Monday, July 30, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Blair Brings The Music Online

In the 2001-2002 season of my life, I was living in Nashville's Hillsboro Village area. There was one month when my car wouldn't run and I found myself limited to things within walking distance or on the bus route. The beautiful thing about Hillsboro Village is that just about everything you could possibly need or want is always within walking distance. Rare exceptions were easily accessible with MTA bus route #7.

One of my favorite things to do was to take an evening walk down to The Blair School of Music. I enjoyed so may recitals performed by its students. So often for free and so often on par with anything I might hear for so much more elsewhere. Nashville now has the beautiful Schermerhorn Symphony Hall where one can hear our own Nashville Symphony or any number of gala events. As awesome as an event at the Schermerhorn is, folks on my budget aren't likely to find themselves listening to its concerts often at all.

Thankfully, Blair School of Music's concert series is still as strong and vibrant as ever. And if you find yourself without transportation and find that it's not quite in walking distance for you, the good news is that many of the concerts are now online. Click here, sit back and enjoy the music.

You are Steve Martin, and you may now kiss the fact-checker.

One of my favorite books that my dad gave me way back when was Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City. Told entirely in second-person narrative, it's the tale of a young man in New York City dealing with his mother's death, his wife who has left him, and the narcotic temptations of the "Bolivian Marching Powder." He - or as the book tells it, "you" - works in the Department of Factual Verification of a magazine which may or may not be The New Yorker.

Fired after an article full of mistakes is allowed to go to press, revenge tactics involve a ferret, a boss's desk after working hours, and an unplanned very bad bite on the narrator's hand. McInerney's wonderfully comic, poetic and luminous novel was later made into a very average move starring Michael J. Fox.

Whenever I hear the phrase, "Department of Factual Verification," I think of that funny and moving book. But when actor-writer Steve Martin hears the phrase, he probably thinks of Anne Stringfield, his lovely new bride. She is The New Yorker magazine's deputy head of fact-checking and they married last night in his Los Angeles home. Steve's best man was Lorne Michaels, with guests including Tom Hanks, Diane Keaton, Carl Reiner and Eugene Levy.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A moon and a Parthenon

Ladies and gentlemen, Melissa of Girl of the North Country. It was such a treat to finally meet one of my favorite local writers tonight. She and I are both lucky to have had the same influential English teacher back in our high school days. Mr. Stackhouse was as involved and exciting a teacher as I've ever had. If I write well at all, I owe my interest in it to him.

So, to fall in love with the writing of someone else who turned out to be another of his students made perfect sense to me. Of course, it pained me a bit when I learned that she also took classes with his daughters. His twin daughters weren't even born yet when I was in his class. That makes me...a really old guy.

Anyway, I had the pleasure of meeting Melissa tonight and was so captivated by how kind and sweet she was. She's offered in the past to babysit our two little ones. I'm glad that the manic motion of Joshua didn't seem to scare her off from her offer. He's a sweetie, but he wears me out. He's hard to keep up with. Maybe I'm just, you know...a really old guy.

About that moon over the Parthenon, that's all hers.

Jesca Hoop plays, and I'm intoxicated by what she creates.

Once a nanny for Tom Waits' family, now the author and singer of one of the most requested songs in the history of KCRW's Music Becomes Eclectic.

Here's a good story by Paul Saitowitz in The Press-Enterprise about Jesca:
Jesca Hoop's debut album is called "Kismet," a Turkish word that translates to mean "fate." If you consider that Hoop was once an aspiring singer/songwriter who by chance landed a gig as the nanny for the family of legendary musical vagabond Tom Waits, you might say that the word is the perfect choice to define her career.

After a few months of domestic chores in the Waits' home, Hoop worked up the courage to approach the songwriter and his wife and collaborator, Kathleen Brennan, about her career. Once the couple heard a few tunes, they were impressed enough to pass her music on to a friend who got it in the hands of influential Los Angeles DJ Nic Harcourt. ...more>>

Click here for her site and open the door to hear her songs.

A quote from Tom Waits:
"Jesca Hoop's music is like a four sided coin. She is an old soul, like a black pearl, a good witch or a red moon. Her music is like going swimming in a lake at night."

All's Well...Apparently

Every time I walked by a television yesterday, all I saw was either some story about a cat who predicts the deaths of elderly people (They're elderly. His chances of being right are pretty good, right?) or various interviews with Billy Ray Cyrus.

I think I'll just watch Buzz Lightyear cartoons instead of the news this morning. Please e-mail me if anything important comes up.

"(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night"

While wondering what in the world to do this weekend with my family on my unexpected but highly appreciated weekend off, I remembered that Grace at Graceless in Love had made mention of Saturday night ballroom dancing lessons at Centennial Park all summer long. Her account of one such recent evening was tender and lovely and it occurs to me that my wife would love to take part in such a romantic (and free) event such as this.

If she'll do me the honor of saying yes, we plan on dancing (me learning, she mesmerizing me with her beauty) together Saturday night, with our two young children right there with us.

As many know, we operate on the lower end of the household income scale. We get by, but it's always tight. And with that tightness and perpetual tiredness from working and parenting, we sometimes forget to smile. We are in love, but we don't often do the things that lovers do. That said, a quote from the beautiful Paris, Je T'Aime comes to mind, "By pretending to be a man in love, he became a man in love." I don't have to pretend, but I could make it more obvious. What better way than by dancing with my wife?

Anyway, I'm of the opinion that we look good together.



Care to join us?

Info:
Centennial Park Big Band Dance
Free dancing in Centennial Park! Come out and enjoy live music and dancing.

7:00 Lessons
7:30-10:00 Music and Dancing
Contact : 862-8424

The workplace will do just fine without me.

My weekend? Pretty much open for once.

Yours?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Abra Moore - On The Way

I first heard Abra Moore about five years ago when she opened for the amazing David Baerwald at a small club here in Nashville. She had a kind of shy quirkiness to her stage presence and between song banter, and her songs really captivated an audience that was mainly there for someone else. As I recall, it was just she and her guitar on stage and the songs really held up on their own without a full band to round out the sound.

I was very excited to hear her latest release, On The Way, from Seattle's Sarathan Records. However, it's not the quirky, eclectic album I was expecting. This new release of hers is a little weird. I love it but upon first listen, I felt myself not quite giving it a fair shake. It's got a very professional production to it and doesn't seem to be as adventurous a release as I might have expected. But to make the cheap references, if you like Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux, Edie Brickell (especially on "I Believe") and/or Nashville's own Fleming and John, then I'd put this one right up with those artists' best releases. Here and there, I'll hear a lyric that doesn't quite live up to my expectations and overall the song structures sometimes feel a bit safe and sleepy, but then I find myself falling in love with the sweet and sensual production of songs like "On The Way" or "Sorry."

There is so much more to these songs than a first listen will reveal. A soft, quiet night with no interruptions is perfect for Abra Moore's intimate yearnings and acoustic rhythms. Songs like "You" or "Birthday Song" bring to mind the thought that they would serve as perfect companions to Sofia Coppola-type films. Dreamy and loving, unassumingly embracing the listener, they reward you with their absolute beauty.

I guess On The Way dances somewhere between background music whatever the next step up from that is. Go to her site and listen to three or four of her songs for free. I'd say she's a curious artist who is well worth hearing at any opportunity. She sounds on the verge of being absolutely amazing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Abra plays here...


Abra Moore . com

Always, always know that I love you beyond measure.



Over and over, you proclaim, "I do it myself."
If it's a five step process and I've
started it for you and am three steps in,
you'll undo those three steps to earn full
credit for requiring no help.

I'm always so proud to watch you try
so very hard. You know the good feeling of
accomplishment and you know the pride
behind effort. Independence aside, when you
say, "Hold me," I will embrace you with so
much love.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Smoosh!

The fun people at Photojojo are talking about a thing called Smooshtacts. Take a photo of a friend with his or her face pressed firmly against a glass surface and then make it that friend's contact picture in your iPhone or whatever.

Here's a very good example of the results found at Photojojo:

I don't have a phone that stores pictures, but it was still fun for the kids and I to make smooshy faces against our sliding glass door.

Here are our results:

Monday, July 23, 2007

Attention All Tennis Players!

Show some love (get it?) to a teacher and donate your used balls for her classroom chairs.

Not this:


This:


My wife is setting up her kindergarten classroom for the new school year and would love to soften the impact of the chairs on the new linoleum floors.

Also on her list:
  • Square carpet scraps
  • Dress-up clothes
  • Children's play kitchen items
  • Puppets
  • Bean bags
  • Children's play tables and chairs
  • Anything else that would benefit a kindergarten classroom
Thanks, and remember...it's for the children.

I'll give it a few more listens and tell you all about it Thursday.

Four

Thursday As It Looks From Here

I think I may escape from the sound and fury of small children on Thursday to:
  • Talk to a "Genius" at the Green Hills Apple store about my quirky iPod.
  • Have lunch with Dad.
  • Stop in at the Nashville library for a little research on a project I've been thinking about.
  • See "Paris, Je T'Aime" at the Belcourt.
But sleeping in all day would be a nice alternative to all of the above. It'll be a game day decision.

I wasn't ready for the following sentence regarding Mindy McCready's arrest:

"However, McCready claims she and her mother were playing Scrabble when an argument broke out and that deputies tackled her when they came into her mother's home." - CMT.com

Immersed Is What I Am

One of many Bukowski manuscripts.

Bring Back The Bards

A family comes home to Hotel Chelsea:
"Joe, Casebell and Tosh booked their room back in April before the despicable hostile takeover of the hotel. In other words, the reason they wanted to come to the hotel was for the Bard family and the Chelsea Hotel family, not for the 99 cent Internet room specials that BD is promoting to drive up the short-term occupancy rate." ...more>>


Ed Hamilton, the man behind Living with Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog, keeps us abreast of the Stanley Bard situation. Ed is a twelve year resident of the Chelsea and knows just what we are losing as the longtime manager and heart of the hotel has now been relegated to the sidelines by its board.




Hotel Chelsea, now managed by BD Hotels. Ugh.












That famous Hotel Chelsea lobby. Decorated by artists and residents, sometimes in lieu of rent money. The Chelsea is - er, was - a friend to the artist.







(These last three photos are by Jen C. Her Hotel Chelsea flickr set is here.)

Bukowski Downstairs

On the lower level, underneath all of those hotel rooms, he takes his break and retires to the employee locker room to meditate for as many of his thirty minutes as possible.

"Always have a good book with you," he thinks to himself. This one will do nicely tonight.

"When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object."

In less than two weeks, we will have been married for five years. It's Bon Jovi for her, and it's Springsteen for me.


(click pic for the Doisneau)

Her guy sings:
"We're halfway there
Living on a prayer
Take my hand,
We'll make it, I swear
Living on a prayer"

My guy sings:
"Well, I don't care how many girls you dated.
Man, you ain't lived
Till you've had your tires rotated
By a red-headed woman"

Once A Waiter...

I subscribe to just over a hundred blogs in my feed burner. There used to be so many more, but they just became overwhelming some nights and I had to "trim the fat," as they say. Each night, I come home from work and scroll the day's posts. When there are many, I am guilty of skimming through the words of even some of my favorite writers. There are some, however, that I will never skim. Each sentence is constructed with such care that I would be denying myself sure pleasure by skipping around just to save time. One of those writers is the talented author of Waiter Rant.

As is obvious by the title, he used to be a waiter. Now he's living the dream of most bloggers and putting the finishing touches on a book due out in the summer of '08. Here's an excerpt from - and a link to - his latest:
It’s a perfect Friday evening and I’m sitting at wrought iron table outside CafĂ© American. Sitting across from me Beth and Celine, two of my former co-workers, are drinking Cosmopolitans and chattering away like schoolgirls. Hiding out of view behind a street corner is The Bistro. I deliberately avoided looking though its broad plate glass window as I walked by. I don’t need to see it anymore.

I take a long sip from my dirty martini. The sun is beginning to set. The evening breeze is soft on my cheek, like a woman’s breath as her lips travel to my mouth. I feel weird being around my old stomping grounds – like a spy behind enemy lines with instructions to blend in with the local population. The streets are thronged with people. My eyes scan the broad avenue for Claude. He’s nowhere to be found.
...more>>

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"I want to hear songs about drinking, cheating and dogs dying. That's country music to me."

HOLMDEL, N.J. - "Cut it out!"
Backstage at the PNC Bank Arts Center, Miranda Lambert is laying down the law.
As usual, the object of her wrath - in this case, Delilah, the "terrier-slash-whatever mix" who's yipping at a visitor to the country starlet's tour bus - falls meekly into line.
...more>>

Country singer McCready arrested in Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. --Country singer Mindy McCready has been charged with battery and resisting arrest in Florida, authorities said.
...more>>

"This Is Ponderous, Man"

There's this radio show that I heard about on This American Life a few weeks ago. It's called Radio Lab and it's my new favorite thing. Two men, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, discuss and investigate the science behind the concepts of memory, self-awareness and morality. Give it a listen, smile and learn a bit.

A few weeks back, I found a very interesting podcast called The Joe Frank Show. It reminded me of a CD I used to listen to back in my record store days. I fell in love with a quirky little project called 2NU. The CD was entitled This Is Ponderous and was spoken word for the most part accompanied by sound effects and odd ethereal noises. We sold more than a few copies of This Is Ponderous from in-store play. Kick back on a quiet night, go to 2NU2 and listen to "This Is Ponderous" on the music page. It calls to mind the more popular and similarly produced "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" by Baz Luhrmann. It's cool.

That is all. Off to work. Again.

Big Congrats to the Pittsburgh Passion

They capped off their undefeated season with a victory in Saturday night's championship game in our fair city of Nashville, TN. I was lucky enough to meet several of the Passion's players at their hotel and I want to offer them big congrats on their win. Linebacker Lorri Stiles, QB Lisa Horton, and the rest were inspiring in their tough and positive attitudes and I loved that I got to learn so much about the league in talking with them.

For complete coverage of the game, click here for The Tennessean's Mike Organ, as his piece appears in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Arguments From The Back Seat

Joshua (age 4) to Ari (age 2 1/2):
"When I turn 5, you can't come to my birthday party!"
He'll turn 5 next June. Good luck remembering that grudge for the next 11 months.


And later during the drive:
He: I was mad at you first!

She: No, I was mad at you first!

He: You're wrong! I was mad at you first!
It continued from there. I don't know who won that one. I tuned them out like the good parent I am. I will survive.

Are You Ready For Some Women's Football?


My beautiful and sexy football-loving wife used to play the game back in her high school days. We Nashvillians have our own National Women's Football Association team. The Nashville Dream is comprised of women just like my wife; they are moms, they have regular jobs, and they eat, sleep, and dream football. I love football too, but while I just watch it on TV, they get down to that 3-point stance and play it. Local attendance has been lackluster at best and I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't even know that we had a team until now. Not only do we have a team, our city is playing host to the NWFA World Championship game.

I have one friend who refuses to take women playing football seriously. He sees it as a gimmick - and not a smart gimmick at that. "With all of the gear, pads, and helmets, you can't even tell that they're girls," he says. This is no gimmick sport and what he said proves that. If it was a gimmick, then they'd be playing flag football in bikinis. These women work full-time jobs, most have college degrees, and many are moms as well. On top of their busy schedules, they make time for practice as many as three times a week and play their hearts out each weekend.

The undefeated Pittsburgh Passion will take on the Columbus Comets this Saturday at White's Creek High School. I had the pleasure last night to meet so many of the tough and cool (and sexy as hell!) Pittsburgh Passion players and am rooting for them in Saturday's championship game.

Go Passion!

In the news:

Respect arrives as undefeated team goes for title

Video: A Passion to be champions

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ind. waitress gets a $10,000 tip

While holding out hope for a future "Nashville bellman/blogger gets a $10,000 tip" headline, it's nice to read this story of extreme kindness and generosity.

They returned last week and handed Osborne a check, folded in half, with money from an education fund they had set up after a death in the family.

"I didn't want to look at it because I thought I was going to cry," Osborne said. She did just that when she looked inside.

...more>>


Two Years Old And Totally The Boss Of Me



This photo was snapped by her four-year old brother.

Watching Brother's Swimming Lessons

Monday, July 16, 2007

Suppose You're Innocent

Night court to go live on 'Net

Nashville officials have developed plans for an Internet site that will show live video of people during what is arguably their worst moment: when they're booked into the city jail.

The live Internet feeds are expected to start within weeks, officials said, giving a worldwide audience 24-hour access to Metro's night court. ...more>>

Granted, night court has always been open to the public, but to broadcast the bookings online is a whole different animal.

Your thoughts?

Your favorite band T-shirts

The hot, hot, hot Whitney over at USA Today's Pop Candy blog asked her readers what their favorite band t-shirts were. Click to her site to see readers sharing pics of themselves wearing shirts should never be thrown out, regardless of the opinion of spouses and significant others.

I'm particularly envious of the wearer of a Bruce Springsteen Greetings from Asbury Park tee. I didn't think to participate and submit my own photo to Pop Candy, but I'll share here my own personal favorite band t-shirt. The best club show I ever saw was Peter Himmelman at Nashville's now defunct Ace of Clubs in 1994. Bob Reeves, manager of the club, managed to get a shirt from the show for me and gave it to me the following day. (Man, how I miss rock 'n' roll connections.) It used to have sleeves, but now is without and is ripped all to hell. No more machine washing for this piece of "rockabilia." My wife is kind enough not to throw it out and I am kind enough not to wear it out in public anymore.

Peter Himmelman - Skin:

Speaking of rock 'n roll and t-shirts, I saw a very cool man wearing a cool t-shirt the other night endorsing "Keith Richards for President." Wouldn't that be interesting?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A quick picture post before I rush off to work:


Saturday night, at the lovely Kate O.'s, and Hutch admires Paige's flower arrangement in her hair.

Photo taken by fellow Franklin Rebel, Sista Smiff.

"Starving In The Belly Of A Whale"

Gal Shkedi made a video for Tom Waits' "Starving In The Belly Of A Whale" for his graduation project.

Hat tip to The Eyeball Kid.

Sasha Frere-Jones on R. Kelly's latest

The rest of the album is typical R. Kelly, as frustrating, perverse, and pleasurable as his best recordings. Kelly seems to have no superego; he is willing to say anything that occurs to him, no matter how strange he sounds or how self-incriminating it might seem. Many people facing serious criminal charges related to sexual conduct would not include a song called “Sex Planet” on their CD, or, if they did, would probably omit the line about a “trip to planet Uranus.”

Kelly’s unpredictability may be his defining trait. ...more>>

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Silly Fun with Rhyming Dictionary. Sorry.

Her name is Ari.
She drives a Ferrari.
She's loves a safari.

She eats calamari,
while wearing a sari,
and boating on the African river, Shari.

She don't play Atari.
She can't speak Bihari.
Nor does she speak the Finnish language of Mari.

I sing her a lullaby when the sky is starry.
I'm a lucky daddy and she's my Ari.

"Most nights were crystal clear but tonight it's like it's stuck between stations."

She takes my order. "Scattered, covered, chunked and topped." I've heard from her that she's been bruised by her man at home. She called the cops and threw him out at that. But times are tough, two paychecks go farther than one, and her man is her man, and so, he's back in.

It's four kids they're raising and they're living in that stereotypical trailer park and the bills are always coming in.

I study people and she intrigues me. And I get her wrong.

I figure her for a country music fan as I admire her long red hair pulled back in that cute ponytail. Wrong. It's metal she likes. I once asked her if she was going to an upcoming Metallica concert. "Naah," she shrugged. "They ain't hard enough for me." She later revealed to me a few of her tattoos. No cute butterfly on the ankle for her. That dragon just about covered her entire lower back.

I'm a regular. I'm polite and I tip well. I add some Tabasco sauce to my order and read a few pages from my book. I then head home, silently and peacefully. There's drudgery to my days, but thanks to that midnight serving, I'll get a bit of color in my dreams.

I cross the dam and the moon is high. I know how good I've got it.

Title Quote: "Stuck Between Stations" by The Hold Steady

Friday, July 13, 2007

My Sacroiliac and Me

Doc says I should get some PT and take some Ibuprofen.

As the days become months and the months become years, this could become The Blog of Mike's Aches and Pains.

Wheeeee!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Solace by the water.






The Hold Steady never sounded so good.

Bills and concerns, and yearning and fearing.

It's all quiet now and the peace comes with

a reference to Sal Paradise via my iPod.

The boaters boat, the skiers ski,

and one man ceases to stress,

if only for an hour or so.

"If music be the food of love, play on." -- From Twelfth Night

Fernandina, I Close My Eyes And I Am With You

Monday, July 09, 2007

Glum, then comfy.



...a few more are at my flickr.

Goodbye Fernandina Beach. We'll see you next time.

We're home from Florida. I go back to work today and I suppose I missed it a little bit; I'm weird like that. Give me a few days off and I get restless for the structure of the work environment. I guess that's what prisoners mean when they say that they've been institutionalized.

I never sleep well in Florida. I don't know if it's something in the air or what. I just lie in bed for hours while the rest of the house sleeps.

It was nice to see all of the in-laws and I look forward to moving down there in a year or so. I figure I'll sell my two Hondas and buy a scooter as my main means of transportation on the island. The island is 14 miles long and 5 miles wide and scooters are everywhere. My wife would keep the van for hauling the kids around and I'd use it on rainy days. If the job I'm waiting for somehow doesn't come to fruition, I could be a bellman at the Ritz-Carlton. I bet those guys do pretty well, and they get to wear shorts, too!

My only real disappointment this time was that I didn't make time to wander about with my camera. I got some cute shots of the family at the beach and at Joshua's birthday party, but that's about it. There's always next time.

Anyway, it's good to be home. How've you guys been?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Overall, it was a good trip.


You know it's been an exhausting day of road travel with kids when even the New Age music you play when you get home sounds too aggressive.

Silence, instead. Nice.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Messages from a beach town

Someone I love was drunk-texting me last night. It started out fun and cute but quickly spiraled into something reading like a dying and lost explorer's last few journal entries.
"I'm drunk. U?"

"Way drunk now. Wish you were here."

"Really wish you were here!"

"Can barely sefe [sic] to text. LOL"

"Whole body numb."

"No more 4 me!"

"Brain gone."

"Good nite. Love u."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tennesseans get communal

Today's Tennessean has a story about communal living which includes a quote by my step-mom.

What the hell. Break the law. Prez has your back.


Scooter.
Giving President Bush a 100% approval rating. Slimy bastards.

Monday, July 02, 2007

High Class in Hermitage, TN

Cheese and wine for some, Cheez-its and white zin for me. Classical music plays in the background, but I'm about to find last week's I Like Songs radio show on the WRVU archives.

Big, cool news from The Eyeball Kid: Another mp3 from Healing The Divide has been released. It's Tom Waits performing "Way Down In The Hole" live with Kronos Quartet. It sounds fantastic. One of my favorite covers of Tom Waits' material is bluesman John Campbell's rendition of that song. He's since passed away and his True Believer is long since out of print, but put it on your list and pick it up cheap if you can find it used. It's stark, chilling, and mean and serious as hell.

New to the iPod:
  • Area Code 615 - Area Code 615 & Trip In The Country (My step-dad played banjo on these two masterpieces by Nashville's top-notch studio musicians.)
  • The God Star Social - A Queer Summer Sultry EP (My way talented brother played guitar and bass on this.)
  • Miles Davis - Nefertiti (I don't know anyone who played on this.)