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 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.


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...

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


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 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 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

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
(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.)