Saturday, January 20, 2007

In the immortal words of Hank Snow...I'm Movin' On - Pressing over to Wordpress

It's been a fun run with the blogger folks, but I've pretty much had all I can take here, so I'm moving the show to Wordpress:

The new addy: Http://

My new feed is : Http://

I'd appreciate it muchly if you'd change your linkage.
Thanks. So long blogger, and thanks for all the fish.

I should add here that the move wouldn't have gone as well, smoothly and as quickly without my Memphis buddy, Lynnster. She is a Wordpress pro, and did a lot of the work for me, and did very well considering I was on the phone a lot of the time cursing when I couldn't get anything I was doing to work. Lynn's patience endured and I think we made it. You're getting stars in that crown for this one, along with the Mothership's finest.

Vanderbilt 72, No. 25 Kentucky 67

Just wanted to make sure nobody, expecially Blue-Mist types, missed THAT score. WhoooooWeeeee.

That would make FOUR ranked teams the 'Dores have beaten this year.

Will you take this woman to be your wife for the next 2 minutes and 12 seconds, or, Now I understand what we are fighting for...

Temporary marriages are BACK in Iraq. What's the Arabic word for 'ho?

Shocking, simply shocking.....what?...there's gambling in Casablanca?

Hillary's in the running, as if anyone thought otherwise. Ladies and Gentlemen, be prepared to see pretzeling the likes never seen before. If you don't know me, or my blog, I'm a Democrat, and I generally support Democratic candidates, but not this one. It's my firm belief that Hillary would give a lap dance to Monica Lewinsky or the corpse of Strom Thurmond if she thought it would help her win. Sorry fellow liberals, I just don't trust her.

A fast food tale in which the narrator SHOULD have called corporate, or, everyone knows it's wendys...

It was lunchtime about three years ago in the greater Green Hills area. In fact it was about eight stomach growls past the time to eat, and for some reason I had a hankering (el anhelar if you are reading this in Peru) for a Wendys Spicy Chicken sandwich. Usually when a fast food chain advertises spicy, the resulting sandwich wouldn't make a baby blanch, but in this case, the Wendy's folks come though. It doesn't hold a candle-watt to Prince's chicken, but then again, on that day I didn't want the coating on my tongue to peel and my intestines to gavotte their own version of the Seven Veils hoping that my head would come off.

So, I head to Wendy's for my overdue lunch. I stand in line patiently...well, patiently for me. I didn't say what I wanted to say to the 4 folks in front of me who apparently were recent recipients of the type of lobotomy that disables the portion of the brain that makes decisions. I could wait. The spicy chicken was ahead.

Finally, I make it to the counter. I place my order in a semi-weak voice to reinforce the impression that I had not eaten in three days and couldn't wait one minute longer for my succor in the form of a spicy chicken sandwich. Naturally, the counterworker told me to move over into the holding area because 'the cook is just about ready to cook some chicken'. I sidled obediently into the waiting pen along with three other people who ordered some type of chicken sandwich.

About five minutes later, the counterperson waved over my three companions who had wuss-ily ordered the non-spicy version of the sandwich which was beginning to take on the proportions of Orwell's Rosebud.

I waited about a minute longer, and when I could wait NO MO, I sauntered to the counter and saucily asked..'hey, how about my sandwich'? The counterperson went back to talk to the cook and came back smiling. 'She said that she didn't feel like cooking a spicy chicken'. I was sure she was having me on, pissing up my leg as they say in bloody England. I asked again..'now really, when is my sandwich going to be ready?' 'SHE DIDN'T COOK YOUR SANDWICH!'.

HUH..WTF!!??? When I got over being stunned and realized that the Candid Camera folks weren't there and understood she was serious, I asked for my money back. It became quickly clear that she had no idea how to refund money that had already entered their computer with the order wending its winding way to Wendy worldwide headquarters.

I asked to speak to the manager. The manager apparently was sick that day and his second-in-command was taking money to the bank. I waited 15 minutes until the number 2 guy returned. He was able to successfully negotiate the transaction and returned my money. I told him about the pathetic service expecting a coupon for free sandwiches or at least an apology. The true meaning of apathy was defined anew for me that day.

I drove off, uttering curses for which my mother would still attempt to ground me, vowing never to return to the Green Hills Wendy's. I haven't..but I've been to the Metrocenter Wendys since then, because, I still love me some Wendy's Spicy Chicken.

I did write an email, but never heard back from anyone. It almost made me want to take up smoking, but that's another story for another day.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Harlan Kentucky

Re my previous post, I have been in Harlan. There is no place on earth like Harlan Kentucky. I haven't been everyplace on earth, but I would bet my original mono copies of 'Out of Our Heads' and '12 x 5' that nothing approaches Harlan.

My college girlfriend was from Harlan. After two months of exclusive and intensive dating (we actually dated back in the know that car thing where the guy -usually the guy- picks the girl up at her house or dorm), it became clear that we were fairly serious and that it was time for the big invite to meet the parents. Considering that parents of everyone I had dated to that time either lived in Nashville or Dickson, my lack of preparation for seeing Harlan was roughly akin to a new speechwriter hearing his/her first speech mangled by the President. Outwardly benumbed, inwardly nuc-u-lur.

The first time I met 'her' parents, I contracted aphasia. Sadly, the disease endured the weekend. The impression left by that first visit was incredulity, piteous, and I'm sure frustration, followed by the belief that their daughter had the makings of a social worker, showing the world to a long-time denizen of the short bus.

Our relationship was lucky to have survived the weekend. Fortunately, future visits were enhanced by actual complete sentences, inchoate political opinions, and in some cases, conversation. I was given what would be the first of many Harlan and coal-mine area tours.

Over the years we hiked the mountains many times. I saw for the first time houses, actually shanties, built on a path but with no road in sight. I saw many kids who could have been up in that tree with a really had to stare to see the eyebrows. I saw kids with what looked like scurvy and I saw coal mine owner's houses that were hillside palaces.

I saw the vestiges of our version of the caste system. I saw the results of the union wars. I saw a hospital that wouldn't treat a coal miner until the 1970s. Coal miners were often paid in script that could only be redeemed at the 'company store'. These truths were more than just another verse of a popular folk song.

I also saw many mountains that seemed pristine at first glance, but that truthfully had been irreperably scarred by slash of the strip mine. I saw mountains that had been 'topped'. I saw beauty and poverty that I really didn't believe existed in the 20th century United States.

I became close dear friends with my girlfriend's parents. In fact, when I was later unceremoniously dumped, part of my anguish was the thought that this meant I also broke up with her family. I soon realized that true friendship and love can endure anything, and I continued to visit Harlan, Kentucky during my one year in Knoxville (aborted law career that is best left to describe in another really boring post).

I will say I was depressed, adrift and prone to long bouts of self-pity during my year in Knoxville. I had lost my girlfriend and I HATED law school. I retreated to Harlan many weekends (and a few entire weeks later in the year). I learned to love the alien world that seemed to be contain many shades of gray and world-class weariness. Coal mining can wear a person out in ways most of us can't imagine.

The Harlan parents became 'in loco parentis' during a long sad year. I was prepared to head to graduate school when a friend called and encouraged me to go to New York and help save the world. We moved to Brooklyn, and I soon met a wonderfully incredibly shy woman who later become the woman with whom I have spent nearly 30 years. Meeting her made me realize that my college girlfriend had been wise about parting ways. I also met a man who later became one of my best friends.

Many years later, that man, one of the best friends I've ever had, managed to hook up with my college girlfriend. They married a few years ago. I was able to catch up with my Harlan 'parents', and learn that bad health had overtaken these wonderful vivacious people.

My recent trip to Harlan was to pay tribute to my 'other' mother, a woman who accepted me despite a horrible first impression, a woman who defined the word 'welcome' for me and who continued to be a loving part of my life even after her daughter had moved on. She probably knew that we 'weren't to be', but after a point it didn't matter.

The pathology of a small coal mining town in eastern Kentucky is far different than a town called Liberty in Texas. The Texans were in Liberty because they felt free and thankful to have escaped from the crowds and coal-smoked eastern states. Many of the people were in Harlan because they had to be, or because their wagons couldn't make it through the Cumberland Gap to the beauty of east Tennessee and beyond.

The worst aspects of religion and religious types always prey on the poor, continuing to afflict the afflict rather than the converse. God and Jesus are thrown at you like stones in this part of the world. God is harsh and etched in stone and may be forgiving, but only if you earned it.

I've seen funerals in two small towns that couldn't be more disparate. Sadly, funerals are what brings a lot of us together. We travel from afar and share stories, tears, and grace. We lose our friends, and sometimes our way. Harlan has been a wonderful and odd part of my life. I was thankful that a certain family was there at a time when I seemed to lose my way and a whole lot more.

I'm also grateful to my wife who understood that I needed to leave in the middle of the night and drive back to that world. I should also mention that a certain night-owl in Memphis gave me great help in staying awake late at night and despite my boring and somewhat morose nature that night, stayed with me for quite a few miles.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Where I'm going tonight...

Another funeral...sigh. Give me strength.

Why do you hate America, why do you support cut and run, don't you support the troops...Oh WAIT A MINUTE..

You ARE a troop
What's wrong with the [Iraq] war?

It's a war we never should have launched in the first place. It's been incompetently executed and it's brought no benefit to anyone involved, including the American people and the Iraqis. It's just people dying for no benefit.

That quote ain't from Cindy Sheehan...follow the link to ferret out the Bush-hater (hint, he's one of a few, he's proud, he's been chosen, and he's not flying solo)...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Simon says shut up, or, America idles for a Lynching

Ok..I watched the last twenty minutes or so of American Idol auditions tonight. I've thought about this for a while and I'm now totally convinced that not only is Simon most of the contestants true friend, I'm wishing I had a life-Simon to be honest with me when I've said and done some of the most absolute dumb-ass things imaginable.

I wouldn't have sat next to Lisa Ball on the bus ride home from church camp oblivious to the fact that she would prefer sitting next to a syphilitic dwarf with bad intent. I wouldn't have come up with THIS sparkling conversational jewel while double dating with my best friend - 'hey, look, there's a green mailbox!' I actually said that after a 15 minute uncomfortable silence on the way to our first (and last date). Not surprisingly, the silence picked right back up after my Noel Coward moment.

I wouldn't have eaten that bleu cheese burger in Cincinnati after the first bite screamed 'BAD CHEESE'. I wouldn't have picked the one gas station in Ohio without a ventilated bathroom to curl up and die in after eating the bad cheeseburger. I wouldn't have told the menstruation joke when someone's mom visited our communal meal up in Brooklyn....there's a lot more, but I can beat myself up so much. Where's my life coach, my Simon to tell me..get off the stage...SHUT THE *)*) UP!

Secondly, if you watched the previews for the auditions next week in the Seattle episode you may have noticed that apparently every extra from Twin Peaks is re-emerging to make their mark on American and the Idol world. Maybe they should have just stopped with the Maker's Mark and skipped the audition.

Who in God's name is telling all these people they can sing? Is 3 minutes of public humiliation really worth it just to get on, Gasp..TeeVee?

.....And a hocky team broke out, or, a few observations about hockey crowds

Folks, I don't care if you don't know icing in hockey from that sugary goop on top of a cake, we have an incredible hockey team in our town. If there WAS a good hockey poet (or even a poet who occasionally dabbled in puck-ery), they would be composing lines re the line of Kariya, Legwand and Erat. I have no doubt about THAT (Legwand and Kariya are more of a rhyming challenge). These guys rival Tinkers to Evers to Chance teammate connective-wise.

If you haven't been to see the Preds, a few words of advice...

If you plan to bring kids, explain the words 'suck*' and its plural before the game. Spin the word anyway you wish, but after the game be prepared to hear the sing-song chant 'MOM YOU SUCK, DAD YOU SUCK', if you deign to chastize them in a manner not parallel with their particular line of thinking.

If you kept a 'suck' click count during the game, I'm pretty sure that the triple figure would be reached somewhere in the second period. I've said it before, I'm sick of the word. I'm not offended other than being disappointed in the mass of people who can't come up with a better insult.

The announcement of each opposing player's name is met with 'SUCKS'. When a goal is scored on the opponent, a barrage of once-clever suck chants ring the arena. What was somewhat funny and artful back in 1999 and 2000 have become lamer than parents trying to remain relevant with their kids by using hip-hop terms of the late 90s.

Pretty much every sneer-cheer is peppered with 'sucks' except the still-funny-to-me jibe at the opposing goalie after the Predators score - 'It's ALL your FAULT, it's ALL your FAULT'.

I've written about the 'suckage' factor more than once. I probably might as well protest the tide system in the ocean or decry the vapid brain-patterns of prime-time programmers. Is it all our fault for continuing to buy tickets and watch TV?

On another note, for the love of the great Gretzky:

Dear Predators management: LOSE THE FANG FINGERS bit when an opponent is penalized and has to sit out for a few minutes. This was a cutesy-wootsy element back in the pre-historic pred promo days when most of us didn't understand things like 'clearing the puck', or as mentioned above, that'icing' is more than just a cake adornment. It's NOT cute anymore. It's annoying, embarrassing and lends credence to fans from other towns thinking that we are newbie nimrods in search of a clue.

Finally, to the woman in line with us at the coffee kiosk with the Trinity Broadcasting It really looks strange to see that hair with a Preds sweater instead of purple garb, standing in line rather than poised to strike for dollars while reposed amidst the gilded roccoco. Maybe it's just me...

Meanwhile, I'll be thinking of new words or phrases to be exclaimed sing-songedly after each opponent's name is announced...hmmm,
Pronger - Iced over with ENN-U-I
Toskala - At Best, med-i-oc-re, med-i-oc-re
Crosby - Stills and Nash are better off without YOU

Are you hearing me Section 303...are you listening Leipold?

*I realize this may be ironic considering my true blog motto is: attempting (and often failing) not to suck for over 1 solid year

Monday, January 15, 2007

That line from the Martin Luther King speech

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

That line has been misused more than most famous quotes in American history. I would say more, but it's been said much better and more clearly by Mark aka Gandalf Mantooth over at his way-cool blog - Dork Nation.

However, a lot of people forget the speech was more than the one sentence when quoting MLK. He called the “new militancy” “marvelous.” He said “America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

The speech has a context, and some people would seem to want to wrest the speech from its context by using that one sentence as a rhetorical tool. Most people who use it are aware of the reverence paid King by many here. The man has a President’s holiday for f***’s sake. You may well have the same heartfelt attachment to the quote and it’s perceived everyman/woman sentiment. You may have the best of intentions. However, when some right winger like George Will or Limbaugh is tut-tutting people of color about Affirmative Action or something and drags out The Quote, it smacks of smarmy condensension. It says “See, your greatest leader agrees with me, so there! Nyaa, nyaa, game over.”

My favorite Martin Luther King quote I dedicate to my late friend Nick. He lived this one every day.

The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.

Martin Luther King Jr., 'Strength to Love,' 1963

I'm not an egotist, but memememe, or, finish this sentence..

Once again, I wasn't fast enough to get away. My blog-friend Sara Sue tagged me to finish the following sentences...(i thought you LIKED me Sara!)

01. I’ve come to realize that my ex----exists only in the realm of girlfriend and we're really good friends.
02. I am listening to---rain falling in Salemtown, birds singing and some high-pitched whining tool being used on a construction site down the street..guys, IT'S RAINING!
03. I talk---with a nasal-ly voice that makes me want to pull out my hair when I hear it on a recording.
04. I love---my wife, my kids, Vanderbilt basketball, the Rolling Stones, and the New York Yankees (did I get the order right, dear?)
05. My best friends---live too far away (same as S.Sue).
07. I lost---a really good friend and incredible person to a damn brain tumor.
08. I hate it when people---don't seem to give a shit that anyone else in the universe exists but them.
09. Love is---often never having to say much else but, I'm sorry
10. Marriage is---certainly not boring!
11. Somewhere, someone is thinking---if this bonehead tags me on this meme, I'm going to shred his pointed rather oversized head (oh, S. Sue..this doesn't apply to you, much).
12. I’ll always be---almost there, but not quite.
13. I have a crush on---Rachel McAdams and several bloggers whom I will NOT embarrass!
14. The last time I cried was because---my friend died.
15. My cell phone---has the staying power of a 80 year old man after drinking three glasses of water.
16. When I wake up in the morning---see number 15.
17. Before I go to sleep at night---I spend a good bit of time trying to fall asleep and trying to remember not to drink three glasses of water.
18. Right now I am thinking about---that REALLY annoying whining tool being used down the street which now has a slightly HIGHER pitched mate, a sound I didn't think was machine-ly possible and one I'm surprised my that can be heard by any member of a species more highly evolved than dogs.
19. Babies are---a wonderful thing for me to be nostalgic about, but things I changed my share of back in the 80s.
20. I get on MySpace---when hell freezes over, when Something About Jim becomes as soul-satisfying as 'The Wire', when an REO Speedwagon CD is in my house more than 15 seconds before it is hurled in the general direction of that damn damn whiny machine down the street in hopes that it will be destroyed by said machine.
21. Today I---slept late because of the holiday.
22. Tonight I will---watch episodes 3 and 4 of '24' to see how Jack Bauer does it AGAIN AND AGAIN.
23. Tomorrow I will---trudge slowly down the street to work wishing I had just one more day off.
24. I really want---an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, but I'm pretty damn sure I'd shoot my eye out...

Tagging: Kristin and Lisa...they're far enough away not to come down and hit me for this!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ordinary Heroes in your town - Actors Bridge* rises up!

This will not be the last time I plug this upcoming play/event (if you click on the link you can actually READ the cool poster). I've seen an early 'read-through' version of this play and cannot wait until the main event. If you are long-time or native Nashvillian, you may know a lot about the civil rights movement here in our town, or you may be surprised at how much you don't know, but the stories in this play will make you cry, think, be angry, and inspire you.

From the Actors Bridge website:

This world-premiere theatrical work is based on Nashville’s pivotal role in our nation’s fight for civil rights in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Through drama, music, spoken word and multi-media, the play explores the stories of the lesser known contributors in the struggle that was born in Nashville – the individual foot soldiers who made up the masses that followed storied leaders, Martin Luther King, Jr., Kelly Miller Smith, C.T. Vivian, Diane Nash, James Lawson, Bernard Lafayette and others. Based on interviews with living people who participated in the movement...

I was a young boy growing up in the lily-white Green Hills area when the lunch-counter sit-ins occurred. At first it all scared me, but I knew somehow that the God I was raised with didn't really think that much of apartheid, even though that same God was used to justify separation of the races and a slooooooooooow path to racial justice by many.

Another aspect of this play that thrills me is that my alma mater, Lipscomb University, is a partial backer of this play. Their name is up their on the poster. As much as I've wanted to charge them for the counseling bills I've paid for over the years, I've gotta give them some solid props for working with Fisk on this venture.

Please go see this play!

*My friend Vali Forrister (aka The Playwright to some) is a major force behind this play (co-writer and instigator). She worked with Aunt B, among others to create 'Faith/Doubt' last year.

Death in a small town

I'm not really a small town kind of person. I'm not claiming that Nashville is anywhere near Chicago, NY or Atlanta status, but it does have multiple incredibly good diverse dining options, movie theaters that show non-blockbuster films, places to drink coffee and professional sports. Small towns may have a few good restaurants, but coffee usually is only available at the corner diner, and it may or may not be fit to propel diesel engines.

Small towns, at least in the movies, and in my mind, don't know what to do with the out-liers, the artist who dreams beyond Thomas Kinkade, the goth-kid, the outwardly gay and the people who scream that it's time for a change. A lot of this is based on books written by people who fled small towns, or movies made by the small-town expatriate. Some of these thoughts are based on experiences of people I know....

But there's also another side: The unity, the support, the friendliness, the village of parental watching out for each other, and the sense that everyone here matters. I got to see the good side this past week in a little town called Liberty, Texas. Oddly, there are at least eight towns in Texas named Liberty. Only one of them is actually IN Liberty County, the county I was visiting.

My friend Nick, described somewhat in the previous post, was a principal, a coach, a teacher, a friend, a husband and a dad. All those words are mere outlines to the man. He was a gentle giant, a listener, a great singer, a lover of history and a person who knew how to make you feel comfortable.

Liberty, Texas celebrated their son last week in a way I'll never forget. Schools closed early..athletic events were cancelled. The line at the funeral home for visitation stretched through the funeral home, out the door and down the block and continued to build for hours. Signs in tribute plastered the city. Mountains of food were supplemented by more mountains. The art of the deviled egg has been perfected in Liberty.

More importanly, in those days, there weren't white folks, black folks, hispanic folks, gay folks, straight folks, Catholics, Baptists or C. of Christers. There were people unified in their love for Nick whose generosity amazed those of us who came from far away. They took us into their homes, fed us (way too well!), gave us beds to sleep in and ferried us to where we needed to go. In those homes, I got to hear a lot about Liberty and why a guy who tasted the Big Apple and other 'big places' wanted to go back to Liberty.

I still am not a small-town kind of person, but I understand a lot more, now that I've viewed Liberty though the prism of my late friend Nick, and a village of people who know more about community than I've ever known...I suspect they understand a little more about the world and acceptance than I've been lead to believe, as well.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

love and death..

I always hate it when some horrible or sad happens to an athlete or an entertainer and they say.."I guess this puts everything in perspective now", like somehow we forgot that people continue to die or get sick or have accidents because we have FOOTBALL or LOST on TV or Rocky IVX - Fighting for his LIFE!.

Most of us are aware that this is perspective to be had on a daily basis. Shit happens. We have financial problems because of unexpected damn car repairs. Our washing machine breaks. Our body breaks and the hospital bills mount up.

Even if we know all this, it always hurts when a friend who is too young to die, dies. When a tumor that sneaks into his brain like a dream and grows and grows until, surprise, lights out. No perspective I have can understand why that happens. Yeah, I know the words, and i understand that disease is part of an imperfect world, but perspective, hell no. Not supposed to happen.

I'm driving to Texas tonight with some friends to attend my friend Nick's funeral. Nick was 51 when he died yesterday leaving behind an 11 year old son and a wonderful wife. Nick fought this damn tumor and kept alive by sheer willpower for months after it would have felled most people.

Nick was part of my life when we were saving the world in New York back in the 70s. We didn't save the world, Brooklyn, or 531 Dumont where we lived. But we did make some of the best friends a person could ever have (including my wife)'s the kind of thing that happens when you are social workers hellbent on doing something always surprises you when a different good happens.

Nick had a great life. People from all over the United States are on their way to say farewell. I'm just lucky to have known him, and that's my real perspective here.

See you at the end of the week.

As a Vanderbilt fan, I'd like to point out the following score..

Florida 25 - Vanderbilt 19. I'm thinking 'we' did a little better than THE Ohio State University did last night..(o;

Let's play the match game, or, what do these two stories have in common?

Reverent Al wants to run for President and P. Hilton wants to be a serious actor.

One of my New Year's half-baked resolutions was to continue NOT to care what P. Hilton does or says...I really don't care about her latest nocturnal admission but it seem to go so well with the Reverend's aspiration.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Fiesta Tortilla Doritos Tostido halftime bowl question...

The announcers in tonight's BCS Championship (Go SEC! - i normally hate Florida, but i love this score..) mentioned that the blimp flying overhead was provided by somebody or other, and that it was giving us all 'aerial coverage of the game'...

How can anything give aerial coverage of the game when the stadium below is DOMED????

Body parts, or, what's the skinny here

Unless someone stumbles into Salemtown still reeling from the effects of a trip to BizarroWorld, nobody is going to mistake me for Adonis. I was blessed with pipe-stem legs and arms. I could have done something about adding some tone to the stems, but apparently it hasn't been important enough to me to implement corrective action.

From the time I was a junior in high school until I was 38 years old I weighed nearly the exact same weight. I could wear the same pants, the same belt, the same shirts, if they had endured all those years. When I was a kid, my head grew to adult size, which coupled with my stick-figure body, led to an Ichabod Crane look that I learned to live with,despite the mostly friendly taunts from friends, and the concerned looks of the church women who were certain I could be 'cured' by a steady dose of casserole and their own special dessert squares.

Generally speaking, and there is an obvious recent exception, most people don't insult large/overweight people to their face or in a way the insult can be easily heard (or seen). It, for good reason, is considered rude and untoward. For some reason, telling someone he 'looks thin/skinny/unhealthy/sticklike' has always been considered ok. The adult version, in fact, of the childish taunt is the pseudo-concerned face when expressing, 'have you been ill'? This query, when asked by a close friend means one thing, but when posed by semi-strangers, is nothing more than a thinly disguised: I look ok, you don't.

After age 38, my metabolism changed. The mountains of food that had heretofore been filling my empty stempipe leg or otherwise metabolised, suddenly begin loitering around my mid-section. For a few years, basic non-strenuous exercise could keep the pooch from pooching. Sadly, the war of the middle became a battle of non-attrition in my mid 40s, and the pooch pooched outward. An operation two years ago that basically opened me up from chest to pelvis didn't completely heal, resulting in a hernia-like condition where muscle protudes slightly between the not-quite-closed curtain of my torso. If you look closely (and I'm not suggesting this!), you can see a weird shelf-like protrusion if I stand a certain way in a slouch. Obviously, I attempt NOT to stand that way and slouch.

Back in the day, back in gym class when I would see all these better-developed guys (don't snicker....), I would be envious. I imagined a world where I would be judged by my form and outline, and worried that my prospects for acclaim, love and marriage would be as thin as my upper arms.

Gladly, at least for men, our form and build is not normally conflated with our worth, our personality and our ability to be a whole person. The fact that women don't get this same break is fairly obvious in the world of entertainment and sadly, evidenced quite clearly in the recent blogger-dustup.

I'm not here to begin to say that people making fun of my bodysize or my skinny arms and concave chest were near the equivalent of what women go through when we 'appraise' their form. I can tell you it used to bother me a lot when I was younger, and that gives me at least a hint, a clue into the world of bodytype=inherent worth.

There is an old adage that supposedly helps a person get up in front of a room full of people when they are scared to speak in front of a crowd - 'imagine everyone in the room is naked/wearing only their underwear'. Yeah, I guess this does rob the audience of some of their dignity, but I'd prefer a room full of people who understand that mental, physical and spiritual health have little to do with the way I, or they, look.

I'm off to Bizarro world..........

Pic above is from HERE.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

God moves in mysterious ways, or, no more rain, the fire next time

If this had happened once or twice (a little more thoroughly) when I was going to church as a kid, any whiff of agnosticism I might have had would have been dispelled.

Stolen* completely from Thomas, at Ihajj.

*Sorry about that 8th commandment, Thomas.

Clean, uncluttered and ready for anything.

I rather tripped across this English blog - Yet Another Blooming Blog - that shouldn't be missed. The author also reviews books of the 'soft porn' romantic variety.

This one post, entitled 'Whoopee: How Not to Write About Sex #2', written back in August just kills me.

I rifle through some pages. Pages which have actually made me want to wash my hands, because the story has a horribly cathartic tone of personal experience to it, and the hands that have grasped the tumescent veiny stumps of boring old men have also touched the paper I am reading.

Not only is there a great band name in that last sentence, but I'm thinking I would trade all my posts of the past year, if I could write one sentence that good/well/smart..

A wonderful example of purplish prose she cites:

"The woman was amazing. She was like a fresh new day. Clean, uncluttered and ready for anything."

I'm off to search for 'How Not to Write About Sex, #1'...


Maybe you've already seen this 15 foot snow-monster, but I was thinking that even though I'm really not a big 'winter' fan, I sure wish we'd get at least one REALLY good snow. These 60 degree January days are just weird.

More songs about buildings and coffee houses, or, take me to the river (ashland city style)

I write frequently about coffee. I, along with most other Salemtown/G'town type are hoping for a local independent coffee house here in the neighborhood. Our hopes were raised briefly by a sign in a building under construction on lower 5th (across from G'town Cafe) that promised: Coffee House Pending (which replaced the even more promising sign: Coffee House Coming). Sadly, all signs and bets are off. The window now is void of sign and promise.

We do have the Starbucks up between us and MetroCenter, and yes, I've been there more than once. Bob and Patty know me by name and know my drink...

But , today, I am talking about coffee in Ashland City, the TBG Coffeehouse, to be exact. Lynn and I gamboled up to A. City last night (see previous post for details) and landed at the TBG joint (i think the TBG stands for Truth, Beauty and Goodness) to hear some Slarti music.

TBG is the anti-Starbucks. It's not real organized. It has concrete floors and sofas you could sink into for miles and tables and booths haphazardly placed throughout the place. There are random knick-knacks on the walls and nothing you could call 'designed'. We loved it. Most importantly, the coffee was more than excellent.

But, I do have a question, and this might be for Brittney, who I believe hails from A. the folks of A. City REALLY NEED a 10-freakin' shot espresso drink (i think it's called Moses)? Holy Moses, if I had drunk one of those, I'd be typing with my teeth while tap dancing to little green men playing bagpipes and kazoos. I mean, A. City has a new 'Wal-Marts' and a lot of good catfish and even more importantly, Strattons. Does it still need THAT MUCH waking up?

For what it's worth...the sound, for a largish coffee house was pretty good and well-mixed. I'm going back, but I'll probably continue to avoid the 'Moses'. I swear that drink would part your own personal sea...

One more about other bloggers, or, maybe the Scene had a point...

I've been enjoying meeting and hanging out (and listening to) other bloggers so much that I want to write about it, but after a point it reminds me of that Lewis Carroll story where everyone in a small town made a living by doing each other's laundry...

Anway...two items and then I'm shutting up (about other bloggers for a while).

1. Slartibartfast is a rocker. It's a Christian band, yeah, and if you can't handle Christian lyrics at all, it might not be for you, but I'm telling you, if you avoid Slarti's band for that reason, you will be missing something.

Slarti is one of the keyboard guys and once the music starts, the quiet, shy-ish Slarti we met at the blogger meat-up turns into (1960's reference, watch out!), Paul Revere (not the horsey silversmith guy but the one who lead the 'Raiders), which is to say a geeky dancing, mugging for the audience who is having so much fun it really doesn't matter that the geek meter is moving to the red zone. And, I'm using 'geek' in a very loving manner, btw.

Slarti's band (X-Alt) is quite an ensemble...they got the Memphis-style horns that punctuate the bar, rather than roll all over it, they got not one, not two, but three women who can sing the lights out, and they got another keyboardist who can sing some serious tenor. The Memphis Stax soul oozes through their music even though they appear to be all of the 'blue-eyed' soul variety.

My one complaint: Slarti' only gets one solo. He's got a great rocker voice, and his song just SWINGS. Besides his song, he re-arranged the old Sam and Dave song called 'Soothe Me' to handle some really top-notch harmony and lyrics that weave the band's philosophy into the groove. Slarti NEEDS MORE SOLO.

My one question: They close the first set with 'Put a little love in your heart' and they attribute the song to Aretha. Actually, their arrangement is pretty much a pepped up version of the original by Jackie DeShannon, but was good.

All in all, it was more than worth the trip to Ashland City. Plus we got to hang with Ms. Slarti and two Slarti-kids. Good family times...

2. With an intro...I don't date women other than my wife. I have plenty of female friends (believe me if you work with the state health department and you don't like female friends you are going to be more peerless than a hermit crab). I actually eat lunch nearly every working day with a woman who is one of the best friends I've ever had...

Back to the point: Staying married, or staying in a monogamous relationship pretty much rules out the dating scene (other than with your wonderful 'other'). Now to the part where this gets to blogging:

I'm a 54 year old male. Even if I was dating, it would be unlikely that I would call up women under 30 (or 40) and ask them out. For me, it would be typically age-inappropriate (not a moral thing..just a personal choice). On the other hand, in the recent weeks, I have met up with a mid-twenties woman in Memphis, a slightly older than that woman in Memphis, two women in Jackson and most recently an under-30 woman in Nashville and I've had at least one meal with all of them. (I've also eaten with other males, but that is not my point here...). I'm hardly a 'lunchtime lothario'.

When meeting other bloggers who have never met you f-t-f before who happen to be women who only know you via a blog, it is probably smart to bring other people along the first time you meet. When I first had lunch with Ivy, she brought her brother for protection, lol. She soon discovered that I was not an axe-wielding pervert and we became good friends.

Yesterday, I 'hooked up' (in a social way, puhleeze) with Emily (Malia's much younger sister) at the Mothership. I had been badgering her to post more on her blog and developed one of the blog-big-brother things and I really wanted to meet her..somewhat because I am rather fond of her much older sister.

Anyway, Emily did the smart thing. She brought to the table: Malia, Malia's husband, Malia's two kids, and I'm pretty sure she paid the bald guy who was pretending not to eavesdrop at the next table to watch out for her. And, I'm thinking I saw the Berry Hill gendarmes pass the establishment more than the usual.

Once again, after she discovered I was not an axe-wielding pervert, I believe all went well. It was a fun lunch. Emily is a little quieter than her sister, and I enjoyed the convo all around. Enjoyed it so much in fact that the restraining order (hey, only 200 feet) really didn't bother me so much.

All of this is to say: Blogging breaks down barriers. People that I would never have met or become friends with for any other reason are now an important part of my life. Some of them, gasp, are not of my political persuasion!. I got to hang with a MUCH younger Theo/Geo'er in Memphis and it was cool. I had fun. Lynnster and I hung in the zone...good times as well. Anytime with Newscoma and the Rodent Queen is bonus time for me...and now I've met Emily, heard Slarti's band and those are good things.

Now WHERE did Lynn put my axe?????

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Cartoon by Schorr.

Fist tap: Phil Arnold

Mothership down, Mothership bound, lunch with my new year's resolution AND a possible Moose sighting...

I'm wishing that everyone in blogging distance who has hunger in their life for some most excellent barbecue would hie yourselves down to the Mothership around noon so that you can share my delight at meeting Emily (one of my resolutions) who happens to be the sister of pinko Malia. Actually, I think that Malia is busing in a gaggle of Cardins...I'm going to be way outnumbered! Come on down...

And tonight, we're actually thinking seriously about taking a trip to Ashland City to hear THIS GUY. I'm going to try and take the 'moses challenge' and i'm looking to cadge that free drink from Slartibartfast (whose name is not ringing so much round the cerebellum now that's it's been replaced by the theme song from Underdog i heard on a Scrubs re-run...damn that quartet!).

Anybody else heading up to the big A. City tonight?

What's this world coming to when a man can't have a 100 frozen cats and 39 live ones and not be bothered, or, Will a hair-dryer work???

According to THIS story in youR Tennessean, where every focus group matters, this guy was rousted for keeping over 100 dead cats in his freezer and owning 39 mangy cats mostly in bad health and probably trying to avoid the freezer area.

I normally eschew (achoo) cat stories, but this one caught my eye. I thought it was only crazy old ladies that did stuff like this. When did the creepy kitty syndrome bound into the 'Y' chromosome territory?

And, to top it all off, he's suing the authori-ties who consfiscated the kitti-sicles, the live cats and, oh yeah, the five snakes, and the one, poor, confused German Shepherd. Being around all that much, cat-astrophe is too much for the simple canine.

In his lawsuit, filed last week, Davis, 74, says he suffered "emotional pain and suffering" because of the confiscation and eventual destruction of the frozen bodies, which he said he was planning to bury in a pet cemetery he was preparing on his farm, as well as the loss of his living pets.

The suit says that one of the kittens in the freezer was "so large at birth that (Davis) intended to submit it to the Guinness Book of Records."

I'm thinking he might want to switch to ice sculpture as a hobby...

37 reasons to read 'The Stupid Things I Witness'

Anne's blog is a must read for me (and should be for YOU).

Anne..this one's for you...

Old man WOMAN look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.
Old man WOMAN look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.

Old WOman look at my YOUR life,
Twenty four THIRTY-SEVEN
and there's so much more
Live alone in a paradise Heaven
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me STUPID things
that don't get lost.
Like a coin that won't get tossed
Rolling home to you.

Old WOman take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me show me stupid stuff
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that's true.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around try to park in the same old town.
to damn hard Doesn't mean that much to me
and apparently To mean that much to for you.

I've been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I'm all alone at last reading your blog is a blast.
Rolling home stupid, so true.

Old WOman take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love show me stupid
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that's true.

Old Woman look at my life,
I'm a lot stupider than like you were.....

Happy 37th, Anne.

Update: I just realized the birthday was YESTERDAY..apparently my stupid brain was far away. Anyway...continue the celebration, Anne. You deserve it.

and, uh, deep apologies to Neil. You're the MAN (and in fact, may NOW be the old man in the song, go figure...)

noooooooooooooooo, or, No.51 is in my heart

Say it ain't so, Yankees...

Friday, January 05, 2007

Proof that higher intelligence does, indeed, exist

One of my favorite bloggers, Lindsey of Theo/Geo, has a regular 'bitchlist' of items on the sidebar of her blog. It's probably good therapy, and pretty much every item I've seen on her list deserves its infamy.

I don't know what the opposite of a 'bitchlist' really is, without going into the gooey syrupy kitty-cat stuff, but if I had such a list, this is what would be floating to the top:

If you ever wanted to know what sublime would taste like...Altoid's Dark Chocolate Dipped Mints.

Gimme a ticket for an aeroplane, ain't got time for a fast train, lonely days are gone, I would be goin' home, but the President opened my letter

Does it bother anyone outside the ACLU that the President gets to decide what part of a law he doesn't like when he is signing the bill into law? It's called a 'signing statement' and our so-called conservative President has issued more signing statements than ALL the previous presidents combined.

It's kind of a 'I'll respect you in the morning' with a finger crossed behind the back. Ooooookay, this law is now law because I just signed it but if I don't feel like it I'm really not going to pay any attention to what I just signed. Doesn't this bother true conservatives? Isn't this an imbalance of power?

The latest case is the law that states (quite sensibly) that if the postal services believes a letter contains a bomb, they don't have to call and ask for permission to 'open/defuse' the letter. Also the law allows the postal service to open a letter without an address so that the post office can attempt to ascertain where the letter is supposed to be sent.

NOTHING in the bill allows a first class letter to be opened (with the above exceptions) without a warrant. The President signed the bill, but he left a door open as wide as the security at our port system.

He claims that in 'exigent circumstances' that the government gets to by-pass the law. The signing statement gives a couple of examples of what exigent circumstances are, but doesn't delineate or in any way limit the definition of 'exigent'.

If the President thinks this is a necessary component of an anti-terrorism package, then he should have his party propose a bill that spells out what the government is allowed to do with first-class mail. Otherwise, the bill he signed is the bill he should live with.

I thought conservatives wanted to LIMIT the power of the government? Maybe I just don't understand the rules of bizarro world.

Meanwhile, stay the hell out of my mail!

A wrinkle in my time, or, book it, kiddo

We were visiting good friends in Montgomery over New Year's weekend when I popped one of my favorite questions to the 18 year old daughter of the family: What was the most influential book you read or had read to you as a child (child defined here as someone 12 or under)?

The young woman's father and I went to school together many years ago and he knew without asking the answer to the question if it was posed to me. He would have given the exact same answer, and I daresay that the entire 3rd and 5th grade classes of David Lipscomb in the mid-1960s would all give THE EXACT same answer.

We had the same teacher in 3rd and 5th grade. Both years she read us many books, but repeated only one because she knew that she had hit the mother lode with: 'A Wrinkle in Time', by Madeline L'Engle.

The book stands on its own as a ripping good yarn, but it also wormed inside our head the question of what evil really is (as opposed to that church of Christ list of things that we weren't supposed to be doing or even thinking). The book introduced time travel wrapped in the wonderful word 'tesseract'.

You can read this book on many levels which is one reason the book is so good. First of all, the story works (at least for young adults). The story of separation from a parent is a story that any kid understands. The power of totalitarianism transcends the big word that we didn't understand in the 3rd grade. More importantly, the power of love and self-will were explosive concepts normally wrapped in bromides and hoary hand-me-down proverbs garbed in sunday school swaddling.

If you have kids or feel like indulging the kid in yourself, read this book to your kids (or to yourself!) . I'm halfway convinced that the publication of 'Wrinkle' in the mid-60s paved the way for Star Trek and it's progeny. More importantly, at least for me, I used the principles of the book to overcome ticklishness.

That's the answer to my question. I'd love to hear yours.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Some pretty half-baked but mostly sincere resolutions for 2007

I quit making hard-to-keep resolutions many years ago because after a certain amount of time on this mortal coil, there are certain things that just aren't going to happen (getting up early and doing anything more athletic than opening the newspaper and making coffee). In the interest of reality and in full cognizance of my 54 years on this planet AND being alert to the fact that I"ve had stomach/ulcer issues, I am going to kinda try to:

listen to the doctor(s) and drink a higher ratio of decaf to caffeinated (blecch)

actually use my bicycle for something more than a fixture to hold non-bicycle-related things

switch from this stupid blogger to Wordpress (if they continue to have a 'free' version)

NOT switch to Blogger 'Beta' unless they pull Blogger 'alpha' from my 'qwerty' gnarled fingers

meet Emily (Malia's sister)

purchase a Predator's clothing item that will not be obsolete if a trade is made

walk the dogs regularly (I've been on the road a lot lately and gotten out of the normal patterns)

Quit reading blogs/articles/magazines that tell me that liberals/progressives/black people/white people/conservatives are all 'anything' or all believe 'one thing' because if i continue reading my doctor who told me to avoid stress will get on my back

Continue to explore who my 'neighbor' really is, and treat them the way I would want to be treated

Continue to not care what Britney*/Paris/TomKat/Rosie/Donald/Nicole say or do

Try not to commit blogorrhea

Go back to Memphis and have dinner with Lynnster and listen to her talk about music instead of me blathering on as if I had just been given the power of speech after an absence of two years

Meet a blogger east of Nashville

Try and notch down my irascible meter

Attend a Grascals concert

Let people know when they've done something that is wonderful/generous/graceful even if I'm not involved or the recepient

Observe the difference between 'your' and you're'. Just because the Tennessean doesn't get it, doesn't mean that I can screw this up.

Continue to read conservative blogs/journals that challenge me instead of belittling my 'kind'

Try to think of a trip to the 8th Avenue Kroger as an episode of Seinfeld, one in which I'm lucky enough to have a role

More brunches with my friends (love that Alleycats..)

Work to make our neighborhood association (Salemtown Neighbors) more inclusive of ALL of Salemtown

Visit the Frist more often

Tell my family what they mean to me, not just assume they know

Forgiveness, forgiveness.

Walk on every greenway in Nashville at least once (my favorite is the Richland Creek segment)

Meet bloggers whenever I have the opportunity.


Continue to explore the Story.

*This is Britney Spears I don't care for or about. I care very much about Brittney Gilbert who is much responsible for the blogging community here in Nashville.

3,000 is more than just a number

Back when the American death toll in Iraq was about to reach 2,000, there were some folks who seemed almost happy that we were about to reach a milestone because it would bring more publicity to the fact that this war was not a just war, and not a war we should have fought. I felt then and I feel now that using the number 2,000 for anti-war purposes was not much higher in the moral rankings than actually perpetuating this war. These are PEOPLE who are dying. These are our brothers and sisters and uncles and cousins and nephews and nieces who are dying, and who are being maimed.

I am in the camp that believes that this was an ill-conceived and wrong-headed war, and yes I know that Saddam was evil and in fact, good damn riddance, but this war has not given any central government control of the violence and has in fact led to a protracted splintered weak Iraq.

We've now reached 3,000 deaths and I'm glad to say that this milestone has not been so trivialized and symbolized. We continue to lose too many people to this ill-begotten war. The American people spoke clearly in the recent election about this war.

The President can surge and ebb and flow all he wants to, but the fact that these are not just numbers we are losing. America wants this war to end, but somehow I feel that the election was our big-ditch effort in our end-the-war campaign. 3,000 is a lot more than a number, but it should be a reminder that this war is not yet over.

Our representatives may need to be reminded and nearly deafened by what we said in that election.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Heh, heh...

The Onion

Bush Urges Iraqis To Pass Amendment Banning Gay Marriage

BAGHDAD—In a private meeting with Mohammed Bahr al-Ulloum, President Bush urged the Iraqi Governing Council president to amend the recently ratified Iraqi constitution to protect the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.

Your Tennessean - tripping into Blog-land

One of my favorite columnists for the Tennessean (actually my FAVORITE columnist) is Gail Kerr. She gets to write about whatever she wants to write about (for the most part) and she knows Nashville inside out. She grew up in Donelson, so she avoids the west Nashville myopia that afflicts so many Nashville writers.

I knew Gail briefly back in the 80s when she was working the local political beat. She has a great sense of humor and was one of the main reasons that the Elliston Place Goldrush was a true rush after work.

All of this is to say, I was pleased when I saw that Gail was going to start blogging for the Tennessean. So far I've been underwhelmed by the Tennessean's blogging. It's underpublicized and it feels like they are blogging because some focus group told them that blogging was the future but didn't bother to tell them how exactly to pull off the future.

Anyway, I follow the link to Gail's blog and was enjoying reading about her dog, when the damn page kept 'pushing' me to another Tennessean page which was not only NOT the page I wanted to be reading, but was symbolically TOTALLY BLANK.

'MY' Tennessean still is about a mile and 1/2 behind the curve. Gail, I'd love to read your blog, if the stupid website lets me!

Hey, does this guy have a blog?

Wall Street Journal editor pours a little Rago on the blog pasta bowl.

I always enjoy criticism so much when the writer doesn't bother to give ONE FREAKIN' example to back up his argument. Stop the presses..lotsa bad blogs out there...go FIGURE!

Stolen nearly totally from Chez Bez.

I've been most everywhere man, except any foreign countries other than Canada or Mexico

Thanks to Chez Bez via Lynnster...

create your own personalized map of the USA

I seem to be avoiding some of the 'cold' ones. I resolve someday to 'GET' those other states!

Happy 2007!, or, I'm sleeping in, can somebody else clean up this mess?

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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