Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Singing The Praises of Small Town Living

My dreams lie more in thoughts of enjoying the things that big cities have to offer. My lovely wife is more of a small town girl. I want excitement and she wants stability. I think that Nashville offers a nice compromise.

I get my small taste of urban life when I take the bus downtown, visit the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, catch a show at The Basement or Mercy Lounge, or enjoy classical music at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. She gets an easy pace and a nice quality of life that isn't often found in the New Yorks and Chicagos of the world. While I still get my little pleasures reading about New York's Hotel Chelsea, looking at photos online of subways and skyscrapers, and watching the webcams of Times Square, I realize that my wife is right. For our ever expanding family, what is best is what is found in Small Town, America. Cookouts, big yards, and friendly neighbors appeal to me. Room to breathe and a big front porch are soothing to the spirit.

Writing beautifully of life in scenic White House, Tennessee is my good friend at MonsterMash40 . Entitled "I Love a Small Town," this post is, as newscoma would say, "of the good." Read her words and know that she's good people.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mostly, she just sleeps and snores.

Melancholy Monday - "Picking Up After You"

Enjoy this early take of this beautiful duet by Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle. My favorite line: "Tell me, how long have you been combing your hair with a wrench?"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nice Genius Work There

A Twitter friend mentioned that he was listening to Bill Evans tonight. His smart mention prompted me to abandon the Ace of Base that I was listening to and play some of the Bill Evans that I had. He was right. It was indeed "perfect Sunday evening music."

I then put iTunes Genius to the test. Twenty-five similar songs coming right up? Not too shabby.
  1. "What Kind of Fool Am I?" - Bill Evans
  2. "If I Were A Bell" - Miles Davis
  3. "Dancing In The Dark" - Diana Krall
  4. "Here Comes The Sun" - Nina Simone
  5. "Birdland" - Weather Report
  6. "Aural Oasis" - Wynton Marsalis
  7. "Candy" - The Manhattan Transfer
  8. "A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening" - Johnny Mathis
  9. "Skylark" - Paul Desmond
  10. "Danny Boy" - Bill Evans
  11. "Alone Together" - McCoy Tyner
  12. "You're My Everything" - Miles Davis
  13. "The Low Road" - John Scofield
  14. "I Get Along Without You Very Well" - Diana Krall
  15. "Four Women" - Nina Simone
  16. "Manteca" - Dizzy Gillespie
  17. "Goodbye" - Wynton Marsalis
  18. "After The Rain" - John Coltrane
  19. "When I Fall In Love" - Bill Evans
  20. "The Nearness of You" - Norah Jones
  21. "Harlequin" - Weather Report
  22. "Strange Fruit" - Billie Holiday
  23. "Venus De Milo" - Miles Davis
  24. "The Night We Called It A Day" - Diana Krall
  25. "Worrisome Heart" - Melody Gardot

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

Lots of talk lately about what the hell this bailout will mean for Wall Street and for Main Street. (Tonight, SNL's Weekly Update added, "As always, Martin Luther King Blvd., you're on your own.")

Most believe that we're in for a long, hard road ahead. Sad and despaired visions of "Hooverville" from the Great Depression are brought to mind. I'm afraid of what lies ahead. I've got folks who depend on me and I haven't been bringing home much even when the economy has been good.

Let's hope it doesn't come to me asking, "Brother, can you spare a dime?"

This Bicycle Lane Not Safe For Bicycles

Friday, September 26, 2008

We'll just call this my profound insight tonight.

That first hard blink after a good and unexpected cry is always so damn cold.

In other news, I watched Dexter, Season Two, Disc One tonight. Episode One was fantastic and the the following two are following a nice and very intriguing path. I'm conflicted though because Disc Three should be ready for me to pick up at the library very soon but I forgot to request Disc Two. I put in the request for it tonight but that puts me at 23 of 23 holds. I'm not sure I want to wait that long, however, I'm very sure I don't want to watch this unfold out of sequence. Maybe I'll just have to suck it up and get a video store card for the first time in probably a decade or more so I can watch this properly.

I was considering writing about classic concerns like money woes, who I am to my family, what am I doing for them, am I supposed to always be so worried and sad and... Well, you know, just more existential stuff like that. McCain, however, seems to have put the word existential into the Internet zeitgeist (currently #5 on the Google Trends page) after tonight's debate, so I'll just let him have the floor on that one for a bit.

Writing for the sake of writing, or typing for the sake of typing, I'm looking forward to viewing Classe Tous Risques . It's also soon to be available for me at the library. As with most of the things I request from the library, I don't remember why I requested it in the first place. It was probably mentioned in a magazine or a newspaper article sometime a month or two ago and I was moved or intrigued enough to look for it at the library. I expect I'll like it.

And now, with The Beatles' "Love" album playing and soothing my troubled little brain, I'll sign off for the night. Or soon, anyway.


Hard Times or Dumb Head?, or, This Ain't Mulberry Street

As I've gone on about before, I've had to walk to or from work a few times recently. At six miles, it's less the distance than the route that is the challenge. When I lived near Hillsboro Village, everywhere I wanted to go was either pedestrian friendly (sidewalks) or accessible by bus. The bus stop was conveniently at the end of my street on 21st Avenue.

Now I live in Hermitage and work in Donelson. Pedestrians are noticeably not welcome in these parts. The walk down Elm Hill Pike has no sidewalks and hardly even a shoulder for safe walking alongside its busy road. Still, I do what I must and walk carefully, mindful of traffic and rude drivers. I have a bicycle, but I'm not brave enough to ride it down Elm Hill. Woe is me, right? Not compared to some.

Yesterday I was driving the hotel shuttle down Elm Hill Pike and I saw a sight which concerned me greatly. It was that of a young mother pushing her baby in a stroller down Elm Hill. In the picture below, you'll see where I saw them, walking eastbound against westbound traffic. At least the mother might be able to observe a dangerous situation that way, but I question her ability to maneuver the stroller's four wheels over the curb and into the grass at a moment's notice. Can you even call that a shoulder? When on foot, I keep my feet in the grass.

Anyway, I drove back by ten minutes later and didn't see them again. Was it just one of those unfortunate situations where she felt she had no choice? I wish she and her daughter well. And I want some more sidewalks in my town.

Taking Out the Trash

Feel Good Friday - Girl on LSD

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One of these things is not like the other.

I'm looking forward to my next visit to the Hermitage library branch. On hold for me are Dexter: The Second Season, Disc One and a DVD entitled Slapstick Masters featuring films by Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

Dexter is for me and the other one is for the kids (and me). Here's hoping I don't put in the wrong one for Family Movie Night. No one five and under needs to be traumatized just yet.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Clean and devoid of clutter.

Hell Blues Choir are responsible for my big fat smile.

Big thanks to The Eyeball Kid for making me aware of this album of Tom Waits covers by Hell Blues Choir.
Newscoma and others should listen to the samples at eMusic.com  and smile big as well.

Watching a princess smile.

She sure is happy.

There's not much I love more than watching her smile.

I should have known. She's watching princesses.

My Recurrent Dream

For those who analyze dreams...

There's one I have an awful lot. I faint. Mostly while at work. Sometimes at home. When I dream this, I dream it for a few nights in a row. Then some weeks will go by and I'll forget about it, but it always comes back. Last night was the second night in a row that I dreamed I fainted while at the workplace.

A friend looked it up for me:
To dream that you are fainting, suggests your inability to confront some unconscious issue or feelings. You need to be more aware and acknowledge of those feelings.

Could be. Another friend offered a comment a few weeks ago in regard to how hard it was for me to turn my head. It's possible that it was the result of a fall and was simply whiplash, but she suggested that repressed memories could be a factor. It's hard to say. If I knew for sure, then they wouldn't be very repressed or unconscious. What is definitely true is that I'm certainly wound quite tight and worry about more than is easy to imagine.

I won't make this an exercise in tedium. If you read here much, then you know my issues, the conscious ones anyway.

Thanks for reading. I'm going to go to bed and dream of fainting.

Father and Daughter

Quick. Whose blog am I?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Another mustache effort, since shaved. Better luck next time.

I almost look like a cop or I almost look like a serial killer. I could be both ala Dexter.

Anyway, I'm a long way from the great Freddie Mercury stache.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Who do you wish had a podcast?

I'm downloading a bunch of new podcasts today. While checking some under the subject of parenting, I found myself wishing that the Dad Gone Mad blogger had a podcast. This led me to think of other bloggers who I thought were very funny and interesting, bloggers with a real "voice" for sharing a narrative. The often hilarious Neil Kramer at Citizen of the Month also came to mind.

I'm in a rush to work now so I can't spend too much time thinking about this as I write, but I do wonder which bloggers you kind of wish were also podcasters. A whole host of Nashville bloggers would be on my list. To be able to listen to their words and insights while walking with my iPod would be most excellent.

I may add more to this tonight. Anyway, who would you like to listen to as you go about your day?

Button This, Button That

War all the time.


Lift, so I don't have to.

Prairie Office at Night

The Explorer

The lonely explorer, forging through the wooded areas surrounding urban office parks on a late Friday evening, finally comes to a clearing. With camera in hand, he investigates what he thinks might be signs of that "volatile mixture of flammable liquid hydrocarbons derived chiefly from crude petroleum and used principally as a fuel for internal-combustion engines." At least that's the dictionary definition of it. It's just gas to you and him. Careful not to be seen by the panicky and quick-to-suspicion natives, he snaps a picture from afar. Sure enough, it is gas and the station selling the stuff is doing brisk business.

He walks into the store after a long, hard day, working hard but receiving very little booty for his efforts. He's one of them now, a consumer, but not a consumer of gasoline, so he's still eyed as a stranger. To the crowd of mistrusting drivers, he's seen as a walking man and thus probably a drifter. And most drifters are shifty, aren't they? Still, they're so fixated on the newly found gasoline that they pay him little mind as he pays for his snack and lottery ticket. He puts the lottery ticket into his pocket and his snack into his backpack. The explorer adjusts the camera strap around his neck, thanks the clerk at the register, and makes his way back into the dark, dark night.

Once across the street, he takes one more picture of the station. The light is low and the flash goes unused. It's an imperfect shot, but he can always hope that it is seen as "artsy" by someone, whatever that means. He's going to put his pictures on a website someday and see if he can sell any of them. The explorer isn't going to worry if they're perfect enough either. As he once heard said, "Don't let perfect get in the way of good." Art stuff and the perception of it can be so subjective that you just don't know what people are going to like. He may as well put it out there and see what happens.

The night is coming to a close. The people have their gas and the explorer has made his way back home. For now, there is peace. Contentment is achieved.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bringing Broadband to Rural America

Writer Arek Hesseldahl has an important piece in BusinessWeek Magazine about the struggle of small towns to get broadband and the resulting economic impact. Featured in his story is Tennessee's own Hickman County.

A borrowed snippet:

The lack of fast Web access is helping create a country of broadband haves and have-nots—a division that not only makes it harder for businesses to get work done, but also impedes workers' efforts to find jobs, puts students at a disadvantage, and generally leaves a wide swath of the country less connected to the growing storehouse of information on the Web—from health sites to news magazines to up-to-date information on Presidential candidates. "Broadband is a distance killer, which can especially help rural Americans," says John Horrigan, a Pew researcher. "Broadband is not just an information source for news and civic matters, but it's also a pathway to participation."

The accompanying narrated slide show is here.

Follow Arek Hesseldahl on Twitter here.

Feel Good Friday - "Burma Shave"

Well, it makes me feel good anyway.


I took a picture of the Bush Legacy Bus the other day. Honestly, I was only thinking about the bus when I took this, but I bet the lady in the shot thought I was taking a picture of her. Here's hoping she was flattered and didn't think me to be a "weird, creepy dude with camera."

Anyway, she's got what folks call "cameradar." Click the pic for the large size. There's no sneaking up on this gal.

Here's a better shot of the bus. Stop sign. See what I did there? Clever blogger. :)

Another post about walking.

Another day, another 4.2 miles walked to start it. I walked from home this morning to Lebanon Pike with the intention of catching the 10:00 bus to downtown Nashville. I missed it by that much. As soon as I turned left from Central Pike, I saw the bus making its way away from me.

It was a strategic mishap on my part. Had I skipped the library, I would have made it. Had I crossed immediately, I would have been at a point where it might have stopped for me. Oh well. Instead of waiting there for the next bus to come (forty-five minutes and I don't stay put very well), I chose to walk down Lebanon Pike and see how far I'd make it before the next bus arrived.

Approximately fifty minutes later, I found myself at the corner of Lebanon Pike and Donelson Pike. I sat down, waited about five minutes or so, and boarded the 10:50 to downtown. Relaxing in an air conditioned vehicle traveling about 40 m.p.h never felt so good. I had walked four miles in the time it takes most drivers to get to Chattanooga from here. My feet were humbled to consider that.

Anyway, I finally got downtown and walked around with camera in hand. I took exactly zero pictures but did have the good fortune to finally meet fellow blogger and Twitter user, Joel. I then hung out for a bit at TPAC and followed, replied, and direct messaged Twitter friends. The earlier walking left me in no mood to explore downtown. I later took the 12:50 airport express which dropped me off at my hotel near the airport at 1:30. Twenty-five minutes later, I was showered, changed, and clocked in, ready to begin the getting paid portion of my day.

I was gonna go back Friday, catch the close bus and take pictures, but at this point, I think I'll just sleep in, recuperate a bit more from last week's surgery, and save my energy to explore another day.

Now, I'm resting on the floor with my back against the couch. My five-year-old has just gone back to bed and I'm watching (listening) to a Thelonious Monk concert DVD. It's beautiful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On Union Street


Riding the MTA

Blog Love

I haven't see her in maybe seventeen years, but I read her blog every day.

Her latest post is very touching and beautiful.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you MonsterMash40.

There are some stretches more dangerous than others.

The narrow path I walk.

The wide path I deserve.

Back to the peas.

I'm a bad boy. My urologist told me to stay on my couch for a few days and not lift anything heavy for seven. Within a day of last Friday's little surgery, I was on my feet picking up the kids' toys, vacuuming the floor, and pretty much breaking all rules pertaining to my recuperation. I walked six miles on Sunday just because I was bored, restless, and, admittedly, in a pissy mood. Monday found me following orders a bit better and I was feeling quite healthy "down there."

Waking up Tuesday morning, I decided to walk a couple more miles before going to work. So with backpack on back and camera in hand, I ventured out to get some fresh air and maybe some pictures, too. I dropped off some books at the library and continued on Central Pike to Lebanon Pike. Again, I appreciated the not-yet-ready-for-cars portion of the bridge where I had several lanes safely to myself after successfully crossing an earlier bridge with pretty much no shoulder at all.

With another four miles or so between me and the workplace, I decided to take the bus for most of the journey. The plan was to take it from Lebanon Pike at the Kohl's and Target store to the McGavock intersection. At that point, I'd only be a mile or so from work and happy to have the experience of riding the bus. Once I neared McGavock, I changed my mind and stayed on all the way to downtown. It was still a couple of hours before my shift and I thought it might be good for me to wander around and play with my camera for a bit. Then I could take the bus back in an hour or so.

Of course, all of the potentially awesome shots were seen through the windows of the moving bus. On a construction site, several workers were gathered together underneath a large tractor trailer, hiding in the shade and enjoying their lunch break. I saw a few other great photo ops as well, but was in no position to act on them. When the bus arrived at its destination, I wandered around with camera ready for more brilliant captures. I saw nothing. I took lots of pictures anyway, but just for the sake of doing it. I'll share some of them in my next post.

Anyway, after about an hour of this, I caught the airport express and then took the hotel shuttle to work. I still felt quite fine despite not following my doctor's orders better than I had. Once clocked in, it was my first luggage carry that did me in. I'll play the part of gentleman and spare you the details, only sharing that I paid the price the rest of the evening and walked with a most gingerly gait and with gauze and Neosporin always very nearby.

I was going to go downtown again Wednesday to try to get some better pictures, but having learned my lesson about not listening to doctors, I think I'll put that off until Thursday. Wednesday morning before work will be dedicated to me staying on my couch, listening to Wagner, and keeping that famous bag of frozen peas very, very close to me. Doctor's orders.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Social Life Enhanced By Twitter.

Follow me on Twitter.

So many fun events are coming up on my calender. There are some that I'm lucky enough to be attending and some which I'm hoping to attend but probably won't.

The Metropolitan Opera's series, The Met: Live in HD, will be simulcast at Nashville's Opry Mills with its gala premiere showing next Monday, September 22. Following this opening evening occasion are ten matinee performances between October 11 and May 9, 2009.

Nashville's own Nashville Opera begins its 2008-2009 season on the weekend of October 10th. The very talented and highly acclaimed folks at Nashville Opera are presenting to us Don Giovanni, The Student Prince, and La Boheme. Also, the popular Amahl and the Night Visitors will be featured along with a holiday concert. (Thanks to a good friend on Twitter, I'll be attending one of the above performances.)

In another local production, Tennessee Rep's Sweeney Todd will play beginning October 4th and ending the 18th at TPAC's Johnson Theater. (Thanks to a good friend on Twitter, I'll be attending one of these shows as well.)

Nine Inch Nails will play at our Sommet Center on October 31st. I haven't seen NIN since Lollapalooza '91 and am very excited about this show. (Again, thanks to a good friend on Twitter, I'll be in attendance.)

For fans of jazz, piano great McCoy Tyner plays the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on October 3rd. My dad (not on Twitter) very generously bought me a ticket so that I could finally experience both the beauty of McCoy Tyner's talent and the magnificence of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. (Friends on Twitter quickly let me know just how great and important a player McCoy Tyner is. I'm thrilled that I get to go.)

Finally, STS9 plays War Memorial Auditorium in November. I don't think I'll make this one (Twitter friends?), but it's sure to be a spectacular show. Their podcasts are frequently played on my iPod and there is an intimate beauty to War Memorial Auditorium that left me in awe the last time I was there.

Nashville's a blast and I'm glad I live here. I'm also very thankful for the friends and family who are so kind and cool as well. Have a great day!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Modern Times

I'm looking forward to the kids getting home from school today. I borrowed Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times from the library yesterday and I think the kids will love it. If their reaction last month to Gold Rush is any indication, they'll be rolling on the floor laughing.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

6.35 Miles

When I stress, I walk. Today I walked over six miles. Never mind Friday's vasectomy. It's either walk or who knows what. The reason for my stress? I misplaced approximately twenty bucks or so. Sure, there's probably more going on subconsciously, but it pissed me off that in my home, one that I de-cluttered to the best of my ability yesterday, but one with two kids who like to make a mess of things always in record time, I couldn't find the cash I had earmarked as payment to the library for a lost library book. It made me mad.

Anyway, I got out of the apartment and walked to the library. I turned in books that were due and picked up a couple of DVDs (Modern Times and 'Round Midnight). Not content to return home, where my low wage existence bugs me and I just feel like a bum relaxing on the couch, I exited the library and turned right. With backpack and iPod, I walked alongside Central Pike, careful of cars on one side and the ditch on the other as Delibes' "Lakmé" did it's best to soothe me of my concerns. I later hit Lebanon Pike and turned left toward town. They're working on the bridge that crosses the river and I had the equivalent of four lanes not yet ready for cars all to myself. When you are a pedestrian restricted to small shoulders and always feel just one unobservant driver away from serious bodily harm, all of this free and safe space is quite welcome. Just across the bridge was a Target store. I stopped in, bought some Sprites for my pregnant and nauseous wife, put them into my backpack and exited the store.

The Stones River Greenway is a stone's throw from the Target store and even though its winding path would take me longer to get home, I chose it's car-free and peaceful way. It's the first time I had traveled the Greenway from one end all the way to the other and I liked it a lot. Many bikers and runners were there tonight and I appreciated the passing company of folks like me, taking time out of the day to move around without the benefit of automobiles.

Finally, I reached the foot of the Percy Priest Dam and walked the steep, grassy hill to its right. I'm not in great shape and it took a lot out of me, but as climbers know, there's something quite awesome about the view after reaching the top. Looking down at my accomplishment, gazing across and watching the water run underneath the I-40 bridge, seeing the sunset beyond the bridge, trees, and hills, I smiled. Maybe my first true smile in a few days.

Returning home not long after, I was quick to map out my walk online. Roughly figured, I had walked 6.35 miles. So much for listening to my doctor and staying on the couch all weekend, but a restless man with a worried mind has to move around a bit.

It did me good. Thanks for reading.

Sitting on the couch, doctor's orders.

Because not every night can be beer night.

For those who are following along, I walked to the hospital Friday morning for my vasectomy. It was even more painless than I had hoped. I opted for the "no scalpel" technique and have been pleasantly surprised at how quick and simple the whole thing was. I read on a website that it's "simple, gentle, and elegant." I can't say that I was aware of any elegance, but I agree completely with those other two adjectives. All I felt was the initial pinch from the local anesthetic. Since the procedure, I've certainly taken advantage of pain pills but only as a precautionary measure. (A bag of frozen peas has been strategically placed as well.) All in all, recovery time has been wonderfully quick.

I will say though that I did faint during the procedure. It was a strange sensation for me to feel it coming on. I was talking with my doctor about the music on my iPod and then I told him I was feeling like I was going to faint. My next moment I was aware of was the big struggle for consciousness. I didn't think I had fainted, but felt like I was still fighting against it. In fact, I was only coming to. It's that fight to control my body that resonates still. I was trying to speak but couldn't find words. I was trying to sit forward but couldn't do that either. I probably achieved full awareness in only a matter of seconds, however, it seemed to take the strength of a lifetime to do so.

Anyway, I was glad to get back to the familiar. My doctor had finished the vasectomy and my wife was in the waiting room waiting to drive me home. I've lounged around the apartment these last couple of days, relaxing and watching football. I've gotten a bit stubborn at times and tidied up and vacuumed as needed, but for the most part, I've just done a bunch of nothing. (So much nothing that I've gotten bored and wished I was at work at times.)

In more good news, my dad is coming over Sunday to watch the Titans game with us. With any luck, he'll bring over some beer.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Gimme Shelter

I watched Gimme Shelter for the first time tonight. My television choices consisted of that, Metallica's Some Kind of Monster, and a movie starring my crush, Piper Perabo, with the following description:
While walking to the altar, a bride (Piper Perabo) locks eyes with another woman (Lena Headey) and is inexplicably attracted.
Although that seemed quite intriguing, the Stones won tonight. It's just too important a rock-doc for this thirty-eight year old music lover to pass up.

I told a friend I was watching it and she said she expected a review here afterward. Well, I've got some codeine running around inside me tonight and details are fuzzy at best. I'm pretty sure I liked it. Getting a peak into the preparation of a big (and free) rock concert is always interesting for me. Watching promoters and managers make necessary phone calls regarding things like parking and permits and other boring yet crucial details fascinates this fan of all things music.

I came in at the point where a young Tina Turner was absolutely wowing a crowd with her beautiful and soulful wailing. Soon after, Mick and crew graced my TV. Such an attention hog himself (like any good rock frontman should be), Mick Jagger worked to tease the crowd making mention that he was bouncing around so much his trousers were in danger of falling down. There wasn't much response from the crowd so he said it again. Getting the desired reaction of cheers this time, he was free to move onto the next song.

I kind of faded near the end but I got a sense of the whole Hell's Angels scene. I vaguely recall Mick scolding some folks for behaving violently and then the movie was over. Next time I'll watch it with a clearer head.

Now to look for Piper Perabo clips on YouTube. Have a nice night.

Feel Good Friday - The Vasectomy Song


I'm on doctor's orders to lounge around and lift nothing this weekend. Sure beats pushing a bellcart around the hotel lobby and looking for luggage to lift.

I'm scanning the TV listings and marveling at all of the football I'll be able to watch. I'm reminded of the '99 NFL season when I had every Sunday off. I saw every minute of every Titans game from the seats and the field of then-Adelphia Stadium. I was lucky that year and got to help NFL Films on the sidelines. Of course, that wasn't enough and when we'd finish with the Titans, my buddy Daniel and I would find the nearest sports bar and catch the afternoon games. God, I was a hardcore fan then.

Family and work and the rest of it all have taken a toll on my football Sundays and I know embarrassingly little about NFL personnel nowadays. (Ditka's still in New Orleans, right?) Anyway, I get to watch the Titans take on Cincinnati this Sunday. I've got Cincinnati roots and there's sometimes a conflict for me as to who I'm going to root for. Not this time. I wish Chad "Eight Five" Johnson well, but I see the Titans running and defending their way to a 2-0 start this week.

Vince Young's press conference today did a lot to make me feel better about him when he returns from his injury. He's here to win and he's committed to that. Until then, let's hope our receivers get better at their jobs while Vince heals and gets better at dealing with the stresses of being the man you get to boo if things aren't looking pretty.

As for my televised NFL choices after the game? We've got Pats-Jets on CBS and Falcons-Bucs on Fox. All I can say is, congrats to you local Bucs or Falcons fans. The rest of us will pretty much be watching the Brady-less Patriots take on the Favre-ful NY Jets. (Fox may as well broadcast that loop of that one Palin speech over and over for three hours. Oh, those were different speeches? They all sounded like the same line of crap to me.)

After that, the Steelers meet the Browns for Sunday Night Football. Eh. Even a matchup that doesn't excite me much is still a game I'll enjoy. I might know maybe five players between the two teams. I suck. Next year, I'll study the rosters better; I promise.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

That was close.

I almost blogged about Palin.

I resisted.

Back to beer and music and a quiet night at home.

Good night all.

"The stars make their wishes on her eyes."

My beautiful Arianna.

I think she knows every word to "Coney Island Baby."

She requested that I play that Tom Waits song for her today. It's our song. Usually, she just listens and smiles as I sing it to her. Today, however, she sang every word right along with me. I'd like to see if she goes for any other songs by Tom, but I think the big advantage this one has over the rest of his tunes is the princess reference: "She's a princess/In a red dress/She's the moon in the mist to me."

It breaks my heart a little bit when I read about the developmental stages of children. It is said that while a child's most formative years are in the first five or so, he or she just won't consciously remember much, if anything at all, from that period of time. So while the love that we give them is very important, in fact, crucial, our parental memories are ours alone. That's a lot of days and nights of singing and playing with (and teaching and loving) my kiddos, but only really recalled by me.

Oh well. My memories are conscious and hers are not, but I believe they're still there deep down. It's all embedded and she knows.

She's my sweetheart.

As the song goes "she's the spin on my world."

I love that song.

"You broke my dreams," he said.

Before bed, he comes into the living room and softly says to me:

"When you yelled at me earlier, you broke my dreams. Now I'll never get to dream what I wanted."

Trying not to feel guilty about having yelled at him, I answered, "But you weren't sleeping when I yelled at you."

Joshua replied, "I know. My dreams were trying to get started and now they're broken and now I'll have bad dreams tonight instead."

I don't recall what I said to that. Something reassuring, probably. Something that neither of us really believed, but it was good enough for him to go bed after the standard hug and kiss.

He can be such a wild mess sometimes that I can forget how sensitive a little guy can be. His sister has the market cornered on sensitivity and I'll have to remember to look extra hard for those times when he might need a little more love and attention.

How I Get My Calcium

...and Leesa reminds me that they're good for my breath. ;)

Smile, jump, and be happy. It's the point.

Monday, September 08, 2008

One in the morning. Finally watching Capote for the first time.

God, I can't take my eyes off of Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance.

"Protect Ya Neck," say the Wu-Tang Clan. I really should do that.

For a week or so, I've had the most terrible pain in my neck. Any movement feels so restrictive. I can turn it maybe 45% or so and then it's a battle to turn it much more at all. My first thought was to blame it on my habit of drinking too many sodas each day. All that sugar! I have no substantiated reason to think that's the cause, but it's the only vice I have. What else could it be?

Then a friend suggested that it could just be stress. A quick search on the Internet did bring up a lot of talk of stress-related neck stiffness. Lord knows, I stress enough. I go on enough about the reasons why on this blog and I won't blather on more tonight. Anyway, maybe I just need a massage. It's been years since my last one. My friend thinks I'm stressing about my upcoming vasectomy. I don't think so. Weirdly, I'm kind of looking forward to that. Another experience, um, under my belt to ponder and write about, I suppose.

All these thoughts about my neck and what might be the cause of its limited ability to do what it does and the reason finally comes to me tonight. Last week I slipped on the kids' wet bathroom floor, the top of my six foot frame sliding and crashing down next to the tub and onto the thin rug by the sink. Surely that's the incident. I fell and now my neck hurts. My slight but week-long headache is from that slippery spill last week. Balance was lost and the ensuing hard fall has left a mark. Curiously, it's only now that I've put two and two together. It puzzles me that the obvious has eluded me this long. Too much soda? Too much stress? How about the fall, the crash of noggin to linoleum? Yep. That's gotta be it.

I'll take some aspirin and try to stop over-thinking every little thing that happens to me. Wait. I have a blog. Over-thinking is what I do. It happens and I share it. To what end I don't know, but I do it anyway.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008

"Give it a name."

I know a woman whose first name is the same as her last name. (Well, similar anyway. First name Robin, last name Robbins.) I wrongly assumed that she acquired that little fact through marriage. In fact, she is married but chose to keep her maiden name because she's in marketing and her name is so much more memorable to people this way. She's very successful in business and I imagine she's got a point.

So with that, I offer to my wife a suggestion: This little baby of ours? The one who is likely due in April 2009? Boy or girl, let's name the baby Beziat Beziat.

I await her reply.

[Edit to add: I'm revising my idea. Now I'm thinking Beziat Boutros Boutros-Beziat. A name both political and rich in alliteration. Awesome!]

Carla Bruni sings and my brain turns to mush.

I'm listening to Carla Bruni's second album, entitled No Promises. While her first release, Quelqu'un m'a dit, is sung entirely in French, this release, with lyrics from the poetry of Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Dorothy Parker and others, is sung in English. I like it a lot.

Where Quelqu'un m'a dit sounded very fresh and exotic to this unilingual American's ears, 2007's No Promises, while quite beautiful, sounds more like Margo Timmins of Cowboy Junkies singing with Jack Johnson's band. That's not criticism; these songs on No Promises make for quite the escape from the noise and clutter of day to day life. If it's solace and beauty you're seeking, then you can't go wrong here. There are many rich pleasures waiting within Carla Bruni's breathy interpretations of these classic American and British poems.

Still, for me, there's just something about a gal singing in French...

Friday, September 05, 2008

Feel Good Friday - "Mad World"

This is maybe a strange choice for something called "Feel Good Friday," but ever since I first heard this song a few years ago, it's always done a good job of helping me feel peace in my more quiet and worrisome moments. Although I consider myself a fan of Tears For Fears, this Gary Jules cover was my introduction to the song. And now that I've finally seen the excellent Donnie Darko, it's back in my head again.

Gretchen: You're weird.
Donnie: Sorry.
Gretchen: No, that was a compliment.

Check Your Work, People

I'm no grammar genius. I never went to college and I've never taken any writing classes beyond what I was taught in high school. This blog is for my entertainment and hopefully some other people enjoy reading it as well, but I don't consider myself a serious writer by any means. I don't even proof read anything before I post (I just cringe later when I get bored, read through my archives, and see any number of mistakes). That's cool though, because no one's making or losing money here. It's just a blog. For the same reason, I don't get upset when I see writing errors on other people's blogs. I read them for the stories, not for the punctuation.

However, in big print media? In advertising? I think that what's forgivable on a blog can be quite shameful elsewhere. Take the back page of this week's Scene for example:

Loosing? Loosing your home? The folks behind that little ad couldn't be bothered to check their work before sending it out to be seen by all eyes that take a glance at that back page of a free and widely circulated weekly?

Or maybe stuff like that gets a free pass these days. Maybe I'm being a bit of an English snob. (Mr. Stackhouse taught me well. English, not snobbery.) Does the general public overlook errors like this and take it as the ad intended? Or worse, possibly most don't even notice an error.

Whatever. Seeing it gave me something to blog about. That's something.

(I wonder how many errors I made writing this. I don't care. I'm going to bed.)

And By The Way, Which One's Pink?

Too much Twitter these days. I don't even know what a blog is anymore. Or maybe tomorrow is another day and I'll think of something that takes a few paragraphs to get out and absolutely must be shared! 

Or I'll just make myself write some stuff down right now. Like this...

I'm listening to the latest Coverville podcast tonight. Nothing but Pink Floyd covers. I like it so far, but I'm reminded of the fact that I currently own way too little Pink Floyd. It's a shameful thing to share, indeed. Over the years, be they 8-track tapes, cassettes, albums, or CDs, I've bought and re-bought pretty much everything they've done. It's time (beyond time) that I add the good ones to the iPod. So far, and with thanks to a friend, I've got Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, and Meddle. It's a decent start, but there are several must-haves remaining, notably, The Final Cut and the Roger Waters solo stuff.

Anyway, I recommend checking out Coverville 502 if you want to here some interesting Pink Floyd covers.

Goodbye Blue Sky.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

When Obama Speaks

I just finished listening to Obama's Democratic Convention speech again this morning. No matter what happens over the next few months, whether or not Barack Obama is elected as our next president, he should be chosen to stand up and talk to America a couple of times every year. The way he inspires when he speaks, the way he shares his compassion and hope for America and the American people, I always feel good about the future when I hear him on stage.

Like a good liberal, I've been known to download his speeches to my iPod, put one bud in my ear and go to sleep listening to Obama talk of change and opportunity. Let's get back to the days of economic surpluses, more jobs, and the promise of better health care for Americans.

I had the pleasure of hanging out with the lovely Jane Q. Public the other night. We both think it'd be cool for a bunch of us to get together to watch the upcoming presidential debates.
  • Sept. 26: The first presidential debate, at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, will focus on foreign policy and national security. John McCain and Barack Obama will stand at lecterns and answer questions from moderator Jim Lehrer.
  • Oct. 2: The vice presidential debate will be held at Washington University in St. Louis.  
  • Oct. 7: The second presidential debate, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., will have a town-hall-style format. Moderator Tom Brokaw will call on audience members and pose questions submitted through the Internet.
  • Oct. 15: The final presidential debate, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will center on domestic and economic policy. Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama will sit at a table with moderator Bob Schieffer.

    (Associated Press)

Good idea? Maybe the good folks at Drinking Liberally are already organizing something. I want to experience these debates in a social setting. Let me know.

Have a nice day.

Borderline Tedium Within

Thanks to my dad's generous spirit, I've got a pretty good collection of jazz CDs to listen to. Artists on my playlist include Bill Charlap, Bill Evans, Chet Baker, Coltrane, Miles, and Getz.

I'm currently listening to Charles Lloyd play the always beautiful and somewhat melancholy "Georgia." It's simply perfect listening for a night like this.

The weekend is over and I'm glad to be getting back to the workplace tomorrow. I never know what to do with myself after too much time on my hands. At least I wasn't the typical "hermit from Hermitage" for once. On Saturday my visiting brother treated me to a movie ("Vicky Christina Barcelona") and Sunday night found me getting home at 4 a.m. after hanging out with a fellow blogger. (Finally I have touched a Wii and I like it much. Finally I have seen Donnie Darko and I keep replaying bits from it over and over in my head.)

Today I stayed home all day and I stayed grumpy all day. The reasons are all too tedious to bore you with here, but suffice it to say I'm pretty embarrassed by my inability to get out of my head sometimes. I just need to get back into my work routine and focus on helping people and winning bread. As my young son likes to say when I leave for work, "Be careful of cars and make enough money for McDonald's." I'm doing my best.

Or maybe I can do better.

Monday, September 01, 2008

From the Hands On Nashville website:

Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee needs volunteers Tuesday, September 2 to prepare food for Hurricane Gustav evacuees located in our area.
Volunteers are needed to prepare sandwiches and hot meals at Second Harvest's facility in MetroCenter.  You will need to wear closed toed shoes and a long sleeve shirt.   
Volunteer Location:
Second Harvest Food Bank
331 Great Circle Road
Nashville, Tennessee 37228
One Volunteer Shift Tomorrow, Tuesday September 2:

Please email Brian Williams at brian@hon.org to volunteer.

Check the Hands On Nashville website for more information and volunteer opportunities.

Nashville Opera News

Nashville Opera's Noah Liff Center is being built in Sylvan Heights.

WSMV has the story and video.

[Edit to add: I just mapped the new center on Google Maps. I used to live exactly .5 miles from it. How nice would it be if I still lived there and got to work for Nashville Opera in some capacity? I'd never complain about walking to my job if that were the case.]