Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Some Flowers They Will Grow Regardless Of The Odds

Six Of Note

These might not be the six greatest singer-songwriters ever, but they are probably the six greatest singer-songwriters that far too few people know about. And they are certainly among my personal favorites.

Don Henry
Geoff Baker
Peter Himmelman
Michael McDermott
David Baerwald
Mark Germino (no website)

[Edit to add: The problem with lists like this is that someone always seems to get left off. I woke up this morning and it occurred to me that I had forgotten about Nashville's finest, David Olney (on myspace). It's only been a few times that I have been lucky to hear him live, but each time he has absolutely owned the room with his beautiful and stirring yarns of characters real and imagined.

One more than one occasion, I have brought a friend who had little or no interest in the artist and was just tagging along with me to tag along with me. Each time, by concert's end that friend would be asking me all kinds of questions about David Olney and where to buy his CDs. If for no other reason than "Jerusalem Tomorrow," he is one of the best that Nashville has.]

Two Pumpkinheads and a Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Gospel According to Dooce

Found amidst all of the fantastic silliness and adorable photos on Dooce.com is a remarkable post which resonates strongly with this blogger, i.e. I know just how she feels.
We can’t shake this creepy feeling that we’ve been violated in the most disgusting way, made to fear the loss of the roof over our heads. I firmly believe that the mystery illness Jon suffered in August was a direct result of the stress he was trying to cope with, the stress of trying to remain calm and level-headed as he watched his wife collapse frequently into a sobbing heap on the floor.

I have not handled this well. I have also felt completely responsible for putting my family through this, for being the reason that our futures were jeopardized, and the guilt of that has been almost too much to live through.
A few years ago something happened that I won't go deeply into. Suffice it to say that I made an honest man's error in judgment that, in the blink of an eye, made me vulnerable to a lawsuit. Going through life alone is one thing, but when there is a partner and there are dependants, these setbacks can feel both devastating and demoralizing. For so many months after the incident, I lived in fear not that I would be faced with impossible financial repercussions but that my family's needs and wants would now be severely restricted - and thanks to me. I don't recall a period in my life where I felt so low for so long.

The good news is that nothing came of it. Absolutely nothing. People who could have milked a situation for easy money apparently chose not to. As I had prayed those many months for my family's well-being, I still offer a prayer of thanks for that family's honesty. Unless there is more to the story than I know, these were rare and honest people. I had dodged the metaphorical bullet. My wife and I still struggle like most folks do and there is no dishonor in that. She works and I work and the kids grow up a little more each day.

The autumn leaves outside are stunning. With my camera in hand, I will leave for work today a bit early and snap some pics along the way. Life can be beautiful, indeed.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

He Sees The World As He Lives His World

Watching bits and pieces of the Titans game with the three year old:
Joshua: What's he doing now?
Me: Well, nothing right now. It's a time out.
Joshua: He's in time out? Did he push his sister down?
It would have been funnier if the conversation had continued as such:
Joshua: He should say he's sorry and kiss his sister.
Me: Only if the game ends in a tie, young son.

The Old Adage is True

I couldn't have been more than five years old but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a mere cherub myself and I was sitting on my grandmother's knee. We were listening to old hymns and waxing philosophic when she looked me in my saucer-like eyes of brown and said, "Remember this young crumbsnatcher, a watched blog gathers no comments."

Or maybe I'm not remembering that quite right.

Today is nice but a bit weird. My wife is at the Titans game and I am home with the kids. They are sleeping soundly with dreams of stormtroopers dancing in their heads. (Well, I doubt the stormtroopers are actually dancing, but what do I know? They're not my dreams.) I have the game on but the sound is off. An archived performance of the Grand Ole Opry is playing on my laptop and Trisha Yearwood is singing about some girl who is in love with some boy.

My wife loves country music and I love music more along the lines of Nine Inch Nails and Tom Waits. But here I am choosing to listen to steel guitar galore while she is away. I'll leave that tidbit for someone else to analyze. My little guy just woke up from his nap and he wants to watch Star Wars again. Works for me. I can always keep up with the Titans game online.

Best Thing I've Read On Tom Waits In A While

There was a lot more to it than that, though. An Illinois farm girl from Irish Catholic stock, Kathleen was the catalyst for the dramatic sea-change in Waits's music that occurred with the release of Swordfishtrombones in 1983. 'I didn't just marry a beautiful woman,' he says, 'I married a record collection.'

The songs he writes with Kathleen are often filled with echoes... more>>

I Love My Wookie...

...and my wookie loves me.

Having A Bad Day?

This'll cheer you up.

Darth Vader vs. the Japanese police

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Watching Star Wars with a Three Year Old

I am resisting the urge to explain to him that Han Solo actually shot first. I'll give him that little diatribe when he is old enough to better roll his eyes at me.

For now, his thoughts on the film:

Opening title crawl: "Oh no, it's over."
On R2-D2: "What's the little baby saying?"
On Chewbacca: "That's a big dog."
On Darth Vader: "Ooh, I see the black guy. What's his name?"

Luke's landspeeder is a helicopter.
The sandpeople use a broomstick as a weapon.
C-3PO is R2D2's daddy.

Who Says You Can't Go Home?

This is the house where I grew up.
Somehow I remember the porch being higher.

Attention Nashville Songwriters

Everywhere we look, another "Pacman did me wrong" story.

Songwriters, can "The Ballad of Pacman Jones" be far off?

Bon Jovi Brings His Unfair Advantage to Nashville

Women across Nashville will be calling off work on November 6th this year. Are they making a point? Is there a protest of sorts going on?

Nope. Just an aging rocker making all of us other guys look bad. I've heard it said that his eyes are "dreamy," his body "sexy," and his hair...well, it's just unfair to compare his locks to ours. But, Jon "I'm sexier than Mike" Bon Jovi will be performing live downtown with Sugarland for Good Morning America. Bosses of women across Nashville should just accept that their estrogen wearing employees will be in a few hours late that morning. They should just smile politely when they hear phrases like, "He looked right at me!" and "Husband? What husband?"

Many years ago, when I was but a young teen nerd, my music industry aunt took me backstage to a Bon Jovi concert. I tried to impress my wife with this bit of info but it just didn't fly. Jon had gone straight from stage to hotel room, leaving me and others to meet everybody in the band except him. So I was cool, but I wasn't that cool. Sorry Tico Torres, but I bet you get that a lot.

It's The Other Kind

A couple of years ago, I struck up a conversation with a guy who was in the indoor tanning business. He was quite the highly motivated sort. I met him before "I just threw up a little bit in my mouth" entered the nation's lexicon, but everything about his life was awesome! and amazing! and exciting!

Ever the mood killer, I think I asked him something about the dangers to the skin associated with tanning. His answer was instant and beautiful (or dreadful if you are the serious sort). He quickly noted that studies had shown that the rays from tanning beds "do cause cancer. But it's cool because it's not the kind of cancer that kills you."


Does that work in pickup lines, too? "I should tell you that I do have an STD, but it's cool because it's not the kind of STD that kills you." Try it and get back to me.

Friday, October 27, 2006

John Waters Lowers The Bar And I Love Him For It

The temporary descent into complete tastelessness can be a beautiful and wondrous thing.

For eight plus hours, I wore the uniform and the name tag. I said things like, "Yes, sir" and "My pleasure, ma'am." It didn't come up but I was prepared as always to "beg your pardon for the inconvenience." My posture was a sight to behold and my manners designed to impress.

But as Bob Dylan sings, "it ain't me babe."

Underneath that red pressed uniform, my skin is more closely covered by a tight Led Zeppelin t-shirt reading the following: "Squeeze My Lemon." And we know the rest of those lyrics, don't we?

I clocked out and descended the cold blue steps to the locker room and exchanged my black shoes/black slacks for my three year old tennis shoes and my ripped blue jeans. Thirty minutes later, one Waffle House entree consumed (yes, in the words of Tom Waits, "I am a pioneer of the palate") and a six pack of beer and a lottery ticket purchased, I am in my 1991 station wagon and on my way home.

Life is good and it gets better. Once home, I turn on my TV to the almighty IFC and find the greatest of the NC-17s, Female Trouble by Mr. John Waters. It's so bad that it's fantastic. Divine, I am almost embarrassed to say, is someone I can't take my eyes off of. What Divine and John Waters have given to the cinematic arts is certainly...um, not for everyone. I, for one, am a lifelong fan. The purposeful vomit of bad taste is all over this movie.

If the beauty of John Waters is not enough, Pith In The Wind points me to the trailer for some gore galore. (Good luck on the link. The trailer hasn't found a stable home yet.)

But back to Divine. This is terrible and I love every minute of it. It seems like everyone who was ever told "you have no future in the movie business" went out and got involved in this movie. Good for them. We all have a shot is the lesson that I get from this.

One more beer and a few Bukowski poems before bed and I'll get back to being shy and polite tomorrow. Until then, all of this fake blood on the screen looks both silly and fantastic.

True Fear in the Boroughs

From The New Yorker's Talk of the Town:
Issue of 2006-10-30
Posted 2006-10-23

“No one’s really afraid of Frankenstein,” Timothy Haskell said the other day. Last Halloween, Haskell, a theatre director, staged a public haunted house on the Lower East Side, and so many people showed up that hundreds never made it inside. “We realized that we had to turn away a lot of local people,” Haskell said. So this year he put up haunted houses in all five boroughs, tailored to prey on the fears... more>>

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Three People I Love

Paige and Ari lost in laughter

Paige and Joshua at the pond

On Adam Gopnik

While on my honeymoon in August 2002, I had the pleasure of reading Adam Gopnik's Paris To The Moon. Quickly, I found myself completely in love with his expertly touching prose. His stories of Paris as seen through the eyes of his young son, Luke, were told so beautifully that I just had to read passages aloud to my new wife. And I trust that she found the words just as sweet.

Since then, Mr. Gopnik has written so many fantastic essays for The New Yorker and one children's book, The King in the Window. His most recent book, entitled Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York, is a warm collection of essays written since the Gopniks' return to New York City. My favorite of his essays are all here. From his daughter and her imaginary friend, who like so many New Yorkers, has such a busy schedule that he just doesn't have time to play with her and is always promising to call her back ("Bumping into Mr. Ravioli"), to his most wonderful tribute to his friend, Kirk Varnedoe, dying of colon cancer, who takes time to coach football to a group of kids in Central Park ("The Last of the Metrozoids").

It's my opinion that no parent's bookshelf is complete without the works of Adam Gopnik. I read his accounts of parenting and I have no doubt that they have some effect on my own personal approach to the same.

A few related links from the web:

Writer sees life from a child's view

Raising kids in NYC, where even an imaginary friend has a personal assistant

Manhattan to the Moon

Notes from a small island

Laughing Out Loud
(with podcast)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fantasy Congress

Where it's not about how many yards your quarterback throws, but how many bills your senator introduces.


The story in the New York Times


(Full schedule)

C-SPAN Highlights
* U.S. Intitute of Peace Discussion on Afghanistan (9am) - LIVE

C-SPAN2 Highlights
* Sec. Rice on Current U.S. Policy in Northeast Asia (12:30pm) - LIVE

C-SPAN3 Highlights
* Pres. Clinton Address to Columbine High School (7pm)

Speaking In Public Ain't My Bag

Arianna Huffington recently wrote a book entitled On Becoming Fearless. I wrote about it a few months ago and was invited by Huffington Post's Fearless Voices to submit a post on the topic. My fear is the very common fear of speaking in public. I haven't conquered it yet, but I continue to try. Here's my story:

I have in the past decade or so turned down countless opportunities for career advancement. Why? I am able to envision that in any of these accomplishments, I'd have to at some point give a speech. And that's my albatross. I've got a lot of good features, I look good in a suit, and I am a warm, kind, and honest guy. I just can't speak in public worth a damn.

Knowing how this silly fear has been holding me back, I finally went to a doctor about it and he kindly prescribed some mild medication. I started taking it, and for a week or so, I did feel much more relaxed. Certain social settings where I would normally feel some anxieties, now left me feeling no stress whatsoever. I was feeling quite good about what I was doing for myself.

And then came my brother's wedding. For the rehearsal dinner, all of the groomsmen, bridesmaids, friends, and family would be saying a few words about the bride and the groom. No problem. No uncomfortable feelings whatsoever. The days pass, I work out what I am going to say, and I feel great.

Then the night of the rehearsal dinner comes and it turns out that not only will we be speaking in front of everyone, but we will be doing so in front of the room, and with a microphone. It's a bigger presentation than I had expected. I still feel fine, relaxed, and cool. I watch several people stand up and speak, most of them prefacing about how nervous they are, but all of them sounding very much like Toastmasters veterans. One guy jokes about how he feels like he's giving a book report in front of the class. Everyone laughs and smiles. This is the warmest and most loving and supportive group of people you could hope for.

And it's my turn. I walk confidently up to the front, take the mic, and proceed to talk before my friends and family. Except I am surprised to hear my amplified voice quiver. And then I can't remember anything I was going to say because I am a) shocked to hear my voice so augmented, and b) put off by hearing the fear that I didn't think I had. And so I give a nervous and shaky but heartfelt 30-second speech. Everyone receives it politely and well, but now I doubt that any little pill is going to help me with this thing.

I've got to beat this thing. Otherwise, I will remain the most well-read, well-spoken entry level worker out there. There's nothing wrong with entry level work, but I am tired of customers meeting me and asking if I am in school and doing this thing part-time. Nope, ten years I have been doing this. No seniority, no significant raises, this is my life. Smiling politely.

French Rap

Easily influenced by the blogs I read, I knew after reading Thursday Night Fever's latest post that I had to find out more about the French rapper featured in the closing credits of District B13.
."..and prepare to be blown away by how spectacular the french rap song during the closing credits is.

Who knew? French rappers? Hardcore rapping in french is awesome (maybe my critical logic was still suspended). This weekend, I'm going to cruise around downtown blaring french rap. Quoi Quoi! Watch out Red Iguana! Allez Vou!"

The rapper is MC Jean Gab'1 and I'm with Thursday Night. Il cannelle!

MC Jean Gab'1 on YouTube

How To Be An Adult

From the U.K.'s The Telegraph:

Don't be affronted Being affronted (or offended, or complaining about 'inappropriateness') is no response for a grown-up. Only children believe the world should conform to their own view of it: a sort of magical thinking that can only lead to warfare, terrorism, unmanageable short-term debt and the Blair/Bush alliance

Mistrust anything catchy, whether it's the Axis of Evil, advertising slogans, or blatant branding ('New Labour'). Catchiness exists to prevent thought and to disguise motive. Grown-ups can think for themselves

Ignore celebrities, except when they are doing what they are celebrated for doing: acting, playing football et cetera. Skill does not confer moral, political or intellectual discrimination. (Except in the case of writers. Writers know everything and can lecture you with impunity.) If a celebrity is not celebrated for doing anything but being a celebrity, smile politely but pay no notice... the entire article>>

Sudan, 600 Miles From Darfur and Worlds Away

Here young, rich Sudanese, wearing ripped jeans and fancy gym shoes, sit outside licking scoops of ice cream as an outdoor air-conditioning system sprays a cooling veil of mist. Around the corner is a new BMW dealership unloading $165,000 cars.

“I tell people you only live this life once,” said Nada Gerais, a saleswoman.

While one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises continues some 600 miles away in Darfur, across Khartoum bridges are being built, office towers are popping up, supermarkets are opening and... more>>

When The Alarm Sounds...

...you just have to get out of your toy box and start the day.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sudan expels UN official for blog revealing Darfur military defeats

Sudan is to expel the UN's top official in the country after he reported two military defeats for the government and other embarrassing details in the largely invisible war in the western region of Darfur.

Journalists and aid workers have minimal access to the conflict zone to check claims and counter claims by government and rebel commanders as well as displaced villagers, but Jan Pronk used his authority as Kofi Annan's special representative to make sensitive statements on his weblog.

This month he reported heavy government casualties, the sacking of several generals and... more>>

Meeting Helen Thomas

It was my extreme pleasure to see White House correspondent Helen Thomas tonight. She spoke at my hotel for the Women's Economic Council Foundation. I helped carry in her books for the autograph session. Standing right next to her while she was introduced to attendees, I was in awe. "The First Lady of the Press," a journalist who has been covering the White House since 1960 and asking the toughest questions of the most powerful men day in and day out, was right there beside me.

Living in a country with freedom of the press is, of course, a beautiful and cherished thing. I think about a female journalist covering the President in the year 2006 and it's no big deal. And then I think about Helen Thomas, a female journalist covering the President in the year 1960 and I marvel at her accomplishments, both for herself and for her gender. It was an honor to be near her tonight.

Her latest book is titled Watchdogs of Democracy?: The Waning Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed the Public. It's available online and at your local library, but I'd recommend supporting local favorites Bookman Bookwoman in Hillsboro Village. It's one of Nashville's best.

Tom Waits: Orphans News

Tom Waits fans will get three CDs at once this fall, as Anti- prepares to release a box set of the singer's material. Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards will be released Nov. 21, but before the street date, Anti- will unveil one of the set's CDs each week on its website, beginning Oct. 24... more>>

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I've Got A Bad Feeling About This

Saturday found the Chez Bez contingent at a comic book festival. Stormtroopers and their ilk were kind enough to take time away from evil-doing to pose for pictures with us. They are actually members of the Southern Outpost of the 501st Charter, an international Star Wars costuming club that participates in community events such as charities, hospital visits, and conventions. Click here and get your Force on.

Christian is surrounded by some nefarious miscreants.

They've got my daughter and me too. But I don't mind because I am a Star Wars loving nerd.

Joshua loved the stormtrooper...but only from afar. Paige, like me, had a blast.

You just know that his ringtone has got to be "The Imperial March."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Out of position: Against the politics of relative standing

From Policy magazine, by Will Wilkinson

HL Mencken once quipped that, ‘a wealthy man is one who earns $100 a year more than his wife’s sister’s husband.’ Writing last April on the definition of poverty in The New Yorker, journalist John Cassidy takes the logic of Mencken’s satire of low-grade ressentiment fully seriously and plumps for its liberal application to public policy. Cassidy argues that it is indeed a hardship to make less than your wife’s sister’s husband ...more>>

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Mr. No-Depth Perception, Steve Wynn

By now, we've all read or heard about the $139-million "oops." Actually, it wasn't an "oops," but an "Oh shit, look what I've done."

Steve Wynn, hotel casino magnate, was showing one of his paintings, Picasso's La Reve, to some friends and managed to poke a hole in it with his elbow. He had agreed to a selling price of $139-million only a couple of weeks beforehand and had just, with one badly orchestrated gesture, killed the deal.

Remember Kevin Nealon's Mr. No-Depth Perception from SNL? Steve Wynn reportedly suffers from something resembling that. It's actually called Retinitis Pigmentosa. My eye doctor tells me that I have a similar affliction, which is why I don't go around buying Picasso paintings. The risk is just not worth it to me.

Surely we've all unintentionally damaged something of value. What's your favorite "oops" moment?
Related stories:
Punctured Picasso could still pay off - Chris Lackner Surprising, but it makes sense.

A $139-Million Tear - Rob Long A great piece on Steve Wynn comparing this recent tear with the mini-bars in Mr. Wynn's hotel rooms.

Steamy Romance Novels

My wife is one of the many who loves a good romance novel. The readers of these books and their authors never seem to get any respect.

The New York Times has a story about a little controversy regarding romance novels and the intellect of their readers:
"The Greater Washington Initiative, a business group devoted to attracting investment to the area, put up the posters, which feature side-by-side photographs: of a man reading Plato’s “Republic,” under the caption “Greater Washington Subway Reading,” and of the same man poring over a romance novel, under the caption "Average Subway Reading."

Susan Combs, running for comptroller in Texas, wrote a romance novel in 1990 and her opponent, trying to use that against her, is accusing her of writing pornography.

I've never read any romance novels, but ever since Robin Williams' homeless character defended them in The Fisher King, I've been quick to defend them as well.
Lydia: Yeah, but what we publish is mostly trashy romance novels.

Perry: Don't say that. There's nothing trashy about romance. In romance is passion. There's imagination. There's beauty. Besides, you find...some wonderful things in the trash.

What a beautiful way to put it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Scarlett Sings Waits?

Well, this could be interesting. Just the rumor that Scarlett Johansson wants to do an album of Tom Waits songs is promising enough. The impulse to be snarky is being reigned in. But he was "Big In Japan" four years before she was Lost In Translation there.

[Note: I found this via TheBosh. After perusing the site a bit, I am not sure if it's a reputable source for news. It's quite gossipy (and fun). Still, the idea of the album is kind of cool. I hope the rumor turns out to be true.]

Holly Cole did a great Tom Waits covers album. Diana Krall's interpretation of "Temptation" is one of my all time favorite of Tom Waits covers. I'm betting that Scarlett Johansson can do the work justice.

Of course, the covers album I'm most impatient for is the one by Southside Johnny. He has lived and breathed those songs for more years than Scarlett has been alive. No offense to the young movie star, but age and hard road win out in this comparison. I'll buy them both though. I'm a sucker for all things Tom Waits related.

What's On Your List?

I was talking with a friend the other day about how we get so busy sometimes with work or for family that we can forget to make time for ourselves. We can easily make time for the small pleasures: a coffee and croissant at Provence in Hillsboro Village, a foreign language film at the Belcourt Theatre. But what about the big items on the "Things To Do Before I Die" list?

Mine is probably a bit odd, but it suits my quiet relationship with the world quite well. I'd like to take a month (maybe two), and ride the rails across America. One ticket, my camera and my notebook by my side, and a lot of stops along the way. I'd research all of the planned stops and take the time to get to know the towns. I've spent many an evening looking at various AmTrak routes and envisioning myself with a window seat, watching my America as the steel train made its way across so much history. I'd be a regular Peter Jenkins, just with a lot less walking.

Plan B is to get a job as a flight attendant and move about the country from a somewhat higher vantage point. At least plan B comes with uninterrupted pay and health insurance benefits. The resume is in. Now I'm just waiting for that call.

What's on your list?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Boo Nashville!

The spooky season is upon us and it's time to look around our community and see what it has to offer those of us with kids.

The Nashville Zoo has Ghouls at Grassmere running October 20 - 22 and October 27 - 29. They are also interested in volunteers.

Our neighbor to the south, Franklin, has its annual Pumpkinfest on October 28.

The Belle Meade Plantation jumps into the mix as well on October 27 with its Haunting Halloween Evening Tours. Here you will find an "interactive Victorian seance, horse-drawn hayrides, creepy stories, palm readings, eerie refreshments, and more. Not recommended for children under 12."

[I'll add to this later. I'm late for work.]

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Songs about horrible physical afflictions and/or mental disorders!

Shaky hand? Nervous tick? Nauseated?

Cross-eyed? Bruised? Colorblind?

Got vertigo? A girlfriend in a coma?

They're all here this week.

Now that's some theme!

Listen to the archive (available until next Saturday's show replaces it) of Claire's radio program, I Like Songs.

Here is the playlist.

Enjoy and feel better.

It's Date Night!

Wait. Where do adults go for dates nowadays?

I have no ideas. Where do you coupled bloggers with kids go when the opportunity presents itself?

[Edit to add: We drove to Hillsboro Village, had a nice walk around despite cooling temperatures, and shared a pizza at Pizza Perfect.

She: Watched the Florida-Auburn game on the TV.
He: Perused the Nashville Scene's yearly "Best Of Nashville" edition.

Afterward, we walked a bit more and then came home. We here at Chez Bez know how to live it up. Bottom line, it's just nice to spend some quiet leisure time together. It's a rare and treasured thing these days.]

Give Him Credit, He's A Nobel Peace Prize Winner

A Bangladeshi economist yesterday won the Nobel peace prize for helping to lift millions out of poverty by lending tiny amounts of money directly to the neediest people on the planet.

Muhammad Yunus, the microcredit pioneer, and the bank he founded in Bangladesh, Grameen, were presented... more>>

Give Me The News In French, Mademoiselle

Esquire magazine was quite right. French journalist, Melissa Theuriau, most definitely belongs in their Women We Love issue. I can't say it any better than they did so I'll just share their words and link to her newscasts on YouTube.

This is how you reverse the steady twenty-five-year decline of the American network evening news: You don't hire for the gravitas of Walter Cronkite. You don't hire for the courage it takes to report from Tikrit. And you don't hire Katie Couric. You hire for exquisite beauty.

Theuriau can be seen on French network M6 (or on YouTube, which is where we found her). She is, by any reasonable global standard, jaw-droppingly beautiful and almost certainly the most attractive person ever to use the term "G-8 Summit" ("le Sommet du G-8"). Or "remote-controlled bomb" ("la bombe télécommandée"). Or "good evening" ("bonsoir").

And she is a bright face that a troubled nation desperately needs.

A woman this beautiful would do for American television viewers the same thing she would do if she walked into a dimly lit bar: She would heighten our awareness. She would focus us. And more important, even as she was delivering a laundry list of really bad news (in French if necessary—we don't mind subtitles), she'd make us feel better about being alive. A Senate speech wouldn't be any less nane for her having told us about it. A tornado wouldn't be any less destructive. A brood of ducklings wouldn't be any less motherless. But described by such a mouth, softened by such eyes, set against such skin, our world would seem a little less doomed. —ROSS McCAMMON

Friday, October 13, 2006

Trading Hopelessness For Three Hots And A Cot

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 12 (AP) — A man who could not find steady work came up with a plan to make it through the next few years until he could collect Social Security: He robbed a bank, handed the money to a guard and waited for the police. ...more>>

Far Out!

from Astonomy Picture of the Day:

Reflection Nebulas in Orion
Credit & Copyright: T. Rector (U. Alaska Anchorage), H. Schweiker, NOAO, AURA, NSF

Explanation: In the vast Orion Molecular Cloud complex, several bright blue nebulas are particularly apparent. Pictured above are two of the most prominent reflection nebulas - dust clouds lit by the reflecting light of bright embedded stars. The more famous nebula is M78, near the image center, cataloged over 200 years ago. On the upper left is the lesser known NGC 2071. The image was taken with the Mayall 4-meter telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona, USA. Astronomers continue to study these reflection nebulas to better understand how interior stars form. The Orion complex lies about 1500 light-years distant, contains the Orion and Horsehead nebulas, and covers much of the constellation of Orion.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ideals Are Like...

"Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny." - Carl Schurz

-from Thought-of-the-Day on Refdesk.com

I Heart My Spouse

I love these moments when my already beautiful wife just seems to raise the bar of beauty. I was getting ready in the bathroom today and in she walked in her tight jeans and her new pink shirt that reads, "I Love Jack," and I just fell a touch more in love with her.

But this love she has for Captain Jack Sparrow is starting to complicate matters. Stupid pirate.

Panty Raid! is Bringing Sexy Back

I will be sure to find myself unable to check out Panty Raid! at Mercy Lounge on Oct. 27. For the last couple of years, I have tried to see them on every possible occasion and something has always come up to get in my way. It's just not meant to be. I'll keep trying though.

But you should see the beautiful burlesque review that is Panty Raid! when they perform for KATY K's Halloween Girlesque "STUDIO FIFTY GORE" on the last Friday of October.

Or if that sounds too pretty for you, you can always see Gwar at the Exit/In on December 4. I'll do my best to see both.

What Next?

Before I got into blogging, a lot of my leisure time was spent playing video games. With my interest in blogging beginning to wane, I wonder what is next for me. The Great American Novel? Abs of steel? Abs of note?

A friend of mine keeps threatening to buy and wear a t-shirt just for me which reads, "No one cares about your blog." I think I could accurately wear a t-shirt that reads, "Even I don't care about my blog anymore."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I came home from work tonight ready to see what the boob tube had in store for me. After scanning my plethora of channels, I found two shows whose topics captured my interest. Of course, I could only choose one.
  1. Letters from the Other Side - A look at four Mexican women and their families, and ways their lives are impacted by immigration. One woman has tried to make a new life for herself and her two daughters by selling cactus products. (2005) Documentary, PBS
  2. Slut - A look at the meaning of the word and the intrigue and fascination associated with it. (2005) Documentary, Sundance
No, you're not allowed to judge me for my choice. And yes, Slut was a bit less intriguing than I had anticipated.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Her Weekend In The Georgia Mountains

My wife's girls' weekend left me home with the kids (and thankfully the mother-in-law to help) this past weekend.

She's home now and it's great to see her.

The rest of her pictures are here.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Vote For Pippin

The Nashville Humane Association is looking for Nashville's Top Dog. The dog with the most votes will be the face of the association next year.

Me? I'm voting for Pippin. Pippin has fliers all around east Nashville. Pippin even has a myspace page. Obviously, Pippin is a social animal who cares about you.

So go here, scroll down, and vote once a day through Wednesday and show your support. I've even heard it said that Pippin has promised never to poop in your yard. Have Pippin's opponents promised the same? I don't think so.

Pippin thanks you for your vote.

Nashville, Standing Tall and Sounding Good

Looking North

Rainbow at Nashville's Public Square

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sounds Good

Today at 1:00 P.M. on WRVU, Claire's radio show, I Like Songs has a theme. The theme? Claire says, "today's theme is music you can dance badly in your pajamas to! no really, it's totally a theme. i swear."

Sounds good to me.

Give it a listen. If you read this late, each show is archived for a week here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Watch Out For Slither

Josh Linkner on how he keeps his staff motivated:
We'd been enjoying a lot of success and so my team was feeling a little cocky. I said, "OK, guys, I want you to close your eyes and imagine this." And I started to describe this company that was beating our pants off. As I looked around the room I saw the color melt out of everybody's face. And I said, "If this were real, how would you feel?" ...more>>

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

You Are A Refugee


You are a refugee.

This is your life. (Scroll down and click "View a flash preview of the exhibit.")

Go to Centennial Park between Oct. 4 and Oct. 8 to tour the simulation of a refugee camp.

Concurrent to this is a photo exhibit inside the Parthenon ending on Oct. 7. It is titled Doctors Without Borders: Photographs From Afghanistan 1984 - 2004.


Doctors group brings refugee camp exhibit here

Centennial Park will become a sea of tents as Doctors Without Borders simulates a refugee camp

Doctors Without Borders Nashville presskit

Monday, October 02, 2006

He Plays Guitar

A couple of days ago, we visited Granddad. Like any good Nashvillian, Granddad plays guitar. On this visit, Joshua took special interest in the guitar in the corner. He strummed it a bit and asked if he could have one of his own. His mom and I gave him the non-committal, "We'll see." Some wants don't last long as his interests move quickly onto other things.

The guitar, however, stayed high on the list. For the next day or two, everytime Joshua's mom or I left the house, we'd hear, "Are you going to buy me a guitar?" or when he'd see me with any dollars in my hand, he'd inquire, "Do you have enough money to buy me a guitar now?"

And so, his mom went shopping this morning and came home with Joshua's first guitar. The three year old was ecstatic. All morning, he's been holding and strumming and picking. He's progressing nicely even though he keeps calling the pick a pickle. He's loving his guitar and it's great to watch him walk around the apartment with it.

The girls at daycare are going to love him.

Even The Pantry Reminds Me Of Blogs

Does anything in your daily life take on extra resonance because of blogging? I like my Vietti chili and now when I reach for it I think of Sista Smiff whose husband is in the Grascals.

Happy Birthday To My Mom

Here we are at October 2nd again. It's my mom's birthday and it's time for me to reflect on how much I love her. I won't focus on her age, but I will focus on mine. I'm 36 years old and for all of those years and for all of those days, she has cared for me and loved me unrelentingly.

She's known me as a good kid and she's known me as a troubled kid. She's been there for me at my happiest and she's been there for me when I couldn't see any reason for happiness. When I self-analyze, I can't help but see her influence in the best parts of who I am.

During the Great Candy Bar Shoplifting Attempt of '74, it was she who questioned me about the not purchased confection in my right hand as we exited the store. And within the minute, I was issued my scolding and was sent back to the cashier to replace what was not rightfully mine. I learned then that a life of crime would not be tolerated by my matriarch. (Of course, I seem to have no problem lying about remembering in what year this occurred, to say nothing of recalling in which hand I clutched the candy.)

I'm told (or do I remember?) that she would play "Time In A Bottle" by Jim Croce on the record player when I was a toddler and she would hold me and we would dance over and over to that song. It was through her influence that I also learned at a young age to love the music of Queen and the Beatles.

It was she who signed me out of school early one day so that she could take me to the first showing of The Empire Strikes Back at the Melrose Theatre. I knew that somebody was somebody else's father hundreds of minutes before most of my friends. And if I had had the foresight to not open the absolute plethora of Star Wars toys that she bought me over the years, I'd be a much richer man today...but then I wouldn't have the memories of playing with those toys that brought me so many hours of fun.

I never really went through the teenage rebellious years - sullen, but not rebellious - because she never really gave me much to rebel against. She never had a problem with long hair, loud music, or concert tees. In fact, she once took two of my friends and me to see Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crue. Some parents would have gone just to keep the kids out of trouble. My mom went mostly as a fan. Imagine my friends' reaction when they looked to the row behind us and saw my mom rocking out more than we were.

She's been through a lot in life. She's had two divorces and she recently lost the love of her life to multiple sclerosis. She's more wonderful than she knows and I wish she could see herself through my eyes, or I wish I could do a better job at showing her how I see her. Whenever I sing to my children, I think of her singing to me when I was a child. When one of my kids is hurt or sad, I know that the need I feel to protect them is exactly the same as my mom's need to protect her children.

I thank her for who she was before I came around, and I thank her for who she has been for the 36 years that I have been her son. It's love and kindness that guides her. I can ask for nothing more from the best influencer in my life.

Later in the morning, I'll call her and tell her happy birthday. I'll also tell her I love her and that I'll visit her on my next day off. Hopefully, I'll remember to buy her a card. But for now, as I finish writing this, I'll listen to Jim Croce sing "Time In A Bottle," and I'll know that life dealt me a good card when it made me her son.

Anyone want to give my mom proper birthday regards? I dedicate this post and the comments to her.