Wednesday, August 31, 2005

All I need is the air that I breathe to love you..

Unless I can't breathe thanks to
proposed 'clean air' regulations proposed by W. and

Cue James Brown - 'Living in America' (Salemtown - the REAL America)

Today in the City Paper, reporter William Williams discusses the 'Garfield Place' project. I didn't realize that we denizens of Salemtown live in the 'REAL' America, while the gentry of Germantown apparently reside and frolic in some faux America.

I'm not sure that 'we' are being complimented here because Williams vision of real America apparently contains small asbestos-siding homes built for the working class, along with 'run-down, outdated and/or ugly' housing.

I guess that we in Salemtown should be thrilled to be rescued from squalor by the construction of the Garfield Place property. If only the Mellons (Garfield Place developers) could come up with some type of spray that would ameliorate the odors regularly emanating from the nearby Metro Waste Water facility. Then we could all rejoice.

The coda to Mr. Williams piece is that the Mellons have been contacted by many property owners hoping to SELL their property presumably wishing to cash in on the coming grandeur of Garfield Place. Gee, I wonder if Terry R. from our fiends, friends at Crye-Lieke could be behind any of this? What is left UNSAID is how many people are crying out for purchase in Garfield Place..

In Mr. Williams favor, at least he knows there IS a Salemtown and that we are NOT backyard burghers of Germantown. I'll give him points for that.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hurricane Porn

Hurricane Porn is a term, new to me, that is popping up in blogs around the country. Most of us are concerned about what has happened and is still happening on the Gulf Coast. Some of us will actually DO something about this. Along with compassion there is also a voyeuristic side endlessly fascinated with disaster, flying debris, and people clambering to their rooftops waiting for rescue.

Beyond the 'trainwreck attraction' common to most of us are three levels of Hurricane Porn exhibited in the coverage and aftermath of Katrina.

1) Idiot weather/newscasters standing out in gale-like windstorms macho/machette like telling us that it is 'REALLY WINDY OUT HERE'. The high-point of these shots is when roofing material flies by to show us how bad it really really is. Any moron knows that hurricanes really BLOW. The story is the effect of the hurricane on the PEOPLE who live in the stricken area - not in some parking lot rimmed with nearly prostrate palm trees.

2) Blanket statements that 'all looters should be shot'. Yeah, there are a lot of opportunistic people out there. This is not the time (nor is there any time) to be five-finger-discounting TV sets or stereo components. This is called stealing. On the other hand, if your food supply is destroyed and you don't have clean water to drink, maybe taking bottled water and foodstuff is a little more understandable and justifiable. Nuance is often missing in porn.

3) Price gougers (who deserve their own circle in hell) actually may deserve to be shot. Seriously, anyone who would triple the price for any items (plywood, water, gas) in scant supply before or after a hurricane is despicable. There are many heroic people heading down to the coast to help, feed, and rescue the victims of Katrina. My wish is that price gougers would be jailed and forced to watch videos of the compassionate acts of people who don't have to do anything at all but choose to come to the aid of their fellow man.

God bless the survivors and people coming to their aid.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Music for a rainy Sunday afternoon

You've read the paper and you can't take anymore bushbast. You know you SHOULD go out and do something approximating exercise, but, oh DARN, it's raining.

If there were such a thing as musical intelligient design there would be certain songs, certain artists and certain sounds that were created for a rainy Sunday afternoon. My current favorite is a Annie Lennox sounding song by 46Bliss (In a Long Time).

I don't want to be mellowed into mush and I don't want AC/DC pounding my cerebellum (what little bellum is left). I do want to drift and not have to think too much.

5 other bands/songs that fit the bill:

5. Zero7 - Particularly the Simple Life CD

4. Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska (accoustic, somewhat dark and wonderfully haunting)

3. Josh Rouse - Nebraska (what is it about that state?)

2. Patty Griffin - 1,000 Kisses

1. The high-priestess of rainy Sunday afternoons (and actually any day that contains the letter 'Y) is Billie Holiday. If you don't own any B. Holiday, rain is no excuse. Go to Grimey's or Tower, NOW.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

But, I don't wanna drive the pink car....

Rumor has it that Quentin Tarentino is in Bristol to watch tonight's Bristol Sharpie 500 race. Apparently he was 'adrenalized' by a ride-along with a real NASCAR driver for a few 180 mph laps recently at the 1/2 mile track known for wall-banging and paint transfers.

Any chance in the nea
r future we'll see 'Bristol Dogs', starring Harvey Keitel as the late Dale Earnhardt and Steve Buscemi as the 'Rainbow Warrior'??

It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry..

Actually if you get on THIS train, you'll be dancing - King Elio Boom's infectious call to disorder and train jumping...I love the guitar.

After yesterday morning, we needed a laugh. A highly recommended path to laughter: The 40 Year Old Virgin. Too damn funny.

Post-movie (yeah, we love those 'cheap' matinees) we went Back to Cuba, which is well worth leaving 440 Loopville to eat some of the best plantains and pot roast and coffee (etc.) you'll find in Nashville. Prices fit in with the aformentioned cheapness..

Day Beginning: D-, Day Ending: A+

Friday, August 26, 2005

Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged the phone across my head..

When the phone rings at 5:00 AM there are only two possibilities:

Wrong Number. When we moved to Salemtown one year ago, we were given a phone number that had been assigned to Warner-Chappel Music Publishing Company, particularly to the section that dealt with song-pluggers. Warner-Chappel (WC) hasn’t used the number for over two years. Despite the two-year lapse, hopeful songwriter/singers from all over the world in ALL time zones (including the weird ½ hour off time zone in Newfoundland) are used to calling the number formerly known as the WC. We get 10-20 calls a day (and night) for WC and even include the fact that this IS NOT Warner-Chappel on our answering machine. So, a 5:00 phone call could reasonably be assumed to be a wrong number.
Bad news.

Today’s call fell into category

I know that many people have had/are having a bad/odd/bizarre summer, so I don’t want anyone to think we’ve had it worse than anyone else, but as the announcer queues today’s theme song (that song by Travis concerning rain), let me recap our summer.

1) Daughter totals our car. Technically, daughter’s boyfriend totaled the car, but since it was HER responsibility and she wasn’t supposed to let him drive (he was visiting from out of the country and does NOT have a license), I’m holding HER responsible.
2) Daughter’s boyfriend is banged up in aforementioned car wreck and is taken to Floyd County Hospital in Rome, Georgia (where my daughter lives). He has bruises and lacerations. He is cleaned and bandaged, but not given any antibiotic. The laceration in his scalp is cleaned and stapled.
3) Four days later when his arm is literally hot with infection he is taken to Southern Hills hospital, where he is treated with antibiotics. Southern Hills personnel are amazed and aghast that he was given no antibiotics at Floyd County.
4) Boyfriend returns to Floyd County for staple removal. He does not speak much English. The HIPAA privacy form was not translated for him, and he refused to sign it until he has the form translated. Hospital personnel refuse. Much like in the movie ‘Crash’, the situation escalates and he is asked to leave. Moments after leaving, he is arrested and beaten for allegedly assaulting my daughter (a RIDICULOUS charge, subsequently dropped). He is shanghaied to Floyd County Jail. The policemen on the scene refuse to tell my daughter where he is being taken. Remember that he has little English and none of the policemen involved speak Spanish.
5) 5:00 AM phone call the subsequent morning. Not a wrong number, but my daughter telling us that her boyfriend is in jail and we need to come down and bail him out. We do just that and have to wait 7 hours while the jail is handling the paperwork.
6) The following week I am on vacation in Texas where I nearly pass out. After several trips to the hospital, it is discovered that I have an intermittently bleeding ulcerated portion of my stomach. I get ‘opened up’ and I leave Texas 10 days later with less stomach than when I arrived.
7) My wife, a Metro teacher, loses her summer job when she comes down to Texas to minister to me.
8) Soon after coming home, my daughter calls to tell me that she is in the hospital with a high-grade infection. Eventually, and one hospital visit later she has to have an operation to repair some of the ‘wiring’ feeding a kidney.

I was thinking that the dark cloud that had pervaded our personal weather was finally moving on. My daughter is healing and back in school, charges against her boyfriend were dropped except for a minor misdemeanor, I’m back at work and my wife is back teaching art.

Cue laughter and today’s 5:00 AM phone call. A certain close relative of ours had partied a bit hard down in the Boro celebrating the beginning of the new MTSU school year and was somehow tangentially involved with what turned into a barroom brawl. From the lovely Rutherford County Detention Center he spoke the words ‘Could we please come down and post bail?’. One of the two adult members in our family suggested that we might just leave him there for a while, but the court date isn’t until October and MTSU starts on Monday. So, we sleepily trundled down to the Boro. AAAA Bail Bonds is right across the street from the detention center. The friendly efficient proprietor, Melissa, knows how to handle parents whose stress level equals a potential house/lot purchaser in Salemtown who sees the Crye-Leike price tag for said item. She had us all on our way a scant 30 minutes after arrival.

Even though summer isn’t over until late September, I’m hoping that Labor Day portends the end of this hovering dark cloud. I know that I should pray that the dark cloud dissipates, but I’ve got a few candidates to whom I wish that our dark cloud-dom cup would pass. If you’ve read this far, you can probably guess who THEY are…

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Some of the news from 5th and Garfield

Some workers are putting up a sign on the empty lot that used to hold the ugly yellow market (as opposed to the ugly light blue market up the street which at least serves incredibly good cheeseburgers). I talked to one of the men a few minutes ago and he stated they were going to put up townhouses on the site. The previous word on the street was that it was going to be combo office/residential, but Bill Eason (developer who knows what is going on) told me that everytime he talked to the developers, he got a different answer regarding what is going to be built on 5th and Garfield.

I guess we'll see, but I hope they aren't going to propose $300,000+ townhouses or the empty lot will remain as undeveloped as Pat Robertson's brain.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Another Salemtown gated offering from Terry R & Crye-Leike

This 4th Avenue gem can be yours for $67,000 (decent amount of money for what is really pretty much going to be a lot).

Too good to pass up

From AP wire photographer Douglas C. Pizac - A veteran attending Bush's speech on Tuesday in Idaho.

More fun with 1618

After having so much fun with 1618 6th Avenue North both here, Enclave and Moocow's, I thought we should take a look at the actual lot showcased by Crye-Lieke's interesting semi-fictional webpage.

I apologize for the poor quality of the picture (taken using my phone, lol), but I'm thinking the quality of the picture pretty much goes along with the quality of the lot, especially since the house that Crye-Lieke is proposing will be built on 1/2 of this lot.

The sylvan forest pictured in one of the promo shots in reality is my back fence and a few scrubby trees. I'm still wondering about how this property is going to be gated. Will the new gate be covered with concertina wire? Considering the misrepresentation going on in the above linked ad, the gate may be nothing more than a garden variety wooden gate.

I'll ask the question again that I've asked in an earlier post: Has Crye-Lieke actually sold anything in Salemtown other than a few hopes and pipe dreams to some wishful-thinking homeowners?

All the news that's waste to print

Somehow, I missed the section of this morning's Tennessean that carried the article about last night's Metro Water's meeting about the plans to reconstruct the waste treatment plant and contain the nefarious odor that plagues the Salemtown and Germantown and I'm sure other North Nashville neighborhoods. Channel 2 covered the event, but I don't think there was any other media present (give or take a blogger or two).

Considering the magnitude of the project ($130,000,000) and the fact that the Tennessean promoted the meeting in last week's North Nashville section, I was surprised by the lack of coverage.

On another wasteful note, today's Tennessean DOES have an article on the resignation of Chace 'Stomper' Anderson the head of the Solid Waste Program divsion of Nashville's Public Works. Under Anderson's helm 8,000 requests from home owners for extra trash cans have been on hold for more than three months.

Perhaps Liz Garrigan (editor of the Nashville Scene) will mourn the loss of Anderson from the local scene. I suspect few others will join her.

Addendum: 5:00 PM on 8/24/05: City Paper must have had a reporter had the 'water show' last night because they carried a front page article today on the meeting. Reporter Craig Boerner was a little more excited about the prospects of the Water Treatment plant being able to sell the pellet by-product produced by the new biosolid process than most of the S-town and G-town residents.

Second addendum: As usual, Enclave really covered the waterfront on last night's meeting in today's post. Kudos to Michael on a good thorough write-up.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sludge happens..

One summer many years ago I worked with the Knoxville Water Service in their waste treatment plant. Among other discoveries, I found out that there really is a s**thook (you don't wanna know!).

If you worked inside in the air conditioned offices where the suits labored, the product processed was known as 'sludge'. If you worked outside or in the 'mixer/processer' buildings, it wasn't called sludge...but that's for another night.

Tonight, I attended (with a goodly number of other Salemtown neighbors) the Metro Water's presentation outlining their plans for odor abatement and plant reconstruction. The plans for the reconfiguration of how sludge is handled were impressive. The new buildings proposed were servicable and not esthetically dreadful, but they do have the unmistakable aura of government institutional blandness.

The good news is that Metro is sinking a lot of money to mollify and contain the effluviant odors so pervasive in our part of the world. The bad news is that we have to wait until 2008 before the major portion of the odor abatement project is going to be in place.

I'm hoping that the Presidential candidates in the year of diminished smell don't have the same olfactory qualities as current summer nights in Salemtown....prepare to hold your breath for a while folks.

In the words of Yosemite Sam...WHATTA MAROON

Which one of the following statements did Pat Robertson not make?
1) The attacks on 9/11 were the fault of gays and feminsts.
2) the threat to the United States from activist judges was "probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings"
3) Re President Chavez of Venuzuela: "I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it (assassinate him). It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop."
4) Feminism is "A socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians"
5) I'm a dithering idiot who shouldn't be listened to anymore and in fact, it's amazing that any major media outlet pays any attention to any of the inane things that proceed from my lips.

*5 - that was pretty tough, eh?

Why does anybody give this man the time of day anymore? Who are the 'maroons' who take this guy seriously?

Crye-Lieke a baby...

If you MISS this opportunity at 1715 5th Avenue North. The patina and aroma of burnt oak pervades each nook of this cottage not entirely without charm. Who among you wouldn't fork over a tidy sum to live in Lieke-ville? We'll even build a fence and a gate to keep the riff-raff out (or in) depending on your preference..

Does anybody know what's the deal with this apparently abandoned house? It has had a building permit posted in the door for many months but I've never seen any visible sign of anybody doing anything at this address. The owners appear to be the family of Parker Brooks who live on Boscopal Street.

I'm sure our neighbors in the 1700 block would like for either the apparent fledgling incineration to complete or for someone to pump out the jams.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I'd be a lot more scared if Rush was under my bed...

except he might leave behind a few Oxy pills...

This recently published children's book Liberals under the bed is not a joke.

Doesn't anybody on the right understand the term 'civil discourse'? No remorse about demonizing people who are not like 'we are'?

I realize there are many sensible rational conservatives out there, but hey, do you thoughtful conservatives realize your movement is being taking over by idealogues who think true morality rests in creating graven images of the 10 Commandments and foisting them on government property?

You want a real MORAL issue?

Do you realize that the good old USA has only the 19th best infant mortality rate in the world (way below Cuba's rate for God's sake)? We spent nearly $4,000 per person per year in health care costs (double the rate of the highest spending western european country) and we can't do any better than 19th??

I think liberals, libertarians, conservatives, socialists and zoroasterins all should be concerned about that statistic and maybe not worry so much about bogeymen under our beds.

Who WAS on first?

I've been thinking about the NCAA's recent decision to ban mascots from tournaments of any university that uses a name referring to 'nativeamericans/indians/amerindians/indiginous americans' (NIAIA). Also the NCAA will not allow the nickname of the school to be displayed on air during tournaments if the name refers to any aspect of NIAIA culture.

In the spirit of the 'let's not think, let's just act' tradition of 'zero tolerance' and '3 strikes you're out', the decision tramples nuance and is probably offensive to some of the very folks being 'protected'.

For example, the Florida State Seminoles are honoring a tribe long associated with the state of the hanging chad and orange juice. Not only does a representive of the Seminole tribe dress in full regalia for every home football game, but the nickname has the approval of the Seminole tribal council. Likewise, Atlanta's baseball team, the Braves, honors the spirit of the NIAIA with a word that can hardly be denigrated.

On the other hand, the name of Washington's pro football team (Redskins) is offensive on as many levels as the new Veridian tower. Considering that redskin is as odious as describing jews as 'Hebes' and Italians as 'wops', why anyone thinks this a worthy nickname is as mysterious as the popularity of Ashlee Simpson.

The Cleveland Indian's mascot, Chief Wahoo, deserves to be buried in the crypt that contains Little Black Sambo, blackface minstrels and George Bush's plan to rewire social security.

This leads us to another problem: What are we really supposed to call our NIAIA brothers and sisters? A name based on the confusion of Columbus thinking he had landed in India hardly seems kosher, er, fair. The term 'Native American' technically applies to anyone born in the 'Americas', while 'Amerind' seems to perpetuate the celebration of the geo-error of Columbus. Indigenous American just sounds goofy and ain't gonna catch on.

So, what are we left with? Several years ago, we visited the Taos Pueblo (pictured above) in New Mexico. Taos Pueblo is the oldest continuously lived-in settlement in American. Pueblos have lived their for more than 1000 years (including approximately 100 who live full-time currently despite the lack of running water and electricity).

I went into this one guy's store where he was making and selling 'fried bread' (delicious with a little honey). I was the only customer and we managed to engage in a good convo. Eventually, I summoned my courage (oh how BrAve!) and asked him, 'uh, what name do you guys really like to call yourselves?' He laughed and said (without reservation), 'actually, we call ourselves Indians, and you will get the same answer from any other Indian you ask'. He said that once kids started playing 'cowboys and indians', it was pretty much all over re the name game.

I couldn't really argue with that, but I still hold that my native state (Indiana) has the lamest state name of all fifty states. Naming yourself after a geographical misunderstanding ('Indiana - the state that honors the place where Columbus thought he landed') is just wrong. To further compound the inanity, the capital city 'Indianapolis', literally the 'Indian City' could just as easily be called the city based on the stupid name of the worst named state in the union.

Of course, I am a native Hoosier - who's yer daddy???

A cool mapping site (even though Salemtown not included yet)

Other than obvious physiological and emotional differences, I think I know two key differences between men and women: 1) admiration of the 3 Stooges 2) Fascination with maps. Yes, I know these are huge generalizations, but over the years I've found them to be pretty accurate.

When Google came out with their satellite 'Earth' software, I jumped on it like a right-winger on an anti-Cindy Sheehan tirade. The idea of being able to see my sister's rooftop in St. Louis (along with the arch) proved to be irresistable. You can be viewing Forest Park Zoo and then you can enter another address and the satellite shot zooms across town, country or continent from about 200 miles up and then it very coolly zooms down to your next destination. Not every city has been mapped to rooftop level (you can't see Nashville in detail yet), but there is a lot to peruse..

Just when I was settling into 'Earth', along comes the really really cool A9 site where you get STREET LEVEL pics of 20 cities (including for some weird reason, Fargo, ND where oddly enough, there seems to be perpetual snow). You can start at one end of 5th Avenue in NYC and literally see every building the entire length of the street (including Central Park).

They don't have Brooklyn yet, so I can't see our old house in Flatbush, but it's just a matter of time. Mostly I'm looking forward to A9 covering Nashville so that I can see what Norman's Market looks like from the sky.

By the way, the A9 generated picture above is the Watergate Apartment House, a particular favorite of mine...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Listen up!

Even though I can no longer listen to internet radio at work (that pesky bandwidth problem), I still am a regular devotee (at home) of the best internet radio station I've ever encountered
Radio Paradise.

Listed below is a playlist for a recent segment..not that playlists are such exciting reading, but I've never heard an over-the-air or internet station that 'spins' the diversity exemplified by the list below. By the way, what word replaces 'spins' for what disk jockeys do these days?. I doubt many of these folks are actually spinning vinyl. The jocks at Radio Paradise broadcast MP3s..Is this digi-casting??

4:11 pm - Groove Armada - Think Twice
4:07 pm - Damien Rice - Delicate
4:00 pm - Soul Coughing - The Incumbent
3:54 pm - Pink Martini - No Hay Problema
3:50 pm - Deborah Harry - Calmarie
3:45 pm - Björk - Come To Me
3:40 pm - Matt Pond PA - Closest (Look Out)
3:35 pm - Sonic Youth - New Hampshire
3:31 pm - Snow Patrol - Somewhere a Clock is Ticking
3:25 pm - Roger Waters - What God Wants (part 1)
3:20 pm - Dandy Warhols - Godless
3:15 pm - DJ Shadow - Mongrel Meets His Maker
3:13 pm - Eels - Blinking Lights
3:08 pm - Hem - Leave Me Here
3:03 pm - Emmylou Harris - Wrecking Ball
3:00 pm - Big Head Todd & The Monsters - Riviera
2:55 pm - Smashing Pumpkins - Drown
2:49 pm - The Who - Love, Reign O'er Me
2:43 pm - Peter Gabriel - Sky Blue
2:39 pm - Kula Shaker - Tattva
2:34 pm - Béla Fleck - Magic Fingers
2:29 pm - Grand National - Talk Amongst Yourselves
2:25 pm - Porcupine Tree - Stranger By The Minute
2:19 pm - Yo La Tengo - Autumn Sweater
2:17 pm - Blood Oranges - Bridges
2:12 pm - Malcolm Holcombe - Goin' Home

I enjoy Lightning 100 here in town, but even they don't go this 'deep'....

The waiting Game

When it comes to the battle between the forces of good and evil my two favorite recent fictional sagas are Joan of Arcadia and the Harry Potter series.

Alas, even Joan's powers were insufficient to overcome the banality of the Neilson ratings, and her show was cancelled just when she was about to finally confront the evil one. In the last two shows (ever), when she was around the dude that personified the devil, the background music would segue into the introduction of 'Sympathy for the Devil' - the Rolling Stones oft-misunderstood classic. Maybe it wasn't exactly subtle, but as a big Stones fan, I enjoyed the reference.

Sadly, as I stated earlier, we'll never know. The fate of the world apparently means less to CBS than it does to some of us out here in the hinterlands.

Meanwhile, my favorite read this summer has been the latest Harry Potter epic. This one, the penultimate offering in the series, finally lets us know officially what we have suspected all along: There's gonna be a 'high-noon, big-ass, portentious-all-time' showdown with Lord V, which of course will come in the next and final installment of the series which means we have to wait another freaking year before we find out how all this turns out. Given the sales figures for the series, cancellation of the final 'episode' seems rather unlikely.

The Potter series is just so readable. That sounds stupid, but even for non-fantasy fans such as myself, the characters have evolved into such interesting and believable teenagers. The latter two books have been a bit darker, considering that Ms. Rowling is knocking some major characters into the arms of permanent Morpheus, but I enjoyed the Half-Blood Prince as much as any of her other books and probably more than any other book I've read this year.

Go get em, Harry...R.I.P Joan of Arcadia...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Stings and arrows of a coffeehouse-less neighborhood

According to this site Death by Caffeine, not only will caffeine kill ya, but you can calculate how quickly caffeine will spin you off this mortal coil. But, as W.C. Fields said about a man who drowned in a vat of whiskey, 'oh death, where is thy sting?'.

I've lived in Salemtown for one solid year, and I've wished for a neighborhood coffee joint for approximately one year. Yeah, I know that there is supposed to be a space reserved in Morgan Park Place for a coffee shop and I saw the discussion in Enclave about the 'evil' Starbucks , but at this point, I'd give up my vintage vinyl mono Rolling Stones records for a neighborhood java-joint where 'tall' meant small and baristas brew up potable potions of latte.

I'd much rather neighbor up to Portland Brew or Bongo Java or Kijiji as in think globally purchase coffee locally, but as stated earlier I'm not gonna be picky if someone wanted to venti, vidi, venci in the greater Salemtown/Germantown area.

In fact, I'll repeat my offer that I made to this guy I met who claimed he was thinking of opening a coffeehouse on 6th (in G-town), to wit, I'll work for free for the first month on Saturdays, if you'll PLEASE, PLEASE, hurry it up and open something UP...

Friday, August 19, 2005

Yep, Senator Frist is running for Pres...

According to MSNBC, Frist is touting that 'Intelligent Design' be taught to school children as an antidote (my wording) to evolution. Personally, I think if there was intelligent design, there wouldn't be a designated hitter in baseball and McDonalds would only serve coffee and french fries.

I believe in God and I certainly think He/She was smart enough to come up with evolution, but belief in God is not science. Belief is faith. Science can co-exist with religion, but science is about hypothesis, thesis and antithesis and evolving truth. Organized religion has always had trouble with scientific theory when it got in the way of perceived truth: Galileo, Watson & Crick and Copernicus come to mind.

You can't test intelligent design. If you can't test it, it ain't science.

The best response to this intelligent design stuff is in the current edition of The Onion. Check it out!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Elvis still dead, marriage goes on

Back in 1977 on August 14th, Lynn and I tied the proverbial knot. We had a short honeymoon (we were soooooooooooooo broke) that ended two days later when Elvis died. The death of the King didn't really curtail our honeymoon so much as the lack of honeymoon financial endowment, but it did put a strange coda on an otherwise blissful connubilation.

On a silver lining note, I don't have any trouble remembering my anniversary.

This past Sunday (14th) I got to drink two bottles of magnesium citrate. If you don't know what that is...look it up. For most of my anniversaries I really try to 'clean up'. For this one, I cleaned out....Probably won't forget this one either...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

How about starting in Salemtown?

Google taking over the world??

If this worries you, you might want to check out the previous post...

Tired of those mind-control rays infiltrating your brain?

Your troubles are over!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Forget the Anglo-Saxons..we've got Normans

Norman's Market that all its powderblue-graffitied glory.

I used to live in Brooklyn in the hood and I'm not kidding about the hood. Anytime when the weather was near decent there would be loads of people hanging on the corner, some up to no good but most just chilling, chatting, domino'n and being seen. If you are from a smaller town and not the hood, it is a bit scary at first to see lots of African-Americans hanging out on the streets who don't appear to be doing anything 'normal' like going to work or heading anywhere. I can't speak for all white people (doh!), but I know a lot of peeps who lock the car doors and scurry on through when they encounter such a thing. After a while, I realized that the hanging out was mostly about community and just didn't fit the template from my middle-class-sidewalkless-let'sstayindoors-world in which I grew up.

When I first saw the crowd hanging out at Norman's here in Salemtown I was thinking....hmm, this is going to make a lot of people nervous and sure enough, there have been plenty of complaints. I think some of the complaints are just seeing what some of us are not used to seeing in places we've lived before, but in fairness, after talking to some folks who live right up close to Norman's, I can understand the lack of enthusiasm about SOME of the Norm-crew. It's hard to find public urination praise-worthy or much to brag about the trash buildup after a summer weekend. Excessive public alcohol consumption isn't really my cup of tea whether it's part of the Uptown Mix or Norman's Midnite Madness.

Like many other things in the world of gray, Norman's is a mixed blessing. Bobby's short-order work on the grill in Normans is magical. Cheeseburgers with grilled onions made Bobby-style are as good as anything at Brown's Diner. On the other hand, they do have their beer license back after a brief interlude when Norman's was either leased or sold to some of the guys who work there (I get mixed stories about the purchase..I think the business was sold but Norman still owns the building, but not sure).

On the positive note, beer can no longer be consumed on-site (which was the case with their former license because they had a little room with tables that pretended to be a restaurant).

As long as Bobby mans the grill, I'll be a patron. The daytime crowd at Norman's corner doesn't bother me, as long as they let me consume my cheeseburger in peace...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Listen up!

For a good time, listen to Amadou & Mariam, a blind couple from western Africa who I guarantee will make you dance (or if you are like me, move somewhat rhythmically to the beat without veering into the art form known as dance). In fact, I'll guarantee that if you listen to at least two songs by A & M you will be moving in your chair or up hopping around. They are undoubtedly dance infectious.

Great guitar with marimbas thrown in with some percussive bounce bounce bounce.

Current release: "Dimance A Bamako"

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

"You don't have to look, you don't have to see..

You can feel it in your olfactories" (line from Loudon Wainwright's song Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road). It's high summer in Salemtown and our friends at Metro Water are sharing their 'Eau de Salemtown' (or as Tennessean writer Nancy Deville might call it - 'Eau de Germantown Area) with the greater Salemtown area.

I can't imagine a developer hoping to peddle 350,000$ townhouses in the heart of Salemtown wanting this malodorous fog to descend upon potential buyers as they peruse the potential living quarters conveniently located close to Norman's Market back door.

Last night the odorage was so pervasive, I was getting nostalgic about the old Nashville smog of my youth. Salemtown old-timers were saying that it used to be worse, but I can't imagine what the smell would be like if I could actually breathe (sometimes allergies do have their advantages...).

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

I sing the voice mail Electric - lost in the ohm-zone

The lights started to flicker around 9:30. The central air was switching faster than Senator Frist in a stem cell debate. I was thinking that maybe the wiring in the new house had the 'haints', but I looked outside and saw the streetlight shimmering like sister Kate. I called NES and after a few rings descended into the 4th circle of hell - voice mail lotto. I punched the option that would allow me to report a problem. They asked me to enter my full 10 digit phone number. I did. The response: You live at 20. If you do not live at 20, please enter your 10 digit number again. Considering I'm not even sure where 20 is, and that my address is not 20 and I live on 5th Avenue, I re-entered my phone number thinking that I had fat-fingered my number the first time...nope, I still lived at 20 according to that automated non-response response.

So I hung up and dialed again. I tried a different tack which was to take the option reporting a transformer fire. This was technically somewhat of a misleading tack, because I didn't really see any flames, but I had seen a few sparks. This time I was taken to an response that told me that NES was not open for business and that business hours were blah blah blah. I tried one more time and got to an option where I could leave a message. By this time my lights were entirely out and I was pretty teed off because I couldn't find the matches and therefore couldn't see into the closet where the flashlights had carefully been hidden...sheesh.

I did leave a message. 3 hours later, an NES truck rumbled down the street and unfurled a ladder reaching to the transformer in question. Lights were back on in about 30 minutes.

I found out later my neighbor also left a message and that NES called her at 4:00 AM to let her know that the electricity was back on.

I was grateful that the electricity was restored, but I gotta wonder how screwed up the NES phone system has to be and why can't there be a human to talk to, even at night. I'm guessing that NES could afford to pay a few peeps to answer the phones considering that the hourly wages in Delhi are still not all that high....

I know 1618 6th Avenue North, and this is no 1618 6th Avenue North

According to an MLS website, the house in the picture will be built on 'this' lot on 6th Avenue North. I spent a lot of time walking my dog Sparky in the neighborhood and I've yet to see a yard/pasture that looks quite like this in the neighborhood. Will anyone be fooled by this?

I'm wondering if the ads for this house will claim Germantown as its location (as do the ads for the big green barn house on 7th)..

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Nuts and Boltons...

I'm working on the theory that the Bolton 'recess' appointment is actually encouraging. I don't mean it's encouraging in the sense that it is a rational non-divisive 'we are the world' kind of thing, but there are two points that need to be made: 1) Conservative presidents do this kind of thing - Nixon appointed William F. Buckley and Reagan gave us Jeanne Kirkpatrick and the U.N. somehow survived. More importantly, 2) Bush had to resort to the only way he could get this guy in the job. This is not the move of a man who feels confident.

The transparent ploy of rushing John Roberts to the front in the attempt to move Karl Rove from the headlines didn't work. The American public may see the need to continue sending sons and daughters to Iraq, but they now smell the rat in the RATionale and despite the fact that many of those very sons and daughters are doing wonderful things in some parts of Iraq, they are beginning to see that planting a garden in the back yard really doesn't mean a lot when the house is burning down.

So, why is all this Bolton bolt-on encouraging? The people who support Bush think it's a wonderful move, the people who dislike Bush think it is a crazy move, and somehow I'm thinking that the mechanics of the move portend that maybe a few more people are moving into the second group.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Donnie Baseball

Before his back went out, this man's (Don Mattingly) swing was the prototype. Currently the hitting coach for the Yankee and former Nashville Sound, Donnie baseball is the epitome of grace and class in the world of baisbol (the only sport that really matters).

I'm posting this because I love this game and love the way this man played the game, as opposed to the artificial way that the McGwires, Bonds, and Sosa's have plied their trade. I'm posting this becuase I am saddened today to hear that Raffy Palmiero has been suspended for some type of drug usage.

Mattingly's career doesn't merit literal Hall of Fame entry. His healthy years just don't provide enough HOF fodder, but if class could get you in the joint, Donnie Baseball would be Saint Peter of Cooperstown.

Proust in Salemtown

I live in (and love), the Salemtown neighborhood in north Nashville. Other than distilling the essence of truth from baseball box scores, there are few things that give me more pleasure than walking around my neighborhood. I've lived here since last August and have learned that for a true community to exist two things are necessary: sidewalks and front porches. Diatribes against the sterility of suburbia are cliched and tired, but why people want to live in a world without front porch sitting and sidewalk conversations is unimaginable to me. I come from a part of town that lacks sidewalks and lacked the cachet of front porch social gatherings. I didn't know what I was missing....

Down the street from me is an old brick house with a large side yard. Walking past that yard reminds me of whiffle ball games and touch football games with my kids (many years ago...sigh). Whiffle ball was a part of my youth as well.

Everytime I walk the neighborhood, I see something new that sparks not only memories, but possiblities of days to come.

I'm grateful to be here.

About me

  • I'm John H
  • From Salemtown, Tennessee, United States
  • Cruising past 50, my wife and I have reared three kids and several dogs. I work for state government and daily conspire to deflate bureacracy.
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