks of the Potomac in Washington, D.C. NPR's World of Opera host Lisa Simeone and singer Michael Feinstein will co-anchor the program which will include commentary and features that explore the landmark musical's history, the personalities behind it and its social context over the past 70 years.

Tune in Saturday, November 12 at 12:30pm on 90.3 WPLN-FM for the broadcast.
Visit NPR's web site for much more on Porgy and Bess.



Whistle Stop Warren
Every November for the past 18 years, Warren Hannis has donned his conductor's attire for the annual model train exhibit at the Nashville Adventure Science Center. Hannis uses his life-long love of trains to teach the next generation about the locomotive age. Listen and view photos from the report by WPLN's Blake Farmer.



This Week on Nashville Public RadioNovember 11 - 17, 2005 The Fine Print - Sat, noon & Sun, 9am (90.3 WPLN-FM) The Blood of Angels by Reed Arvin
Reed Arvin is used to rave reviews, whether it's for his talents as a musician or his expertise in producing records. But now the hooplah is over his ability to write fiction. His third book, The Blood of Angels, has gotten excellent reviews, and has a special appeal for Nashvillians, since it's set in Music City. In fact, the Downtown Presbyterian Church plays an important role in the legal thriller, and Nashville's ethnically diverse population is key to the plot, also. Reed's protagonist, Thomas Dennehy, is a senior prosecutor for Davidson County who learns he may have sent an innocent man to the death chamber - and it's possible he's prosecuting someone else who is innocent, as well.

Live in Studio C - Tue, 11:06am & again at 8:06pm (90.3 WPLN-FM)Guests to be announced.

Bluegrass Breakdown - Sat, 8pm (90.3 WPLN-FM) "New Old Timers: Reeltime Travelers Live." We'll be spotlighting an infectious blend of the old and the new, bluegrass and old-time fiery brand of music sometimes known as "new old-time" as heard in the music of such groups as the Foghorn String Band, Corn Family, Rockinghams, Crooked Jades, Freight Hoppers and the Reeltime Travelers.


A Prairie Home Companion - Sat, 5pm and Sun, 1pm (90.3 WPLN-FM)
This week a re-broadcast of a great show from the Mississippi Delta city, featuring the 'Soul Queen of New Orleans' Irma Thomas and her band, Jazz heavyweights Butch Thompson, Duke Heitger, Vince Giordano, and Andy Stein sitting in with the Guy's All Star Shoe Band. Also featuring additional performances by Geoff Muldaur and Topsy Chapman.

American Routes - Sat, 9pm (90.3 WPLN-FM) "Club Hopping in New Orleans" Tour local watering holes like the Saturn Bar, Snug Harbor and Donna's Bar and Grill. And talk with singer, pianist and songwriter Mose Allison and rock-n-roller Link Wray.

Marketplace Money - Sat, 8am (1430 WPLN-AM) & 4pm (90.3 WPLN-FM)
Whether you're a seasoned investor or just beginning to plan your financial future, Marketplace Money is the financial advice you can trust.

Speaking of Faith - Sun, 11am (1430 WPLN-AM) "Religious Passion, Pluralism, and the Young" Al-Qaeda appeals powerfully, if destructively, to the need of young people to be important and make a difference in the world, says our guest Eboo Patel; it is the most effective "youth program" in the world today. Eboo Patel is a 30-year-old American Muslim, a former Rhodes Scholar, who is out to change that.

The Splendid Table - Sun, noon (1430 WPLN-AM)& 3pm (90.3 WPLN-FM) This week we look at the art of Chinese cooking reinterpreted for American kitchens with chef Susanna Foo, author of Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration. Jane and Michael Stern are at the White River Fish Market in Tulsa, OK, and wine wit Joshua Wesson deciphers biodynamic wines.

Studio 360 - Sun, 10am (90.3 WPLN-FM)Host Kurt Andersen talks with writer Simon Winchester about how cities recover from disaster. They'll discuss the earthquake and fire that devastated San Francisco in 1906, and how the city rebuilt. And a look at the cultural life of Sarajevo, ten years after the Dayton Accords that ended the Bosnian War. Also, hear about New Orleans musicians leaving the city -- today, and one hundred years ago, when a race riot changed American music forever.

SymphonyCast - Sun, 8pm (90.3 WPLN-FM)
The venerable conductor and long a Boston favorite, Bernard Haitink, leads an unusual Franco-German program at Symphony Hall, capped by a performance of Franck's Symphonic Variations by pianist Emanuel Ax.

This American Life - Sat, 1pm (1430 WPLN-AM) & Sun, 6pm (90.3 WPLN-FM)
"Settling the Score" The daughter of a Holocaust survivor travels to Poland to meet the family that saved her mother's life. They were still in the building they'd lived in during the war. She expected the kind of warm, nostalgic reunion they make PBS documentaries out of, and feel-good specials on A&E. What she got was very different. The family asked her to make good on a 60-year-old promise.

To the Best of Our Knowledge - Sun, 3pm (1430 WPLN-AM)
"What makes a classic?" Well, for one thing, it's got to have some staying power. The Bob Dylan song, "Like A Rolling Stone," certainly fits the bill. It was recorded forty years ago but it's still considered by many to be the greatest pop single ever made. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, Greil Marcus tells us what makes "Like A Rolling Stone" a classic. Also..."Lolita," "Leaves of Grass" and "Psycho."
"The Inner Voice" The most mysterious musical instrument in the world lives inside your body. Your voice. You can't see it, can't touch, and yet – it expresses all of who you are. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, explore the mysteries of the voice. Hear from soprano Renee Fleming, the Canadian Folk-Rock Trio The Wailin' Jennies, and one of the country's best-known sound therapists.

Whad'Ya Know? - Sat, 10am (90.3 WPLN-FM) & Sun, 6pm (1430 WPLN-AM) A live broadcast from Viterbo University Fine Arts Center in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Guests for the live Whad’Ya Know? broadcast include filmmaker Reuben Steindorf, Houston County Chronicle correspondent and writer Aggie Tippery, author Kenney Salwey, and musical guest Joe Price.

Hey Corey!

That's four posts in one day. (Five now.)

Thanks for reminding me that two days went by with no posts.

No one likes an absentee blogger, that's for sure.

Rock on!

Out Of The "Lost" Loop

I've ignored it enough. I can't avoid it anymore. Absolutely everywhere I go online, people are talking about Lost. I always imagined that it was pretty good, but being a busy guy who works nights I thought I'd just let it run its course and do my own thing. I think that when it first came out, I thought it was a reality show anyway. I've got no love for those. Unless it's The Real World for some unknown reason. I could watch The Real World all day long.

But now political bloggers are writing about having to skip a protest so that they can watch Lost. Sports bloggers are missing big sporting events so that they can watch Lost. Religion bloggers are...OK, I don't read any religion blogs. But don't these people have TiVo? What about VCRs? No one wants to miss a minute of this show, and no one wants to watch it 3 minutes after anyone else.

Maybe this is just season finale stuff going on. But the buzz is deafening. It's even got me writing about it. So my question is, assuming it's too late for me to just start watching it now, after so much has happened, should I be renting DVDs of it? Should I know what this is all about? Or is this just a little pop culture guilty pleasure that folks are escaping to? Sound and fury, signifying nothing?

Let me know. I've got to go.

Born To Run Turns 30

Ice Magazine tells you all about the new reissue.

New Kate Bush? My Day Is Made

It's been twelve years since Kate Bush has released new music. The last CD was The Red Shoes, self produced and a sonic delight. I assumed that she was just done after that. And this morning, I learn that she has a brand new CD. It's called Aerial and I am in love with her all over again.

Give me a few weeks of blissful immersion into this work and I'll be sure to write more about it. So far, I am only two songs into this 2 disc set and I feel that gravity has lessened ever so much. All things are lighter for hearing her. Just hearing her count on "Pi" brings to me images of peace and contentment.

Have a nice day all. This is aural ecstasy for me.

Crouching Tiger, Kneeling Bus

Yep, that would hurt alright.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hemingway Might've Punched Him

I have lately been reading and loving Ernest Hemingway, Selected Letters. This book has gone everywhere I have gone; I read it with every free minute that I find. In it one will find a scathing letter to Sen. Joe McCarthy, a letter about the day that old Hem checked out F. Scott's manhood for him and gave him a nice critique, and a letter where the writer complains that he wishes he had gone to college because he is unhappy in his current career, something I am known to do.

Last night, I had it with me while I made some shuttle runs from the airport. A well meaning guest saw the book and remarked positively to his friends and to I that I was quite possibly the only shuttle driver in the world who reads Hemingway. He really did mean well and was very kind and very bright (a pharmaceutical scientist). But that really rubbed me wrong. While this is a job which does not require much in the way of formal education, I am sure that there are very many people who work jobs like mine who are avid readers and deep thinkers. Hell, Hem himself was not highly schooled and he did more than just read Hemingway.

So, while I felt that internal twinge at his remark, silently defending those of a different socioeconomic class, a part of me knows that I am lacking important ambition in life to be able to even hear that statement. It's often that guests have asked what my real job was, likely assuming that this was only a part time job for me. Assuming that there is something "better" that I give my time to. Nope, this is it. I read, I write, and I punch a clock. And people who don't even know me are disappointed in my lot in life.

I really need to get my resumé worked up and get busy living. But for tonight, I will really give them something to talk about. Now where's my copy of Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Nietzsche?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Sony-BMG Wants To Spy On You

A fellow blogger writes about Sony-BMG and how they are using copyright protection software (not a bad thing) that also will spy on your every internet move. They are using something called rootkit; once downloaded, trying to uninstall it will crash your system.

They need not receive any monetary support while practicing this wiretap procedure. Certainly, other companies will follow suit if nobody bothers to complain.

Here's the link to the post.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Southwest Airlines, Doing The Right Thing

I enjoyed another little detail that I learned while watching the service for Rosa Parks last night. It was noted that Southwest Airlines carried, at no charge, 100 members of the Rosa Parks delegation from Montgomery, Alabama to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport Sunday.

What was not publicized but was mentioned at the service was this. The flight was piloted by Lou Freeman, Southwest Airlines' Chicago Chief Pilot, and the first African American Chief Pilot of any domestic airline carrier. How's that for a black man no longer sitting in the back of a bus, thanks to Rosa? Mr. Freeman, you are free to tear up now.

I hope someone interviews him. I'd love to hear his thoughts on that experience.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Rosa, Thanks For Changing The World

Tonight, I am moved. I am watching the Service for Rosa Parks on C-SPAN. I encourage everyone to either watch this on TV if it is rerun or to just purchase a copy of it at the above link.

Hers is a name I've not paid much attention to over the years. In my world, I've not personally witnessed any horrible acts of prejudice. I've always been raised and taught to respect the equality of all, to love all of my neighbors of this world. We are all God's children, simply said. But what a different world and environment I might have known if it was not for Rosa Parks. It humbles me to think what a different person I might have been if not for Rosa Parks.

I need to tape the above service and keep a copy in my home. To watch it the next time I think I've got it tough. To watch it the next time I feel overwhelmed. To watch it the next time I think that my problems are too high to be overcome. She reminds me that with God, all things are possible. If I live for a just God, I don't need to be overwhelmed by what might be an unjust system. She did overcome and I will overcome.

She didn't want to just be remembered as the bus woman. But that's all I remember being taught about her in school. I didn't know that other black Americans had been arrested for similar incidents prior to her. The difference is that she was the first to plead "not guilty" to breaking any law.

It's now that I am proud to remember a story from my white grandfather's youth. He had a good friend who happened to be black. As the story goes, they would go to the movies together. The law being what it was, his friend was not allowed to sit on the main floor seats but rather was segregated to the balcony seats. Their easy solution was that my grandfather would just sit up in the balcony with his friend and the rest of the moviegoers of color. There was no law against that. It seems that my grandfather was a highly evolved young man and I'm proud to know him.

Of course, I'm sure that I have ancestors whose stories are not as nice. I just don't know those stories. What is important to me though, is that I am to my children and future grandchildren what my grandfather is to his children and grandchildren: a man they are proud to know, and a man Rosa Parks would be proud to know.

May God bless you, Rosa Parks. We needed what you gave us. Thank you.

Here's a link to a bio of her life's work.

The Nashville Library Website Just Got Cooler


While checking my record this morning to see if my copy of Nighthawks At The Diner had come in yet, I found a new feature on the Nashville Public Library website. They have added an image collection.

Here, I have found Nashville postcards dating back to 1907. I have found interesting and historic photos of downtown Nashville from several decades past. I see a picture of JFK speaking at the Maxwell House Hotel in 1959. I also see a photo of Mayor Beverly Briley's Oath of Office. (Sorry about your messed up parkway.)

There is a 1962 photo of the under construction Municipal Auditorium, where I would later meet the likes of Def Leppard and Bon Jovi. I also found a photo of the Hume Fogg basketball team from 1969. My brother would later play for the same school.

As cool as this is, I need to get down to the library and visit their Nashville Room and see what else they've got. I may have a Murfreesboro address, but I've got a Nashville heart and soul.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

What It's All About

You Want Fresh Sounds? The Go! Team Is On


Sunday morning, 9 am, The Go! Team is wowing me to no end. If my car stearo was half decent, I'd be blasting this to and from work for the next month and a half. As it is, I will have to settle for deafening my neighbors with it when I get home tonight.

Find the music, read about it, and rock on, people!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Our Very Own Vandyland On The Splendid Table

Thanks to Corey for sending me this audio link to The Splendid Table talking about Vandyland.

And also thanks for pointing me to roadfood.com and their Vandyland page. I'd advice all readers to get on down to Vandyland, say hi to chef Mac McGee, and order a delicious chocolate soda.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Mark Your Calendars, Set Your Tivos

Nov 9, PBS Steve Martin Tribute

Also, Shopgirl is playing in select cities and is getting rave reviews. Watch for it at your local theater and enjoy.

Who Do You Love?

That title only vaguely goes with this entry, but in thinking of two friends and their famous former boyfriends, I thought of that great Bo Diddley song. Rock still hasn't really improved on that great classic tune. Anyway, on with the blog...

So, now I have two friends from work who are kind of like rock stars in my eyes. And by that, I mean that they both have dated famous people - one of whom is actually a rock star. These two women were already cool in my book, but their former boyfriends raised them up a notch or two.

The first one, I haven't seen in a few years. It's a shame how people so easily drift apart. No big falling out, no big drama. Just that moment when you realize that you haven't talked to that person in about six months, which later becomes years. That's life I suppose.

Anyway, E. and I were good friends who had football in common. Big Titans fans, we went to a few games together, talked about each game the day after, and generally had the big time. Some people thought we were dating, but it wasn't like that at all. We were just really good friends. Then one day, I started talking about how much the Cincinnati Bengals were a part of my football childhood. The great games with names like Ken Anderson and Cris Collinsworth and Icky Woods.

It was at this point that she told me that she and Cris used to date. I was over at her house and she dug up an old picture of him to show me. It struck me as a bit weird that the man who had once been her boyfriend was also the man on the poster on my wall when I was a child. No wallet size for me. How about 16x20?

And recently I was talking to a good friend who I admire greatly. Our thing tends to be music, always getting around to cool John Prine stories and such. Just a few weeks ago, she tells me that she used to date Southside Johnny. Being a man who listens to at least one Bruce Springsteen song a week and sometimes the same Bruce CD in my car for three weeks straight, I am now quite enamored by this info. Anyone with any E Street connection at all is immediately immeasurably cool in my book. It's safe to say that I will forever hang on her every word from now on.

Seriously, I hang on her every word anyway. She is an incredibly compassionate person and I'm lucky to call her my friend. I wish her the absolute best in life and I hope that in a few years I'm not remembering her as yet another person from whom I've drifted.

What's My Exit Number?

















Hey TDOT! When you finish with Briley Parkway and I-40, can you take a look at my exit number off of I-24? Thanks.

The number six gets no respect. Take that, number six.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Back On The Block

It appears that all is well for the PC...again. So no more library blogging for me...until next time.

Got a touch of wanderlust here. Driving home tonight, I decided that it would be cool if I was driving across the country with a friend, singing loudly along to obscure Warren Zevon songs. But coming home and listening to Santa Monica's KCRW will suffice for now. I will never tire of hearing songs I've never heard before.

For some reason, I got to thinking of old places I used to go to in Nashville when I was a kid. I'll throw out a few names of these special places which no longer exist. Dipper Dan's was an ice cream shop that my dad and I used to go to. There was some diner in Melrose whose name I forget right now; I will say that when I think of that diner, I remember that I used to always play "Black Water" by the Doobie Brothers on the jukebox. My favorite line from that song? "...pretty mama come and take me by the hand..."

Campus Grill was another spot that I loved. That was in the Vandy area and I always called it the Campus Girl. I remember the woman on the storefront sign (neon maybe?) and the cool, tall white hats the cooks wore. And lastly, The Sailmaker was the coolest place ever. All of the waiters and waitresses were all dressed up as characters. For the life of me, I have no idea if they were Disney type characters or generic pirates and such. I just know that little Bez loved the experience of going there all of the time.

It's good to be back to the blog and I hope for the best of health for this computer before me. And big time thanks to Greg for fixing it. I still owe you more beer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

We'll Just Call This My Hiatus

My home PC is 3 years old. It's cranky. It's buggy. And it's spending the week at my friend's house. My friend knows how to fix computers and I don't. My friend fixes computers for the low, low price of a 12-pack of cheap beer.

Until he gets it back into shape, I'll be checking e-mails at the library. And, except for this post, I doubt I'll be doing much blogging.

Carry on and be well.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Georgia Bulldog Fans Meet Georgia Bulldog



Uga? Ari. Ari? Uga.

Uga? Joshua. Joshua? Uga.

Proud photo-op complete. Carry on and enjoy your day.

Sheryl Crow, I Owe You An Apology

A few months ago, I wrote rather dismissively about a lot of what you have created musically since David Baerwald became a part of your creative past. Later, I heard "Good Is Good" from your new CD. Then, tonight, I heard your new CD in its entirety. You pretty much own me again.

This release, Wildflower, is a thing of beauty. It stands up there with your first release from so many years ago. It even seems to surpass it right this minute. It rivals my girl Aimee Mann, reminds me a bit of Sam Philips, and is the smoothest, coolest thing I have listened to in a long time.

I read an interview where you said that with John Shanks producing, instead of you producing yourself, you was able to really just focus on the songwriting and your own vocals in a way that you hadn't for previous releases. I can hear that your voice does seem to resonate in a way I haven't heard before. Your perfectly controlled raspiness complements the richly arranged songs in just the perfect way.

I suppose Wildflower could be just a little bit more quirky for my taste. It seems to get close to it with "Live It Up", albeit in a good-vibe, positive-anthem kind of way, but you totally lost me with "Always On Your Side" which just feels made for cheesy first dances at weddings across the globe. Still, it's a strong record and I thank you for it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Vivian Malone Jones, Stronger Than I

We are better for having shared a world with her, and for the people who fought for her rights. May she rest in peace.

And if you can take it, here's news from Toledo today.

Dawgs, Dores, Titans, Bengals, Oh My

This is quite the interesting football weekend for me. Vandy and Georgia are playing right now. I have always been a dutiful Vandy fan. My wife, however, went to UGA and is very much the rabid, maniacal fan. That sweet, kind, polite southern girl I married sure can cuss when it comes to Georgia football. Now, I am always rooting for my Dores when they play, but I never expect them to win, so I never really care much about these "house divided" games.

But this year, with their 4-0 start and current 4-2 record, I want my team to win big time this weekend. I don't care about my wife's feelings for the next hour or so. I'm a Dores fan, man. And I'll take any and all wins that'll help secure a Bowl bid for the Black and Gold.

And then, there's Sunday. Our much aligned Tennessee Titans play the once-upon-a-time hapless Cincinnati Bengals. This year's Bengals are the proud owners of a 4-1 record. The first NFL game I ever attended was a Bengals-Seahawks matchup in the now defunct Riverfront Stadium. For twelve years, they were the whipping boys of the NFL, the celler swellers of their division, teams felt rewarded to find them on their schedule. An easy win, no doubt. But now, the tide has turned. It is a team whose owners are making better hiring and spending decisions. It is a team whose coaches are making a difference. They are smart, tough, and impassioned, and it shows on the field.

My cool pop was a Cincinnati kid and he raised me to know the deliciousness of Skyline Chili, the timeless lyrics to the song "We're Here Because We're Here", and that there is not much more satisfying than a Cincinnati Bengals victory. So, Tennessee Titans, I love you. But not this week. To those who know, I say "Who dey, who dey?" You know the rest.

(Edit to add: Vandy game is over. They have lost. Georgia won. Dawgs, I now wish you a national championship.)

Thanks For Keeping My City Safe, You Rascal You

Murfreesboro cop suspended for alleged misconduct

The first violation doesn't really bother me too much, but the second one is pretty much inexcusable. I love my town.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Bad News...

...my computer is being repaired, tweaked, generally made better by a friend. And thus blogging will have to wait.

The good news...I'm doing the dishes and sweeping the floor instead of surfing the web.

I'd rather be blogging though.

Be well all.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Weekend Is Upon Us

I am off Sat and Sun (rare things in this industry), and I have good plans.

Exit/In on Saturday night and Radio Cafe on Sunday night. Locals, come on out if you like. There should be good music and good times awaiting.

from NashvilleRage:

Exit/In:
* FLUFFGIRL BURLESQUE & VAUDEVILLE ROADSHOW featuring TYER FYRE, ANGELA RYAN, THE INDRA, CECILIA BRAVO, CHICA BOOM and DJ CHAZ ROYAL.

In the same vein as our very own deliciously bawdy burlesque gals Panty Raid comes one of the most important troupes in the international revival of the long-dismantled burlesque circuit, FluffGirl Burlesque. Hailing from Toronto, FluffGirl have toured and teased the world with their undeniably sexy and sophisticated stage show.

10pm, Exit/In, $8 advance through Ticketmaster, Venus & Mars/Silvery Moon Vintage Clothing and Katy K’s, $10 door.


Radio Cafe:
Event: Plowhaus Benefit feat. Carrie Mills, Tommy Keenum, Jace Seavers, Bill Stever, Alan Rhody, Mark Webb, Patton James, Panty Raid & Joshua Black Wilkins Synopsis: A seasoned troubadour and respected guitarist, Rhody and his witty folk and bluegrass songs have earned comparisons to John Prine and the late John Hartford, both of whom appear on his album Journey.

James and company were doing swing and jump blues before the Big Bad Voodoo Cherry Poppin' Squirrel Nut onslaught of a few years ago. But James also indulges a passion for vintage Vegas lounge-style crooning, paying homage to Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin as much as Louis Prima and Louis Jordan.

Panty Raid are a burlesque troupe who perform classy, tasteful routines in cute little outfits--most of which they take off. Joshua Black Wilkins is a stylish, Lower Broad-style traditionalist who brings a rockabilly swagger to steel-driven, bass-slappin' honky-tonk.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

It Takes A Mother-In-Law

Money remains tight. But the love at Chéz Béz remains strong.
Mother-in-law is now officially a cohabitant. Hurricane Katrina did what she did, and now Biloxi has been traded for Murfreesboro. Fewer casinos, but more grandchildren. And now, I have to step up my game.

I've always been a lousy housekeeper (I honestly don't see the apparent dirt and dust and clutter that is only too obvious to others), and mother-in-law is exceptional at maintaining beautiful cleanliness. And so, I have to keep myself in check. No more leaving dishes in the sink with the intention of getting to them "when I get the chance." I must rise to the occasion and minimize the need to pick up after me.

She has been here only a few days now, and the "clean the garage" project is high priority and she has taken the bull by the horns. This garage (with no help from yours truly) is, after years of respectful neglect, looking like a nice place to park one's car. It's amazing the things one can do when there is not a blog that needs maintaining, a video game that needs playing, or a nap that needs taking.
I'm grateful that she's here and hope that she always knows just how welcome she is. (Yes, I tell her.) Except I have this sneaking suspicion that my next day off will be spent cleaning out closets and building shelves.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Company Man

Another weird night at work and I am exhausted. The guy who does the job that I hate quit today. This means that until his replacement is found, I'm the guy. Doing what in other industries, seniority would have taken me far from by now. But there is no seniority here. They just make schedules and fill holes. My name always seems to come up first when it's time to fill holes.

It's been better lately though. I've got the heart of a second shifter and it's been a long time since I have found myself setting the alarm for 3:00am for a first shift duty. 8:00am is the earliest I have had to come in lately, and that shows me that management cares somewhat for me. But now, it looks like while I am still happily on second shift, it'll be a more difficult and less rewarding one than I prefer.

Taking one for the team. That's what I do. When the time comes for me to put them down for a reference as I try to better myself, they had better speak highly of me. For them, I suffer kindly...everyday.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

"Carlito?" "Hello Gayle."


While looking through the New York Times, I saw an ad for a new movie. It was for Carlito's Way: Rise To Power (2005). I was really excited for about four hours. Reading up on it later that evening revealed that a lot of critics were placing it as average at best. And these were critics like me, critics who loved Carlito's Way (1993).

I had just broken up with a girlfriend and was looking for a way to busy my mind with anything but her. So to the movies I went. I saw that Al Pacino was in one of the choices and that was all that I needed. Paying my four or five bucks, I sat down to the story of Carlito Brigante. And I loved it. It was written by writer and Judge Edwin Torres. Brian DePalma directed and Al Pacino and Art Garfunkel, I mean Sean Penn starred.

It took care of my pain and took me to a world I am glad I only know through cinema. Drug dealers and murderers, people caught in a cycle of loyalty to miscreants. Pacino was the bad guy trying to go good. Freed from prison on a technicality, with the aid of his lawyer, Art Garfunkel, I mean Sean Penn, all he wanted to do was hustle up enough money to buy a car rental company in paradise. But Edwin Torres knew the reality all too well. Some people just aren't born into a life where you can just choose peace. Not if you want to live.

So anyway, I have loved this movie since its release. It's sexy, dangerous, and cool. And DePalma made what was probably an average movie into something that was fresh and fun. Now, the producer and longtime friend of Pacino has directed this prequel. From what I read, it's not all that great. Except for a limited run in a few big city theaters, it's straight to DVD. I'll catch it anyway, but the initial excitement has passed. And that could be the thing that saves it. My expectations have dropped, and now I am ready to be pleasantly surprised. Just the way the 1993 release became so much more than I required of it.

Oh, and since people tend to write about what they are listening to when blogging, I'll add that Yahoo Launchcast is now playing "Say Yes" by Elliott Smith. Nice surprise there, too. I haven't heard that song since the last time I saw Good Will Hunting. Man, I love that song!

Get Your Own Slogan

http://www.sloganizer.net/en/

Here are a few that would look good on a shirt:

«You can't beat Beziat.»
«Beziat nonstop.»
«Always the real thing, always Beziat.»
«Beziat - Your personal entertainer.»
«Ooh la la, Beziat.»
«Nobody does it like Beziat.»
«Beziat, whiter than the whitest!»
«Beziat is your safe place in an unsafe world!»
«Beziat kicks ass.»

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Rising

Bruce Springsteen's The Rising CD was released in 2002. I'm a fan, but for some reason I only recently found myself with a copy of it. My mom gave it to me a few months ago and it sat unlistened to for way too long. A couple of days ago, I took it with me for the drive to work. Initially, a few songs stood out and many others just seemed a bit muddled, trudging along in a bit of that generic Springsteen sound. Of course, our favorite CDs get better with repeated listenings, and this one has the makings of being in the top 10 of the year for me.

As I drove home from work tonight, I listened to "You're Missing" on repeat for what might have been six or seven times. And each time, I found tears trying to do what they do. It's my impression that this song focuses on that spouse that never came home, having perished on 9/11, maybe an employee at the World Trade Center, maybe a rescue worker. And someone is left at home, that home made to share life forever with that perfect match. Only that perfect match will never, in body, be there again. Missing.

In art, we can easily find ourselves living someone else's life if only for five minutes and ten seconds, in the case of this song. In great art, we can really live the pain and/or joy of that life. As a husband to the person I will love forever, as the father to three who give me life's best everyday, I weep at the brief thought that I might one day truly receive that proof of how fleeting life can be. I pray desperately never to need the strength to cope with that. But people have to do that everyday. I wish them peace.

I am reminded now, in late 2005, of the images of the man in Biloxi who lost his wife in Hurricane Katrina. My wife and my mother-in-law were watching the news nonstop. My mother-in-law lived in Biloxi and was staying with us, a car full of her life parked in our Murfreesboro driveway. As I walked through the room, trying to balance my sympathy for my mother-in-law who had a connection to this storm that I did not with the fact that she and my wife were choosing FoxNews as their news channel of choice (not mine!), I saw a man being interviewed who couldn't find his wife. He had truly lost her. He didn't know where she was, whether she was alive or not, whether she was in pain or not. He just kept sobbing, "I can't find my wife. I'm lost, I'm lost." And our household sobbed, too. And our hearts go out to him, and to anyone else in the world experiencing what no one should.

And thanks to artists like Bruce Springsteen, who continue to write so artfully and with such compassion. We buy your CDs, we go to your concerts, and we buy your merchandise. And you give so beautifully of your art, helping to nudge us along that path from entertainment to altruism.

You give us what we want but you also give us what we need. And that's where we find The Rising.

Click here for lyrics and a snippet of "You're Missing".

Monday, September 26, 2005

What Has Four Legs And One Eye?


This is Georgia, our English Bulldog. She is of the Uga line, that famous line of mascots for the University of Georgia. She is my sweetie. I come home from work late each night knowing that the family will be comfortably asleep, but Georgia will be waiting for me to take her for a walk down our quiet street.

She has only one eye, and is thus called "the one 'eye' love." She was born blind in the other eye and the vet surgically removed it a year or so ago. She is skittish as anything, probably as a result of her impaired vision, and now deals with a two year old boy running around the house freaking her out each day and night. As most good dogs do though, she just puts up with his craziness and waits for us to direct him away from her. He has been better recently about being sweet on her. It's her reward for outlasting his wild times with her own peaceful patience.

The desire (and upcoming bad joke) is that we would like to be able to afford another dog and playmate to Georgia. Since she is a bulldog of the English persuasion, we want a French Bulldog. Then we could take them both out for walks together, the English so that she can go pee, and the French Bulldog so that she can go "oui oui."


Saturday, September 24, 2005

QB Option

I just returned from Vandy's latest triumph, bringing them to an unimaginable 4-0 on the season. My father and I were sitting with some friends of the family and saying weird things like, "They just brought in the 2nd string QB because the game's in the bag" and "they went for it on 4th down instead of kicking the easy field goal because points are not important to them at this point in the game."

Upon hearing that last bit of information, one of our friends turned to us and, with a kind and compassionate smile, said, "isn't life wonderful when you have options?" It's true. For the first time in years, I was watching the end of a Vanderbilt football game discussing the options they had, not the necessary and usually futile playcalls in pursuit of victory.

I have a feeling that she wasn't just talking about football though. Much has been in the news lately about the poor of our country. When you have so little that you do not have the resources to flee an approaching and devastating storm, you have little indeed. My Saturday evening was spent in pleasure. I drove to Hillsboro Village to share croissants and coffee with my dad. We then walked to a stadium, rested comfortably upon bleachers and enjoyed a few hours of good times.

I sometimes feel that despite my attempts at earning and saving for a more comfortable living, I am failing daily. But I also know that my worst times are the best of hopes for so many. I sometimes feel the weight of my limited options. But I know that there are so many who live without even that. It's my fear that something as little as a broken fuel pump or a faulty alternator will severely damage my ability to get to work, thus snowballing into further financial struggles or worries. It would just be a minor inconvenience for some, but it worries me daily. Thankfully, I must realize and admit that I have options. I do have some money in the bank, I could charge any repair, or I could borrow from a family member. I'd rather not borrow, but it is an option.

Because of all the things I have in life and of all the blessings and breaks I have received, I know not to look for pity from the absolute millions in the world who don't have what I have. The oppressed people of Darfur, the 200,000 Kenyan children who face famine everyday, the homeless of Nashville, TN.

I have options. And life is wonderful.

The Champagne of Beers

Sometimes we find the best art in advertisements. This new ad for Miller High Life is exceptional. Even if it does seem to completely rip-off True Romance (same music, same style of narration).

Here it is (if I linked it right).

The Views Expressed On This Post...

...don't necessarily reflect the views of this blogger. I just think it's a funny bumper sticker.

Another one I saw that I didn't take a picture of was, "Don't blame me; my parents were hippies." I would have paid top dollar for that one.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ode To My Wife


Her birthday is soon to arrive and I hope she always knows how much I love her. She married me three years ago and all I am is humbled whenever I hear that sound of my wedding ring when I pick up a glass with my left hand. I am a hotel bellman and I often use my left hand to grab a bellcart with my left hand just to hear the sound of those wedding bells again. I love that they are always with me.

We've been tested for sure. No dramatic temptations of our fidelity. Nothing as would be scripted for the big screen to appeal to a mass audience. Just everyday busyness. She awakens for work a few hours after I come home from my work. Our schedules work for what we need, but they keep us at a distance from each other. A few hours together from time to time and we are assuredly too exhausted to behave for each other the way we did when we first met.

I regret that we don't have more time together, but we both seem to clearly see the bigger picture. In time, our kindness and patience of today will be rewarded. For now, I take our small moments and cherish them. I work each night knowing it's for the greater good. I think of the times I have needed her most, and she has come through without hesitation. I think of a time when I made a potentially costly mistake and she only supported me. A lot of people would not have been so kind as she. She has never nagged and we have never fought. Not counting a break, we have been together for nine years. And even when we broke off our relationship for a year or so, the breakup was the most kind and loving breakup one can imagine. It's no wonder we reunited.

She gives me strength and I always want to look and be my best for her. My flaws are not hidden to my wife. They are revealed with confidence. We joke that Jon Bon Jovi is her "get out of marriage free" card. But even in the silliness of that kind of talk, I can never commit to anyone for myself. No one measures up to her. Even fantasies don't rival what she gives me in marriage. ( I would settle for Mary-Chapin Carpenter, I suppose.)

Paige, you are a wonderful person. I value you for so many reasons, including your kindness, your compassion, and your smarts. Our kids are lucky to have you to love them and guide them through life. And, of course, you're a knockout.

Thanks for marrying me. Thanks for loving me. This wedding ring sounds great.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

HNT - New Yorker Is In The House!


I knew it was coming. I confirmed my order some time ago. And according to my calculations, because I chose the free (and slowest) shipping, it would arrive on September 30. Well, how about it waiting for me on the kitchen counter when I came home from work today, September 21?

A big shoutout to my mom, who paid for the thing. Thanks Mom! And another big shoutout to my dad, who got me loving it in the first place. Thanks Pops! (And Happy Birthday!)

The Complete New Yorker - Every Page Of Every Issue, On Eight DVD-ROMs. 4,109 Issues, Half A Million Pages. Mine To Search And Savor.

You like David Sedaris? He's here. You like Adam Gopnik? He's here. Woody Allen? James Baldwin? Saul Bellow? Truman Capote? David Denby? James Dickey? Garrison Keillor? Anthony Lane? Bernard Malamud? Steve Martin? Susan Orlean? Dorothy Parker? Sylvia Path? Salman Rushdie? Upton Sinclair? Susan Sontag? James Thurber? John Updike? All here.

Don't bug me. As long as the power is on and the computer is working, I've got some reading to do.