Saturday, June 30, 2007

It's not Mulberry Street, but it can be just as interesting.

Tonight I met a young couple who had just tied the knot one hour earlier. The next morning would find them on a flight to Honolulu.

An hour before I clocked out, I met an old cowboy from East Tennessee who was driving home from his sister's funeral. She was 81 and he was 74. "Retirement's overrated," he told me later in conversation. "That's when you can really count on your friends dying."

A big convention filled our hallways with the Sisters of Mercy and another convention filled our parking lot with classic hot rods. "Stairway to Heaven" or "Highway to Hell"? We've got both at the old workplace.

I hope you all sleep well tonight. You're good people.

Cultural Differences...or is someone getting Punk'd?

Erin in Peru shares:
My host uncle told me I need to start peeing on a towel and then salting it and put it on the forehead of my host sister whenever she is sleeping. Supposedly this cures anger problems..she is very passionate...but it sounds to me that maybe he has an anger problem with her.

The Piano Has Been Drinking

Friday, June 29, 2007

Should I Just Watch TV Like A Normal Person?

I skipped out on plans to see Webb Wilder tonight and just came home instead. I vacuumed, washed dishes and washed clothes. Now I'm at a loss. What do people do when they have a night alone to themselves?

I own a television. Watching television is what I've heard the experts call a lean-back experience, as opposed to surfing the web, which they call a lean-forward experience. I'm looking at the listings online (and leaning forward) and I'm still not sure.

A show called Las Vegas is on (Quotes or italics for a show name? I've never learned.), but I don't think it would appeal to me. My dream used to be to move out to Vegas and be a bellman there where I could make some serious money. I was attracted to the glitz and lights and thought a move out there would make me more interesting an exciting. But now I'm 37 and I know myself pretty well. I'm a quiet guy who likes his peace and solitude. I think I'd do better in states like Iowa or Montana (Hi Leesa!). Beers and a good internet connection keep me perfectly happy. And just think of those night skies!

But back to Nashville and what's on TV: In Arena Football, there is a wildcard playoff game between the Orlando Predators and the Philadelphia (our owner whose name is Jon Bon Jovi will probably be on your TV screen if you watch us play) Soul. I like football of any kind. I may watch that.

Larry King is interviewing Robin Williams, but I just can't bring myself to watch Larry King. Already famous for his softball interviews, I hear that his interview with Paris Hilton was a joke. I heard that he asked Paris what she did with her time in jail and she responded that she read books. It would seem that a natural follow-up question would be, "What books did you read?" Nope. He went on to the next dull query. Anyway...

Bad Girls From Valley High is on WUXP. The title sounds promising but the description is dull, dull, dull.

WWE on WNAB (Is that the WB that everyone talks about?) - No thanks. I get my wrestling through osmosis in the employee cafeteria. Insert iPod earbuds here.

After The Sunset on TBS - Oops. I was excited but then realized it wasn't the Ethan Hawke / Julie Delpy movie. Next.

The Cardinals play the Reds - I'm done with baseball. I don't care. I do not follow the game. (Can someone please tell me tomorrow if my Reds won?)

Something's on Lifetime, but I bet the guy did something bad to the girl. Not interested.

The Godfather II - Hmmm... I think we have a winner.

What A Girl Wants and She Gets What She Wants are playing at the same time. If you're high, this will seem wild and profound. (I'm not high.)

Rock Star is on VH1 Classic - The Godfather II just got some competition. I wish I was Mark Wahlberg. I like Jennifer Aniston, too.

Memoirs of a Geisha - Pass.

Wild Bill starring Jeff Bridges and Ellen Barkin - Here's the line I love:
[Jane surprises Bill by giving him a wet sloppy kiss]
Calamity Jane: Just for old times' sake.
[Bill wipes off his mouth]
Calamity Jane: You wipin' it off?
James Butler 'Wild Bill' Hickok: No. I'm rubbin' it in.
Great line. Anyway, Rock Star wins. (And Bon Jovi's "Livin' On A Prayer" plays in the background as Mark rides in a limo to a huge mansion.)

NFL Europe Folds

Admittedly, I only watched maybe ten games over its duration, but it still makes me sad that I'll have one less option for watching football during the NFL's off-season.

FRANKFURT, Germany -- The NFL folded its development league in Europe after 16 years on Friday, calling the decision a sound business move that will allow for a stronger international focus on regular-season games outside the United States. ... more>>

The Dog, The Family, The Webb Wilder

The family left for sunny Florida last Friday and it's just been me here since then. I miss them a lot of course, but as I was telling my dad the other day, it's the dog's absence I notice the most. Working nights, everyone's in bed and asleep when I come home late each evening. But my Georgia is always quick to run to the doorway and do her bouncy-bouncy shaky-shaky thing. My dog owner responsibilities start immediately. I put down my things, pet her, say "Who's a good girl?" in that typical man-to-dog voice, and then take her out for her midnight constitutional. I sit on my porch in the quiet night with a leash in one hand and a beer in the other and it's the perfect end to a long hard shift at the hotel.

Of course, it's my beautiful wife and rambunctious kids I long to see most, but when I open my door each of these last seven nights and the dog doesn't run to meet me, that's the silence that whispers, "You are all by yourself." And so, with no responsibilities to anyone, I wander into the kitchen and take a beer from the fridge, pick up a Bukowksi book and thumb through it, looking for a nice poem to read before I get online. Blogs must be read, but first, something from paper.

I call Paige each day and get updates on the going-ons. Joshua is taking swimming lessons and it's not going well. Day one, he refuses to participate. He enjoys the pool here at the apartment and he enjoys it at his Aunt Carolyn's in Florida, but he doesn't want any part of these lessons where he knows that he'll have to dunk his head underwater. He just cries and cries and won't even try.

Day two, he dutifully gets into the water and goes through the motions with his teacher. He kicks as instructed. He moves his arms as she tells him to. I think Paige said that he even swam a bit by himself, not knowing that his instructor had let go of him. But he does all of this while crying and whining, "I want my daddy." As I hear it told, he is just miserable about the whole thing. But afterward, as he and Paige are walking to the car, he looks up at he and says with a smile, "Mommy, I love my swimming lessons." Wha? The tears before didn't prepare her to hear that cute little statement. Later in the day, he is telling everyone all about his fun lessons, but then tells his mom that he doesn't want to go the next day.

I await report on how today went. I think he might already be a better swimmer than me though. I have no idea how to swim. You'll rarely find me in the deep end, but you can often find me poolside.

Oh, speaking of poolside - Webb Wilder will be playing Frist Friday tonight at 6 PM. If I can justify the $8.50 (I'm so cheap.), I'll be there and hoping that he plays "Poolside," "Human Cannonball," and anything from 1991's Doo Dad.

If I go, should I look for you?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Elvis Costello's First Ten Years

Elvis talks about his childhood. Elvis talks about his early influences. Elvis talks about meeting Nick Lowe.

This is the most interesting and wonderful podcast. I don't see the link on his website (apparently it's there somewhere), but I found it on iTunes and am enjoying it immensely. It makes me wish that many more of my favorite artists would do this.

I Hold Back, But Not When Drinking

Now that potential new employers abound, I find myself not blogging as I once did. I'd hate to write about a bad day at the current job and out myself as a negative type person.

But...I'm fueled by a half finished bottle of very cheap wine and feel like writing for the sake of writing. The day did suck. But on the bright side, I made it through just fine. I'm now home with my aforementioned bottle of wine. (Less than $6. Care to venture what it is?)

Whitesnake plays on VH1 (muted) and Marc Ribot tears it up as I listen to him on the internet. He's the man all over Tom Waits' Bone Machine release. F**king amazing. His Yo! I Killed Your God is darn near absolute fury. I had a day at work filled with drudgery and poor treatment toward this poor bellman and listening to Ribot makes me smile. It's always the music that saves me.

Wine gone. Off to bed.

Email me with any question. Or leave a comment. You'll get nothing but the truth from the drunk bellman. (Drunk Bellman. That should have been the name of this blog.)

[Edit to add: Wow. I only vaguely remember writing this post. Anyway, the wine consumed was classic Beringer white zin. The wine that wine snobs love to hate.]

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Yet Another Reason I Don't Play Golf

One-eyed gator pulls golfer into pond

VENICE, Florida (AP) -- A man who lost his ball in a golf course pond nearly lost a limb when a nearly 11-foot alligator latched on to his arm and pulled him in the water, authorities said. ... more>>
I'm happy to sit at home, listen to music and play with my one-eyed English bulldog.

Time Out!

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine police chased down an unfit thief on Tuesday after he ran out of breath and asked his pursuers for a "time out." ... more>>

Listen To The Silence

Internet radio "Day of Silence." Here's the scoop.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

My One iPhone Post

Remember that cool Will Smith movie where everyone just had to have an iPhone and once everyone had one, the iPhone's central computer turned on humanity? Each iPhone was programmed to keep its owner safe at any cost? But humans have a way of creating danger on their own and so the iPhones, to keep with their mission, kept all of their owners under lockdown in their own homes so that they could not be of harm to themselves?

Oh, that was iRobot? OK. My bad. Carry on.

My Car Is Dirty

What to do with a dirty car this weekend? Roll it on over to Lipstick Lounge this Sunday between 11 and 2 where the Nashville Rollergirls will be more than happy to wash it. $5 is all you need.

If I can choose, I want Slugs Bunny in charge of my old and busted Honda station wagon.

Means "Flying Day" in German


Video Provided by Red Bull Flugtag USA


Riverfront Park

Saturday, June 23


Thursday, June 21, 2007

So, You Liked Me On Tuesday Pretty Much, Huh?

More Thoughts On Stanley Bard And His Hotel Chelsea

I keep thinking of the Hotel Chelsea and what's going on regarding the board's decision to replace manager Stanley Bard with a new management company. They just want to do what any business wants and maximize revenue -- and who can blame them for that? -- but there is reasonable fear that the wonderful and eclectic vibe of the Chelsea will be lost amidst the changes to come. Might we even see a Starbucks as a result of the envisioned "street-front retail program?"

Regardless, I'll always have my memories from my week-long summer of '90 stay at the Hotel Chelsea. One memory was posted here in August '06.

An excerpt:
Several months ago, I was going through a photo album of a vacation my father and I took to New York City back in 1990. We stayed at the famous Hotel Chelsea (Chelsea blog here) and had the big time. Among the photos was a letter from the Chelsea to my dad confirming his reservation. It was typed out in detail by the Stanley Bard himself. In closing, he personalized it by wishing my father and his son a good visit. Obviously, he had taken the time and care to remember more about my father than his credit card number.

The latest is that the new folks want to keep Stanley around as "goodwill ambassador." Well, that's something, I guess. I'd rather he go out fighting like hell, but it'd be a shame for any future visitors to see a Hotel Chelsea absent his presence.

This weekend, I'm going to try to find the photo album from my trip to the Chelsea. Stanley's typed out letter to my dad is in that album and I want to post a picture of it here. Wish me luck. I'll have to dig deep into my storage unit. A scary feat indeed.

A Quirky Conversation

On the topic of Christian recording artists:

Him: How about Amy Grant?

Her: I'm more of a Jars of Clay girl myself.

Him: (singing poorly) "Wake me up..."

Her: Um, it's "Lift me up." You're thinking of Wham! "Wake me up before you go go."

Him: Oh yeah. I got them mixed up. Jars of Wham! Available at a men's restroom near you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Look Kids! The Eiffel Tower In My Mailbox!

Courtesy of the lovely and talented Melissa at Girl of the North Country, a postcard from Paris, France.

Merci, mon ami!

Attention Women Of All Sizes:

You are as beautiful as your attitude conveys.

Advertisers are not the boss of your self-esteem.

That is all.

Clintons In Sopranos Spoof

This is seriously weird. It feels more like a Saturday Night Live sketch than an official campaign video.

It's all there, even down to the man with the menacing look.

She Won't Take My Mean Face Seriously

Click here for the whole series.

More on Chelsea

Reading Living with Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog today:
It's clear from the press release that perhaps these people have rarely stepped foot inside of the Chelsea. A top priority is to "create more inviting and livelier common areas." Have these people never stopped to talk to the lobby sitters? They're a pretty lively crowd.


In today's Tennessean:
The Fifth Quarter, a longtime staple in the local restaurant community, closed without warning Monday after more than 30 years in business.

Opened in 1973 by Ray Danner, former chairman of Shoney's Inc., the Thompson Lane restaurant anchored a chain that grew to 13 locations at its peak.

Famous for its 65-item salad bar ... more>>

Monday, June 18, 2007

Chelsea Hotel Board Forces Out Stanley Bard

Read the latest at Living with Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog:
Board-directed coup

A Message from Stanley Bard

Ask my my five favorite memories of being my dad's son, and I'll give you that week in '91 (or was it '92?) when he took me to New York City and we stayed in the Hotel Chelsea. The Chelsea neighborhood was a different animal back then. I slept in that hotel fully aware of the famous artists who had lived there over the years. Dylan Thomas, Allen Ginsberg, Charles Bukowski and so many other literary icons had walked these halls. I can't say that staying at the Chelsea changed my life, but it definitely helped to strengthen my love for good writers.

I learned that Stanley Bard had a history of letting struggling artists pay their rent with their art when they couldn't come up with the cash. The powerful paintings on the walls in the lobby literally were the difference between room and board and cold on the streets for some tenants. Some of my favorite books, poems, songs and paintings were created in the rooms of that famous 23rd Street address in Manhattan. A part of who I am rests in my deep appreciation for these wonderful artful endeavors.

But now Stanley Bard is no longer running the show. The neighborhood is a very rich one and Stanley hasn't been maximizing profits like he should. It'll be interesting (and maybe very sad) to see how the new management changes things around here. I'm hoping for very subtle differences, but it's possible that they could just gut the whole thing and turn it into condos. Whatever happens, it's likely that the next Dylan Thomas won't be able to afford even a night's stay at 222 W. Chelsea St.

Read Living with Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog.

Bonnaroo 2007

Goodbye dusty festival grounds. Hello comfortable hotel room.

Note: I didn't go. I just parked the car of someone who did.

More on Toys For Troops

In the news:
Army Pfc. Brian Jolley is making friends in Iraq, handing out Beanie Babies to the kids.

The combat engineer has been in Iraq about three months, sleeping in a tent in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. The 21-year-old's camp, Butler Range, is still under construction. His missions include finding and destroying improvised explosive devices.

But the Centennial High School grad has found himself in the Army, his parents say, and enjoys making friends with the kids he meets.

His mother, Lori Stewart of Champaign, started sending the Beanie Babies ... more>>

Toys for Troops

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Le Crush

Some time back, I wrote about the pleasing sounds of French anchorwoman, Melissa Theuriau, and her lovely accent. Although my last name is of French ancestry, I can hardly speak a lick of the language. But that doesn't stop me from loving hearing the news as spoken by the beautiful Ms. Theuriau.

Now that I've found several French podcasts for download, I'm certain to fall asleep listening to the language of love with my iPod on my bedside table. It doesn't matter that the speaker may be speaking of anything but love. I'll hear it as I want to hear it. Of course, there's the chance that the podcast of my choosing could be on the topic of something that I would find despicable if I only understood the words. Am I possibly a left-wing American hippie wannabe by day, but subliminally a hard-right French war-monger by slumber? One may never know.

I'll choose to dream of a chance encounter with Ms. Theuriau whereupon she leans in and whispers into my ear, "Monsieur Chez Bez, je pense que votre blog est sexy."*

*Translation: "Mr. Chez Bez, I think your blog is sexy."

[Wanna have fun? I used Google Translate to translate the above to French. Then I translated the French translation back to English.]
A certain back of time, I wrote about the pleasant noises of the French presenter, Theuriau melissa, and his beautiful accent. Although my last name is French ascent, I can hardly speak a licking about the language. But that does not stop me affectionate hearing the news as spoken by beautiful Mrs. Theuriau.

Now that I found several podcasts French for the remote loading, I am sure to fall to listen deadened the language of the love with my iPod on my bedside table. It is not essential that the loudspeaker can be to speak about anything but about the love. I will hear it as I want to hear it. Naturally, it with the chance that the podcast of my choice could be on the matter of something which I would find wretched there if I included/understood only the words. Me am probably an American wannabe of left of hippie per day, but subliminally a French war-salesman hard-right by drowsiness? One can never know.

I will choose with the dream of a fortuitous meeting with Mrs. Theuriau on what it leans in and whispers in my ear, “Mr At Bez, is of blog of your of of thinks of I sexy. “* *Translation: “Mr. At Bez, I think that your blog is sexy. ”

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I Almost Killed The Blog Last Night

My back hurts, I'm broke, and I don't see either uncomfortable truth changing anytime soon. The cursor hovered over the "delete this blog" button for a bit, but I just ended up changing the template instead.

In other news, I drove a guy from the airport to the hotel the other day. He was in town for Bonnaroo and was visiting from Oklahoma City. He was a skinny man with a mop of curly, black hair and cool John Lennon glasses. I changed the radio to WRVU, knowing that he'd appreciate it, and knowing that I'd appreciate leaving the "safe for guests" radio station for a while.

Over the course of the next five to seven minutes, we talked about what the music scene was like in his hometown, what it was like in Nashville, and how we were both equally unexcited about the big Police reunion. Love the band, don't care about them getting back together. It was nice to talk with someone who shared so many of my music interests for a change.

Around the time we got to his hotel, he mentioned that he was actually born nearby in Franklin. That's where I was raised, too. I asked him when he left and he said that it was when he was very young. "I had just finished kindergarten, so I guess it was back in...well, I suppose it was in '89 or maybe 1990."

Wow. Um, that's about the time that I graduated from high school. This kid was half my age. I had pegged him as being older than that. We had just finished talking about rock shows and roadtrips and the like and now he's probably telling his buddies about how the "cool for an old guy" shuttle driver who drove him in from the airport. I guess I'm at peace with that. I remember being his age and working in the record store. I'd meet some of the coolest old people in there. You know, people in their late-30s. I remember one couple, both white Metro school teachers, who were always buying the most diverse stuff. Every couple of weeks, they'd buy a rap tape that was really good. "Poetry of urban life," they would call it. After they'd leave, we'd all talk about how we hoped that we were as cool as them when we were their age.

All I know is that I still like the music that the kids like. So that's something.

Reservoir Ducks

Fast Talk About Fast Money On CNBC

While on my break the other night, the breakroom tv was on CNBC. A program called Fast Money was on. I didn't pay it much mind at first as my intention was to read from my Bukowski book. More and more, the show kept distracting me from the pages before me. It sounded like some NFL pre-game show and I had to keep looking up to remind myself that it was just a bunch of guys talking money.

I finally gave up on Buk and gave my full attention to Fast Money. The topic might have been stocks and bonds, but the feel was absolutely four guys talking football. I even decided who was the Terry Bradshaw of the group and who was Howie Long. Then they interviewed someone who was not at the big desk among them and I'll be darned if he didn't happen to look exactly like Cris Collinsworth.

I don't know the first thing about making money - I'm sad to say - but it's fascinating to follow the business world. I sit at a breakroom table of an international company which is worth billions, earning a yearly wage which is too embarrassing to mention here (apologies to my dependents), watching a program which seems to exist to educate me but is probably just there to entertain me.

Well, entertain me it did. I'm going to try to time my breaks so that I can watch Fast Money each night. I'll eat my Ramen noodles and keep dreaming of fast money finding its way to me.

[I need a part-time job. I'm available from 9 AM until 1 PM each day. Just throwing that out there.]

Friday, June 15, 2007

Any Random Pacino Quote Will Suffice

I sat there on the john minding my own business when two people walked in during a break from a big business conference. They made small talk with one another.

Guy 1: "Steve, I thought you left (the industry)."

Guy 2: "I did. But you know...I'm back."

Guy 1: "I know. It's like Pacino in Godfather II. 'You think you're out...'"

Guy 2: "Yeah, 'Say hello to my little friend.'"

Guy 1: "Um...yeah. Well, welcome back."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My friend Lori has started something wonderful.

Here, from an email that she sent me, is what it's all about:
Hi all,

As you know, my son Brian is serving in Iraq right now. I've inadvertently spear-headed a wonderful project sending beanie babies to him and his comrades. With the help of many others, hundreds of toys have been sent over, and distributed to the children in the villages hey work for. The soldiers love it, the kids love it, and more importantly, Brian informed me 2 days ago, the interpreter in his company said they're doing wonders for relations between the U.S. soldiers and the communities they're working in. After all, make a kid happy, make his parents happy, right?

The project has grown and grown, to the extent that I've decided to step it up a bit. I've created a website. It's still under construction, but I want to hurry up and get it out there.

Please, if you do nothing else, send this link to everyone you've ever heard of, and ask them to forward it. As it says on my blog, I'll make ya some spaghetti if you do!

My love and thanks to you all.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

If David Chase Was Silly

Instead of "Don't Stop Believin'" on that diner's jukebox, Tony could have selected "Woke Up This Morning" by Alabama 3. Heck, their US nickname is A3. That's a jukebox button right there. Or how about a nod to another band who benefited greatly by having a song chosen to lead in another hit television program? Tony selecting "I'll Be There For You" by the Rembrandts would have been funny. Or how about a tribute to Silvio's real life Jersey band partner Bruce Springsteen? Surely, that jukebox had a track or two from that local hero.

Of course, it was Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" and Neal Schon's phone hasn't stopped ringing since. Here's an interview with Neal.

Three I Like

City Mouse by This Just In

Three Women by Shoot The Moose

On Being Adopted by Busy Mom

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What am I watching?

"Nice work, Sarah. Pretty stars."

When I'm Sixty-four

She was sitting at the airport at Ground Transportation waiting for her hotel shuttle. She was on her cellphone.

When I first pulled up to the curb, I saw her sitting on the stone bench. She had blonde hair and wore a short white dress which seemed to fit in just the way to get a guy like me to pay attention. I try to go about my life treating all women with respect and doing all I can to never see them only as objects of potential desire. But then, that's with cleavage like hers notwithstanding. No guests approached my shuttle and so I was able to wait with the doors open and eavesdrop on this beautiful woman as she talked to someone on her phone.

Her hair was pulled back except for a small bit carefully left to fall down across her forehead. She would flick it to the side, out of her way, from time to time, seemingly at peace with the knowledge that it was just going to fall back in front of her eye again. Every gesture just seemed to be an extension of her look -- a part of the package if you will. She wasn't quite skinny and it's my opinion that she was trying to lose 10 pounds or so. I guess that's true of most people though.

I sat at my wheel, enjoying a minute or so of peace, and politely studying this stranger. Where was she from? What was she doing in Nashville? Business or pleasure? Was her career soaring but her personal life was challenging her right now? Or was it the other way around? I could have been all wrong about her and there's nothing wrong with that. She was just a beautiful woman who had captured my attention for a bit.

It's funny how hearing a snippet of her phone conversation affected me:
"I should be there soon. We just landed and I'm waiting for the shuttle now."

"What do they have?"

"Order me a grilled chicken salad and an iced tea. When I get there, I'll store my bags and meet you in the restaurant."

"I love you, Mommy. I can't wait to see you and Daddy. Bye-bye"

And all of a sudden, I was sixty-four years old and thinking about my own daughter. It was a random Friday night and I had my epiphany. I've always tried to be pretty lackadaisical about my place in this world and its overall meaning. I love my life and I enjoy it as best as I can, but I've never seen the point in getting too worked up regarding issues that many get red in the face about. What's the meaning of life? What's my purpose? What's it all about? I don't know and I don't care. (Well, maybe I care a little, but not enough to tell you that I'm right and you're wrong. Who knows anyway?)

But hearing that beautiful woman tell her mom and dad that she'd be there soon to have dinner with them really got to me. I saw my daughter calling her mom and asking her to order her food for her and telling us that she'd be right there. "I love you, Mommy. I can't wait to see you and Daddy." Right now, it's all about being weened off of her pacifier and holding her ground when her brother tries to take one of her toys from her. The milestones ahead are many. All I can do is guide her the best I can and hope that we all raise her well. Let her never doubt the love we all have for her. Let her know that we are always proud of her as she goes through life doing the best she can. And let me be around long enough for my wife and I to buy her dinner at a fancy hotel, just like this woman's parents were doing for her.

But if any wise hotel shuttle driver dares to look at her in a way that is less than respectful, he better hope I don't find out about it. I'm just sayin.

She Multitasks

Points For Most Intriguing Magazine Name


It's actually pretty good. A story on called Hemingway's Cuba and an interview with Walker Percy.

In the magazine, there is also an article about some women who surf. Accompanying that are some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen. The photographers are Shannon Switzer, Jeff Johnson and Andy Anderson. Their subjects are luminous.

As for the magazine's title, I think I skimmed past a garden or two, but I didn't see the gun. Maybe next issue.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

From My Favorite Tom Waits Movie

Memories Pre-Ben Folds

Some talk yesterday about Ben Folds got me thinking of when I first saw him live. It was probably 1991 or 1992 and I went down to Nashville's 328 Performance Hall to hear a headliner whose name I can't recall right now. Maybe it was Fleming & John, but I'm not sure. Anyway, the opening act (who I had never heard of until that night) was a band called Jody's Power Bill. They were so good that I left the main room to call a friend of mine from a phone booth (you kids will probably have to GIS "phone booth"). I called "Boxset" John and pretty much told him that he had to get down to 328 immediately.

Jody's Power Bill was sounding awesome and I was trying to think of how to describe them to my friend. "...kind of a mix of Joe Jackson, Billy Joel, and maybe some punk band in there somewhere as well. Just get down here to hear your new favorite band!" These were before the days of making longterm plans to do things. Whatever I was doing, I probably didn't know I was going to be doing it more than a day in advance. My friends and I just lived in the moment back then. Sure enough, my friend John was at 328 in a flash. He only heard the last song or two from Jody's Power Bill, but he loved what he heard. To share moments like this with music loving friends like John is one of the greatest things about living in Nashville.

I never got around to seeing them live again, but I recall driving down I-65 a few years later and hearing a song called "Underground" on WRLT. With hands on steering wheel, I jotted down a few choice lyrics and called the radio station as soon as I got home to find out who the band was. Ben Folds Five was the answer. I remember telling the DJ that the song had a Jody's Power Bill sound to it. And she told me that there was good reason for that, since Ben Folds was a member of Jody's Power Bill just a few years before. 'Nuff said. I've loved everything by Ben Folds ever since.

While writing this, I listened to an interview with Ben Folds from Bonnaroo 2006. Near the end he makes a reference to his photography and his darkroom. The interviewer is interested to hear how involved Ben Folds is in his own photography and Ben responds beautifully by saying, "It's good to have something that you are passionate about that's not something you'll ever get paid for."

I can really appreciate that. While I'm still trying to figure out how to make a more decent living, it's nice to spend time on things I love (writing, photography) with no pressure of paying the bills associated with them. It's nice that these things I love don't necessarily have to be good enough for you, just good enough for me.

My step-father made his living playing guitar and banjo as an A-list studio musician. Right around the time he retired due to MS, he really seemed to be sick of music. A life in the business seemed to really do him in as a lover of music. (Mom, tell me if I am remembering that right.) In his final years, I think he was able to really enjoy listening to music again. I'd come over to visit and I'd hear old songs blasting from his reel-to-reel even before I got out of my car. But this was after years of being separated from the egos and whatever else the industry did to rob him of his love of picking and grinning. I'm glad he was able to listen to and love those sounds again.

Back to my Jody's Power Bill thoughts. What band won you over live who you had never heard of before seeing them?

Ducks On The Go! (Go, Ducks. Go.)

You're A Dirty Lens...

...and I'm just the man to clean you up.

Mothership BBQ: Bringing Bloggers Together Since 2006

"Woke up
Got out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head"

And went to Mothership's closing party to meet some cool folks.

Jim closed his Berry Hill location and is on the lookout for a new address for his "Funkin' Good Ribs, Baby!"

Today's good times reminded me that I need to get out more often. It's all work, sleep, blog at midnight for me. Sharing beers with nice people like these is simply a pleasure too rarely experienced.

Here's hoping Mothership re-opens soon. Until then, where will the bloggers meet?

Friday, June 08, 2007

She Said, "Heh."


According To Six In The House, You Are Still Guilty

Gov. Bredesen has signed into law the Rosa Parks Act. With this, anyone who was charged while protesting segregation-era laws will be able to have their records cleared. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate. The House passed it with with 88 votes for and 6 votes against.

Who voted against and why? Was it something as simple as the wording of the bill? Was there something else attached to it that they didn't like? Or did they just feel that people should not have been protesting segregation in the first place?

[I just saw that S-town Mike at Enclave wrote about this as well. It seems that they opposed the pardoning of people convicted of actual felonies. Still seems fishy to me.]

He Won't Plea, And He Should Be Free

I read about Genarlow Wilson a couple of years ago when he first made the news. It angered me then when his likely path to Vanderbilt University was halted with trumped up charges against him over consensual oral sex with someone, like him, who was under eighteen.

I never heard anymore about it and assumed that common sense had prevailed and that the charges had been dropped. Today I read that lawyers are still trying to free Genarlow Wilson from his ten year prison sentence. Read a better account of the story here.

If you are not nice to your server, then you are not my friend.

Ed Hamilton at Living with Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog writes of some pretty despicable behavior he witnessed at New York's Five Front restaurant.
At that point, understandably, the waitress stormed off. Even the other people at that table knew that cursing her was stepping over the line, and they told the man who had cursed her that he shouldn’t have done that. An older woman who was with them got up and rushed to talk to the waitress to try to settle her down, and to head off what she thought might prove to be adverse consequences. She put her arm around the girl and whispered in her ear, and I thought, well, at least somebody from that table has a shred of decency. But then the old woman came back to the table and laughed about it, as if to say: “I took care of her, don’t worry about it.” Her behavior now appeared slimy and sinister, and I was appalled. ... the rest>>

The Waiter's Rant Is My Rant

From We'll Always Have Paris:

“How many soldiers got killed in Iraq today?”

“I don’t know,” the man replies.

“How many people died in Darfur today?”

“I don’t know.”

“But everyone knows Paris Hilton’s out of jail. “

Bad Things Come In Threes? Two Down...

First Brit leaves NiT, and now Mothership BBQ closes up shop (temporarily).

What's next for us Nashville bloggers to lose?

Your guesses?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ready For Their Closeup

Maybe She'll Change Her Mind?

The girl whose personal blog, Sparkwood & 21, got me blogging in the first place has submitted her resignation at her professional blogging gig, Nashville Is Talking. Too many trolls and too much hate over a couple of years, day in and day out, was just too much in the end.

Whatever the future holds for her, I wish her the best.

The Tennessean Online Just Lost Me

Goodbye to for me. I'm done opening it on my computer. All I do is inadvertently rollover the weather info and it opens up covering most of my screen with weather info? Let me click it if I want it. All it does now is interfere with whatever story I'm trying to read.

Whatever the weather, I'll read about it elsewhere from now on.

(This post was brought to you by four hours of sleep.)

Kucinich interview with Paula Zahn

The text is here. His words are beautiful.

The Paris Hilton Diaries

The Paris Hilton Diaries
by John Kenney

DAY 1: Arrived late Sunday night. So tired. Asked if I could check into my room immediately. Quite possibly the rudest concierge I have ever met. I told him he was fired. Not the effect I'd hoped for. And no, I did not register under the name "Little Miss Whore." What kind of hotel forces you to strip and delouse (maybe Marriott?). Although instead of a robe I got a fabulous orange jumpsuit with a cute number on it. Nothing to do at night. I'm told (as there was, like, no information in my room) that there is no bar or lounge area. ... more>>

Bits and Pieces (as my dad would say)

It's 1:00 AM and I'm out of my work uniform and into my sitting-at-home-listening-to-music duds.

Khaki shorts? Check.

Black Van Halen shirt? Check.

Tall, green bottle of Heineken? Oh yeah.

Home from work and listening to Tom Waits sing "Bend Down The Branches." It's the sweetest little lullabye. I sing it to my daughter from time to time, but I think I get more out of it than she does.

I started reading the most wonderful piece on Paul McCartney in the New Yorker last night and I finished it tonight. A few paragraphs are here, but you'll have to buy the issue to read it in its entirety. My dad often says that my youngest son has Paul McCartney's eyes. I see my mom and my dad's whole generation in Paul's eyes. As well as I know my parents and as well as I've always related to them, I often feel that I'm looking for and finding bits of them when I listen to Beatles songs or read interviews with members of the Beatles.

I'm nocturnal and nostalgic, but for days that preceded my 1969 birth. As my parents like to say, I was a child of the sixties -- born in December of '69, with two weeks to spare. I hope that I am to my children what my parents were (and are) to me. It'd be nice to think that at 37 years of age, they'll think of me with the same curiosities and respect that I hold for Granddad and Grandma Foxy (named by my oldest in reference to her dog whose name was Foxy).

I hope I'm not working 40+ hours a week away from their at-home routines just to be an absent father. It's for them and yet it takes me away from them. One is fast approaching adulthood with a lot of my own bad habits at hand. I'm so far away from him, both geographically and emotionally. I'm the weekend dad, but I work most weekends and lately he does as well. I should make more time to at least call him during the week, but my second shift hotel work makes it difficult. Not impossible, just difficult.

At the very least, these quiet nighttime hours find me at peace as I reflect and hope. Scarlett Johansson will finish her album of Tom Waits covers soon I trust. I am as anxious to hear her spin on his songs as I am to learn which songs she has chosen for the project. And then Southside Johnny is doing an album of Waits covers in a big band style. While I wait for those releases, I type and ponder while listening to Tom sing "Goodnight Irene."

By the way, if tonight's lottery ticket is The One, drinks are on me at East Nashville's Lipstick Lounge. Here's hoping.

(I'm missing a Finn. Be well, sweet Milla. Thanks for being my friend. I'd rather be...well, you know.)

Bend Down The Branches

The sky's as deep as it can be
Bend down the branches
Close your eyes and you will see
Bend down the branches

You're like a willow
Once you were gold
We're made for bending
Even beauty gets old
Climb the stairs they're not so steep
Bend down the branches

Close your eyes and go to sleep
Bend down the branches

Written by: Tom Waits and Kathleen Waits-Brennan
Published by: Jalma Music (ASCAP), © 1998/ 2006
Recorded at Prairie Sun Recording studios. Cotati, CA/ USA, 1998

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Songs of Insects

Heard on NPR:
Tuning out the chirps, peeps, and trills that make up summer's insect orchestra is easy to do.

But behind this musical melange is a world of distinctive insect personalities. For nature authors Lang Elliott and Wil Hershberger, capturing those personalities took six years and endless patience.

Their new book, Songs of Insects, brings 77 species of crickets, katydids, grasshoppers and cicadas to life. A companion CD invites you to listen in. ... more>>

This brings to mind Pink Floyd's "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict" from 1969's Ummagumma.

Love Quote

“Knowing love, I shall allow all things to come and go, to be as supple as the wind and take everything that comes with great courage. My heart is as open as the sky.” -Kama Sutra

Sunday, June 03, 2007

iPod, iRisen?

Good news. I reached for my iPod today and found the problem with the click wheel no longer a problem. Not quite sure how that happened, but I'm happily thanking the iPod fairies for giving me back my music.

Still contemplating a 30 GB model with a video screen. Summer is here, and we get a break from daycare costs for the next seven weeks. Here's hoping we can make that happen.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

"I was full of wonder when I left Murfreesboro"

At least in song, Tom Waits has traveled to quite the vast array of locales. In Tennessee alone, he's been to Mayor's Income ("What's He Building In There?"), Murfreesboro ("Pony"), and Baxter ("Putnam County").

Methinks Tom would be quite the tour guide if you really wanted to know a place in a way that the brochures never really show you.

Go to the Tom Waits Library to see where else Tom's been.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Mark of a Great Writer writer, Bill Simmons just made me forget that I don't care about basketball. I was two paragraphs into his piece on LeBron's captivating performance against the Celtics in Game 5, he had me wondering why in the world I didn't watch the most unforgettable performance in the NBA this year. I had to keep reminding myself that it's because I've never really been a fan anyway.

Ducks So Close

Sometimes the leader,

sometimes the follower,

always the protector.

Fix Or Go Refurbished?

A phone call to MacAuthority puts this 4 GB iPod mini's click wheel fix at a ballpark price of $75 or so. I'd like to own the larger 30+ GB iPod with a video screen by year's end, so I don't know if I want to drop substantial bucks on fixing what I've got right now.

I may decide to just go without while keeping a lookout for a refurbished model. Or I'll just buy a lottery ticket tomorrow and see what happens.

What to take when the kid's being a pill?

I wish there was a pill I could take that would make me as good and patient a parent to my kids as my parents were to me. The three year old is all joyful defiance and is completely unaffected by parental interference.

Time out? Pop on the butt? My head in a vice?

Man punished for using open Wi-Fi network

Found this at Boing Boing:
A Michigan man was arrested by police for accessing a coffee shop's public Wi-Fi hotspot. He was charged with a felony and faced up to 5 years in jail, but he took an offer of "paying a $400 fine, doing 40 hours of community service and staying on probation for six months." ... more>>

They Love, Cherish, And Cancel Each Other Out At The Polls

Fred Thompson may run. Mary Matalin, a former Bush advisor, is expected to play a role in his campaign if he does. I'm reminded that I'm always intrigued by the dynamic of Matalin's marriage to Democratic party strategist, James Carville.

I never watched MTV's Newlyweds, a reality show about Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson's young and short-lived marriage. I would, however, avidly watch the same type of show about these two political professionals. Married since 1993, and passionately opposed to one another politically, while sharing a life and home together, it would seem to me that their marriage was much more likely doomed from the start than that of Jessica and Nick's.

Personally, I'd love to hear them go back and forth about why one's candidate is the country's savior and the other one is simply a lying idiot, all the while, they are making domestic decisions together about the kids and whose turn it is to clear the dishes. If not a reality show, they could at least retire from politics and give couples' counseling to MTV generation newlyweds ("You think you two have disagreements? Listen to my husband's thoughts on health care reform. And I still love him.")

Of course, it's fun to think of Carville and Matalin as being polar opposites, but for them, I think it's more about the game of politics than the political ideology itself. Still, fourteen years of marriage is fourteen years of marriage. That's twice the sum of two Britney marriages (2 yrs, 55 hrs), one Jessica-Nick marriage (3 yrs), Billy Bob-Angelina (2 yrs), and Zellweger-Chesney (5 mos).

Good run, guys. Congrats on finding the love.

iDreamed it?

I woke up kind of hoping against hope that the whole broken iPod thing was just a dream.

No such luck.

[Edit to add: Good news. After looking around online at replacement part prices, I see no reason why getting someone to fix this shouldn't cost more than $50 or so. Does anyone have a recommendation as to where one would go for local repair? Thanks.]

I Vote Red

Admittedly, I'm a sucker for redheads.

But if today were election day, I'd vote Kucinich. His wife, Elizabeth, has me utterly smitten. All of that beauty and that accent as well? In the movie of her life, I see Nicole Kidman playing the role of First Lady Kucinich. Kidman's got the beauty, the red hair, and she certainly has experience acting alongside someone much shorter than herself. (Oooh, snarky!)

If I end up voting for Kucinich mainly because I find his wife to be fantastically beautiful, I won't find myself any worse of a voter than all of the people who voted for Bush because he seemed like the kind of guy they'd like to share a beer with. Please.

I promise to watch a lot of C-Span, read up on all of the candidates, and vote for the candidate who I believe speaks most honestly and expertly on the issues I value most. But right this minute, it's Kucinich by a landslide.

my iPod's click wheel must have run over a nail

My second favorite* material possession, my iPod, is more than likely on the fritz. Its wheel is slightly stuck inward and won't respond to my music and podcast loving commands. I somehow got it to work after much fidgeting, but I suspect that I can't rely on such fidgeting to work each and every time I need it to.

And so, Friday morning will find me seeking out local iPod repair shops and seeing how inexpensively I can get this electronic love of my life to work again. Surely, I can't afford a proper replacement, and I hate to think of a life without iPod for the unforeseeable future. I'm not above a life of crime though if that's what it takes to get Tom Waits and his peers singing through my earbuds once again.

I'm a wannabe minimalist without his much loved iPod mini.

*I wear my first favorite material possession on my left hand's ring finger.