Saturday, March 28, 2009

David Olney, with blurbs!

"Few are capable of spinning such colorful and multi-layered yarns with so little excess fat. On this fine new release, Olney spans the gamut from OBSTREPEROUS* GLEE to NAKED TERROR."
-American Songwriter Magazine

"Olney stands out LIKE A JALEPENO IN A BOWL OF VANILLA PUDDING in Nashville."
-William Michael Smith, Houston Press (TX)

Thanks to an email, I have spent most of my post-work evening listening to the absolutely stirring songs of David Olney. His concerts are often remembered by their music-loving attendees as if anyone who wasn't there must have woken up on Lady Luck's bad side. I kind of agree.

I told my wife tonight about the times I took dates to see him do his thing at venues like 12th and Porter, Douglas Corner and The Bluebird Cafe. The dates would tell me later that they went just because they liked me and were good sports. Before: "David who? Okay, Michael." Afterward: "Wow! David Olney, right? I need to buy his CD. Oh, and what's your name again? Mark, right?"

Some songs seem to come to us exactly when we need to hear them most. David Olney's "Jerusalem Tomorrow" was one of those songs. I don't know the year, but it was maybe 1991 when I was sitting in front of my little guy's house waiting for the court-appointed time for me to knock on his door and take him out with me for a little bonding time. I was early and left to wait for time to do its thing as I sat in my car while listening to WRLT. On came "Jerusalem Tomorrow" and I was hooked. I was jotting down lyrics so that I could call the station later and find out whose voice belonged to this mysterious and prolific song. Gone was the "woe is me" and here was the "who was that?" ( I have since decided that "Jerusalem Tomorrow" would have fit perfectly on the Leap Of Faith soundtrack. If you've seen the movie, check the lyrics and tell me you don't agree.)

I've read about his famous show at Douglas Corner when the power went out and instead of canceling the show he played acoustically to a room full of music fans and lit candles. I bet the magic in the air that night was, as they say, palpable. I've felt touches of that magic when hearing David Olney sing his wonderful songs at various venues over the years.

So if you ever get a chance to see David Olney in concert, jump at that opportunity. And if you are ever asked what your favorite concerts are and you've never seen David Olney, then go ahead with your list but note that there is room for error. Then jump at your next opportunity to see him live. He's on my list.

1. Tom Waits
2. Peter Himmelman
3. Bruce Springsteen
4. Dave Olney

*Note to self: Look up "obstreperous."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ever So Slightly

She doesn't know it yet, but baby Sam and I have our song. When she's born in a few weeks I'll tell her all about it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Peter Himmelman sings "Motel Room in Davenport."

This Furious World thing is just about perfect for me. For much of the 90s, I was often in the clubs to see the acts I loved so much. Working in a record store had its perks and it seemed like I rarely went more than a few days without being on some list to see some band at some club. Time has moved forward quite briskly and it's found me a bit older, broker, and working many late night hours. With a beautiful wife and children at home, my familial responsibilities keep me far from the music clubs anyway. Thankfully, I see just as many live shows now as I did back then. (Oh, how I love the Internet.)

Peter Himmelman's Furious World brings my domestic world a free, live show each and every Tuesday night. Peter doesn't have to come to Nashville and I don't have to leave my living room. I read bedtime stories to my kiddos, kiss their foreheads as I tuck them in, walk down the hall to my laptop and click a link for an hour of Peter Himmelman playing his songs for so many wombats like me. The show is expertly directed by Nice Fish Films and I hear that there's a documentary in the works.

Enjoy the music. I always do.



Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm going to grow vegetables on my apartment porch.

Watching coverage of The White House's Victory Garden yesterday, I'm a bit inspired to do a little planting of my own. I didn't think I could do that since I live in an apartment, but a friend made me hip to container gardening. So now the research begins and hopefully this can be something that will be fun for the kiddos as well.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sandstorm Battle

The youngest Star Wars fan here at Chez Bez is out of town this week, but that doesn't mean that his Star Wars action figures aren't getting any attention.

Ready for Baby Samantha

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spell It However You Like

"Britney Is Back!," sez Sasha Frere-Jones in a review of her Circus show.

An excerpt:
Sometimes, it felt like being at a theme restaurant: videos playing constantly, employees all in colorful costume, everyone hewing to a single concept.

Anywhere I Lay My Head

On the library's hold shelf await four CDs for me:
  • The #1 Baroque album [sound recording]
  • Baroque adagios [sound recording] : [over 2 1/2 hours of sublime music]
  • 808's & heartbreak [sound recording] / Kanye West
  • Anywhere I lay my head [sound recording] / Scarlett Johansson
The first two are for my son and the last two are for me. Despite so many perceived reasons not to, I keep coming back to Kanye. As for Scarlett, this record, which I prematurely dismissed on first listen, won't let me be. I realized my initial criticism was weak when I saw someone comment somewhere that the last thing we need is another Diana Krall-like treatment of Tom Waits songs. And that's no knock on Diana Krall. Her interpretation of "Temptation" is stellar and sexy as hell. But Scarlett keeps it interesting by taking familiar songs and doing something altogether different with them. For better or worse, she doesn't take the easy road.

So tomorrow is good. We're getting our carpets cleaned, I'm picking up some good discs at the library, and we'll be one day closer to that new baby's arrival. (April 14!)

On The Greenway

Before my the day's shift at the hotel, we took the opportunity to get some exercise and quality time on the Shelby Bottoms Greenway. (Google Maps user Mark B. has a nice map of it here.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Money is Both Fast and Mad

On June 16, 2007, I remarked on CNBC's Fast Money program noticing how it was produced just like an NFL pre-game show. All of these "experts" shooting the bull on stocks and telling us what to buy and what to sell, all the while taking good-natured shots at one another for the entertainment of their viewers. Of course it's entertainment. If it's on TV, even a show that's supposedly about advice is really about ratings, right? But folks take it seriously because it's presented as a show to be taken seriously. Same thing for Jim Cramer's Mad Money.

Anyway, Jon Stewart nailed it when in his interview with Cramer, he said, "I understand you want to make finance entertaining. But it's not a fucking game."* Good for him to say that to Cramer and, more specifically to CNBC, but also good for us to hear him say it. No financial advice on matters like these will be guaranteed, but getting it from a television show is likely not best place for it.

*Quote taken from Southern Beale's Dear American Media: Stop Hurting America

Self This, Self That

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


While watching Peter Himmelman's Furious World tonight, I got a new follower on Twitter. It was a girl from Arizona whose last tweet happened to be to Kevin Montgomery. Kevin was Peter's very talented opening act when I saw him in Nashville at the Ace of Clubs way back when. So now I get to catch up on Kevin Montgomery's music.

That's serendipity, right?

On Twitter:

The Princess Contemplates Her Day

Waits, Jones, Weiss

An article about Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones and Chuck E. Weiss contains the following quote: "You can learn a lot about a woman by getting smashed with her." Okay, maybe that's simplifying the process of getting to know someone a bit, but it's still entertaining to read just about anything that Tom Waits has to say.

Anyway, the article is quite good and paints an interesting picture of the threesome as they were making their way in music, love and life in the late seventies.

Photos by the very talented Jenny Lens.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Our Cluttered Bathroom Sink Area

Amidst the standard stuff are two sets of speakers for both of our MP3 players. The groove is in the heart, ya know.


NIN: Wish live with The Dillinger Escape Plan - Perth, 3.02.09 [HD] from Nine Inch Nails on Vimeo.

Is that a Jedi at the door?

Sometimes I look at my Reader and do that Mark All As Read thing. I always read the posts in my "A-list" folder (you Nashville folks and other personal bloggers I like), but the other 200 or so don't always get my attention. I almost marked the rest as read again this afternoon, however, I must have felt a disturbance in the Force and decided to scroll through them anyway. Awesome!

Found by /Film, someone posted pics of their "pet," an AT-AT Walker, and its domestic adventures. Click the pic for the series.

Dora the Tween?

It's that late night time when I listen to jazz, read blogs and Bukowski, sip beers and generally feed my "edgy" side. The employee part of me gets to rest because I'm clocked out. The parent part of me gets to rest because my kids are asleep. But what news story am I drawn to at this nocturnal moment? The one that reports on the new look for the upcoming "tween" Dora. My daughter loves Dora the Explorer and so my interest was piqued. Actually, the part that caught my attention was the mention of many parents who are voicing disapproval of Dora's new look. While the detailed image hasn't yet been released, a silhouette has.

Being edgy and cool, hip and above the lameness of most (you do know I'm being facetious, right?), I clicked onto the story ready to roll my eyes at the disapproving parents. She's traded in her short bob haircut and shorts for longer hair and a skirt. So what? It'll still be a show dedicated to teaching positive learning skills and good behavior. The parents who are signing petitions need to get a life, right? And then I saw the silhouetted image. I disapproved. Not enough to complain or sign a petition, but still. The skirt seems a bit too short, the baby fat a little too gone. I don't know. Maybe I'm just thirty-nine and the father of a four-year-old daughter.

Seriously, I wish the show many more years of great success. It's one of the good ones.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Church and Jeep On Broadway


"I know you from somewhere, don't I?"

My beautiful wife and I went to Darfons today for lunch and had the nicest time together. Of course, while I was listening to Paige talk about Jon Bon Jovi, I noticed someone at another table who looked familiar to me. My social circle isn't what it used to be so my first thought was that she had to be someone I knew from Twitter or somewhere blog related.

I looked her way a couple of times trying to figure out who she was. Once she looked back and we made eye contact. For a normal person this would have been the perfect opportunity to walk over and say something like, "I know you from somewhere, don't I?" But I'm me and I thought about the three scenarios ahead and I didn't like two of them. Good: "Why yes, silly. I'm so-and-so and I was wondering if I recognized you as well. How are you?" Bad: "Um, no. Are you hitting on me? Pig!" Or, "Yes you know me, and I'm offended that you don't remember my name. Jerk!" How's that for a peek into my brain?

Anyway, if you read my blog and thought you saw me at Darfons as well, let me know. I will likely wonder about this for days, or at least until I fall asleep tonight.

Friday, March 06, 2009

You Think You're Covered

From Mental Floss: "Being underinsured can be as disastrous as being uninsured when a health crisis hits. Half of all bankruptcies are due to medical costs, and three-quarters of those are people with health insurance."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Meetings Mean Business

Bill Marriott eloquently addresses the travel industry's economic challenges in his latest post at Marriott On The Move.

From the Meetings Mean Business website:
One in eight Americans works in the travel industry. Meetings Mean Business is a grassroots campaign whose goal is to protect the millions of American jobs that depend on business meetings and events. Right now, events across the country are being canceled because of dangerous political rhetoric and media sensationalism that attempts to embarrass corporate America away from travel at the expense of working Americans. If our government is serious about recovering our economy and creating new jobs, we need a robust travel industry that supports the jobs of millions of hardworking Americans in hotels, restaurants and conference centers all around the country and empowers businesses who rely on travel for meetings, events and performance incentive programs to recover and grow.
As shared from its Twitter feed: MarriottIntl: Fortune mag names Marriott world's most admired hotel company; #1 in every category: HR, soc resp, quality, mgmt, etc.

When we were younger...

It's been almost seven years since this picture was taken. Our Western Caribbean honeymoon cruise took us to the most beautiful places. I think this was from the small and private island of Labadee.

Apparently, I liked this wall.

In the Coffee Shop

I always thought "You Hip When You Tip" was a pretty good poem. Here's one that is even nicer.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

With Heart

Posted by Picasa

Learning About Jersey

My wife and I were talking about how she couldn't make any left turns when visiting New Jersey for Jon Bon Jovi's special fan club only show and I remembered how someone on Twitter told her about jughandles. With a jughandle, the motorist who wants to turn left at the next intersection uses a ramp from the right lane that loops him around onto the desired road.

I remarked that maybe that's what New Jersey's own Jon Bon Jovi was talking about when he named an album of reworked hits This Left Feels Right. Makes sense to me.


Monday, March 02, 2009

"I Can't Wait To Get Off Work (And See My Baby On Montgomery Avenue)"

Most nights, with about an hour or so to go on my shift, I find myself humming this song and thinking of my baby. I sure am glad she found it in her heart to fall for a guy like me.

Curious About Jersey

So my wife goes to New Jersey to see Bon Jovi and comes home complaining about dilapidated buildings and roads where you can't turn left. It kind of bummed me out because I was hoping to hear her tales of how TV and movies only show the tough streets and ruins while there is so much beauty that remains known only to the locals and wide-eyed tourists. Alas, I may need to go there myself one day to find such treasures.

I had a friend who was from there and I'm pretty sure she told me how beautiful the Jersey Shore was. Until I can make it up there myself, I'll just have to dig around online and see what I can find. Google Street View, Flickr, and any commenters are welcome to show me the beauty of the Garden State. Rich?

Work Is A Blessing

Work Is A Blessing, from NPR's This I Believe

(excerpted below, click above for full text and audio)

In the kitchen one Saturday before daylight, I remember complaining to my father and grandfather about having to go milk those cows. My father said, “Ya know, boy, to work is a blessing.”

I looked at those two men who’d worked harder than I ever had—my father eking out a living on that farm, and my grandfather, farming and working as a carpenter during the Depression. I had a feeling I had been told something really important, but it took many years before it sunk in.

Going to college was a rare privilege for a kid from Lakeland, Louisiana. My father told me if I picked something to study that I liked doing, I’d always look forward to my work. But he also added, “Even having a job you hate is better than not having a job at all.”

One Nashville Place