If you've ever driven anywhere around these parts, you've seen the "See Rock City" birdhouses and barns and signs all up and down the highways in the South. And you probably know that Rock City is on Lookout Mountain in beautiful Chattanooga, Tennessee. So Rock City is one of Tennessee's most famous tourist attractions, right? Wrong.
Rock City is in Georgia by 1/2 a mile. I am heartbroken.
When I first started blogging I was anonymous. The reason was I was telling true stories about my life, and I didn't want any crazy ex-girlfriends to show up at my door with a shotgun or a kid they claimed was mine. Then I opened a restaurant and lost my anonymity. These days, with all the social networking I do for both work and personal purposes, I'm pretty easy to find.
I have been shopping for car insurance lately. I got several online quotes. I spent about 30 minutes on the phone with a very nice lady at Progressive Insurance. I haven't got a new car yet, so I haven't picked out my insurance yet.
Well, I logged onto my LinkedIn account today and noticed that there was a bump in the people who looked at my profile. Well looky there, I'm suddenly a person of interest from people in the Insurance industry, including a person in Customer Service at Progressive.
So why are they Googling me? Is it curiosity? Due Diligence? Racial profiling? I don't know. It's just a little creepy.
If you are here because I'm inquiring about buying insurance from your company, you really ought to hear the story about the time I got shit-faced drunk and stole a police car and crashed it through the window of a daycare, killing hundreds of toddlers. To read that story, click here.
Techies and Musicians are all abuzz about the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference going on in Austin. In 1987, I was in a band called The Cartoons that was pretty popular in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, especially in our hometown of Denton, Texas. We were contacted about playing at the first SXSW conference.
"Just another music festival that wants us to play for free," was our attitude. We declined. We assumed that SXSW would fizzle out after a year or two, as most of those things did. I guess we was wrong.
Dad, he's not going to win. The Democrats may be ready to vote for a black man, but have you seen his family? His kids are cute and all, but America is not ready to put an entire black family into the White House.
They say the internet is forever, and it is possible that you'll stumble across this when you are a grown-up person. You may not want to continue reading if you find yourself as an adult with any "issues" about your upbringing.
I sent a small fortune to your mother to pay for half of some Nintendo thing. But since that thing is going to be at her house, it doesn't count. Because at seven, it's all about how much you rake in for having an anniversary of the day of your birth. The booty. The spoils. the riches.
I got nothing for you. So here's what I'm going to do. On the way to pick you up at school today, I'm going to stop in a WalMart or Target or some other crappy, soulless corporate big box store and grab a bunch of crap made in China and throw some gift bags and tissue paper in the cart and pay for it and put it all together in the parking lot. The whole process is going to take less than 10 minutes.
It's not that I'm not thoughtful, it's that you're seven. It doesn't matter what I get, it's going to end up at the bottom of your closet in two days. My job is to teach you the important things in life, like golf course etiquette and a love of football and an appreciation for sarcasm and the proper timing of a punch line. You'll lose interest in some kind of Polly Pocket Animal Care Center in no time. Learning to be a total smart-ass just like dear old dad will last a lifetime.
This is a great day in U.S. Foreign policy! Castro is stepping down! The embargo worked! Eisenhower was right! And nobody got antsy, and it worked!! Way to go Kennedy and Johnson and Nixon and Ford and Carter and Reagan and Bush and Clinton and Bush!! The fact that you avoided a knee-jerk reaction really paid off!!!!!!!!
See, you don't have to invade every country that's headed by an evil despot! Just wait them out. Forty-eight years or so.
(I'll tell you who needs to be nervous, and that's the Bahamians. My guess is that within five years, 75% of the American tourist dollars that are going to the Bahamas will end up in Cuba.)
Did I ever tell the one about the time I was in the showband on a cruise ship and on the last night of the cruise all the entertainers for the week got on stage and we did "We Are The World" and I threw up on stage in a trash can right at the big key change at the end, but I didn't miss a note?
I hardly ever remember my dreams. And if I'm reading someone's blog and they start talking about a dream, I go on about my merry way without reading.
However, two nights ago I had a major tornado dream. The sky looked like the sky toward the end of the Wizard of Oz, except instead of flying monkeys, the sky was full of tornadoes of all sizes. And I was running from shelter to ditch with several folks, playing dodge the next twister.
Last night, a sky full of tornadoes hit Tennessee. As I was laying awake last night at 2 a.m., listening to the tornado sirens wailing and the winds howling and the thunder booming, all I was concerned about was the fact that I was naked. I wondered if I should get up and put on some sweatpants or something, because if a twister came and blew up the house, I didn't think it would be appropriate to be wandering around the neighborhood in the nude.
Then it occurred to me that there wouldn't be any wandering. If a tornado blew up the house, it would take me out with it. And I thought that would be appropriate, to leave the world the same way I came into it.
So I've decided that if I start to experience chest pains and numbness in my arm, my courses of action will be to take an aspirin, call 911 and take off all my clothes.
I hope that doesn't happen in an important business meeting.
I am having a couple of people over for the Titans game today. I went to the store this morning and got a bunch of stuff to make white chicken chili, which needs to cook for a few hours. But, while I was at the store I couldn't buy beer for the game because the government thinks I should be in church and they won't let me buy beer before noon on Sunday. So now I have to go back to the store again, because it is after noon and I am now allowed to buy beer.
I don't write on my blogs much anymore. but I still love the whole concept and the power behind it. The power to be heard. An American blogger in the Iraq war, Andrew Olmstead, was killed yesterday. He wrote a post to be published if that happened. Whatever you think about the war, you should read this.
Some thoughts (off the top of my head) on Sunday's playoff game, Titans V Chargers, 3:30 Central (God's time), on Sunday.
Roydell Williams broke his ankle in practice yesterday. What are we talking about? We're talking about PRACTICE, man! He has been the leading receiver this year. Bo Scaife is out. He's been the second leading receiver this year. We're relying on guys like Troupe and Ealy and Gage and Moulds. You know, the slow guys who drop a lot of passes. My prediction: LenDale left. LenDale Right. LenDale middle. Repeat.
Some (Merrill Hoge) are saying Kerry Collins should play because he had a good game against Indy's scrubs who were laying down anyway. Vince Young has struggled all year. He's also 17-11 as a pro. If you think Fisher is going to sit him when he is able to play, you've lost your mind.
The Chargers will have very little home field advantage. It is forecast to rain on Sunday. I used to have a job where I went to San Diego every Thursday. From my experience, it is 72 and sunny every day there. The game isn't even sold out yet, the league had to give the team and extension on the blackout. Nobody in SoCal wants to sully the Jag for a football game. Plus, nobody there has heard of this mythical place, "Tennessee." Look for the crowd to be thin and apathetic, compared to other playoff atmospheres.
The Titans' injuries are mostly on offense. The reason we won 10 games this year is because of the defense. Look for Philip Rivers to actually start to cry midway through the third quarter, when he takes his second safety. Bring on Volek.
The great thing about this internet thing, is when someone from your past pops into your mind for whatever reason, you can just Google 'em to see if they've done anything Google-worthy, and perhaps even re-connect with them. I've found old friends from college, but not anyone farther back than that.
I thought of a guy I sorta knew in Junior High the other day. I Googled him. He became fairly famous in his field. He's also been dead for 10 years.
There is a lot of college football going on this week. If I had but one wish, it would be that whoever thought of arranging the opening riff of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" for marching band then sold his arrangement to every college marching band in the country, hadn't done so.
I had to go to the bank, so I thought I'd suggest to the kid that we go Downtown and eat lunch and look around. I forgot that there were going to be 70,000 football fans there. And $20 parking. I guess it serves me right for my bad teeth joke yesterday.
Just kidding there yesterday, Kentucky folks. Go Wildcats.
There is a story in the Scene about abuse of power at the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. If you are interested in members of our Government being too big for their britches, go read it and come back.
We have gone through stupid state alcohol law discussions on this and other local Tennessee blogs before. Things like not being able to buy wine in a grocery store or on Sunday. Not being able to buy certain hard-to-find and boutique wines in the store, or by direct shipment. Not being able to buy beer at one of Tennessee's biggest boondoggles ever, the Bear Trace Golf Trail. Not being able to buy a wine opener or wine glasses at a liquor store.
But this story just goes too far. I know the people involved here. I know Ed Fryer, and I've met Melanie Armstrong, although she may or may not remember me. I met her at one of her tastings, and I found her to veery educated and good at what she does. I also know about many of the ridiculous bureaucratic hoops that have to be jumped through to host a wine tasting. The reason everyone has to jump through the hoops is not because they make sense, but because the ABC tells them to. So you do what they say, because they have the power to arrest you. And guns.
But the fact that they would use that power in this situation is frightening. To be arrested and have your car title seized because of botched paperwork for a singles' wine tasting at an established restaurant? That's out of control.
Every few years, there is an uproar about gutting our stupid alcohol laws. Every time, that uproar comes and goes. Sometimes a bill is introduced, and it just fizzles away. Because the people who have the power and money in the booze business,have all the power and money, and they ain't about to give it up. Even if it means a woman who tries to host an educational wine class at Cabana ends up going to jail.
That kind of shit really pisses me off. Concerning the next election that rolls around: I don't care if you're an atheistic communist sodomite, if you run on a gut-the-TABC platform, you've got my vote.
Throw the bums out, and let's throw a gin-soaked party on a Sunday.
I like to check in now and again with my pals over at Music City Bloggers. A strange thing has been happening lately. I can't get that site to load at home. It started a couple of weeks ago, on a weekend, and I thought the site was down. On Monday, I got to work and it was fine and there was no mention of being off-line. It has been that way ever since.
I have occasional time-outs on other sites. Sometimes the Tennessean won't come in, but it usually fixes itself in minutes or hours at the worst. Not so with MCB. It's just gone. Maybe they don't like South Nashville.
Ya'll can talk bad about me over there if you want, just keep it to nights and weekends.
(I suspect it's a Comcast issue, but if I call them, someone in Canada will just tell me to do all the stuff I've already tried.)
I'm not going to say stuff like this only happens in Nashville. It probably happens all the time in L.A. and New York and Paris. But I doubt it happens much in Johnson City or Des Moines.
Scene: First Grade Christmas Pageant. Visiting with another kid's dad --
Me: Wow, you just got back , huh? What were you doing in London?
Other Kid's Dad: We went to see Led Zeppelin. It was great.
Me: You went to see Zeppelin?! You bastard!
OKD: Well, I know John Paul Jones pretty well. He called and invited us. What was I supposed to do?
Me: (Notices some tall dude in the corner. What's that guy's name? Oh, yeah, Joe Nichols. I didn't know his kid went to school here. turns back) What were you supposed to do? Call me, that's what! I would have killed to see Zeppelin . . .
I am at my parents house in Orlando for Thanksgiving. I brought an extra wireless router down, and I figured I would set it up, so I could use my own computer and not navigate through all that hell that is AOL on theirs. I forgot the software, and it is proving to be a big pain. So I did the obvious -- I checked to see if any of their neighbors had a wireless network running. I found one. The network is called "GoVols."
I had no idea my parents lived next to a Tennessee fan. Not just a Tennessee fan, but the kind of fan who names his wireless network, "GoVols." I understand that this is my parents' retirement home that they worked a lifetime to get, but this is unacceptable. They're just going to have to move.
I went to the new Green Hills Whole Foods. It was a sub-par experience. The meat guy had no idea what skirt steak was, and when he found out they didn't have any, he didn't know if it was temporary or if they just didn't carry it. I bought a hangar steak.
There was some other stuff about my visit that kind of pissed me off, but they are new, and I'll give them a chance to get their shit together.
They do carry JewBeer though.
Followed Whole Foods up with a trip to Blue Moon Cafe, or whatever it's called, out at Rock Harbor Marina. I love me some waterfront dining, and I have always wanted to check this place out. Sit on the patio and eat and drink beer and watch the boats go by. Mmmmmm.
It was OK. Thirty bucks for catfish fingers and a bowl of chicken wings. And two beers. Here's my problem with the place: It is a funky, floating waterfront dive at a marina, and yet they have a $30 steak on the menu and a $16 chicken dish. If they change it to nothing but cheap, crappy bar food, I'll go back to sit on the water five times a month. Until that day, I'll go to the Hooter's on Harding and watch the trucks go by on 24 on their way to Chattanooga.
So the day wasn't a bust, but it was OK. That seems to be the theme today. I've got a hangar steak to cook. Better go light the grill.
I am heading, for the first time, to that new mecca of culinary goodness in Green Hills, Whole Foods, a.k.a. Whole Paycheck.
I've been to a couple of Whole Foods before, so I know what I'm in for. I'll admit to being a food geek, so I am glad to have a Whole Foods in Nashville. They are an excellent company with high-quality food and a well trained staff. I am leaving town on Tuesday (there will be someone staying at my house, watching my dog, all you stalker/burglars out there)so I can't do too much damage. I'm just going for dinner for tonight. Some skirt steak maybe, and perhaps some really stinky cheese.
I should be able to get out of there for less than 400 bucks.
One of the problems with being old and having a young 'un is my inability to stay up long enough to watch late night television. A bout of insomnia the other night had me watching Leno, and he had on Raul Midon.
It is rare that someone comes along with an entirely new way to play guitar. Eddie Van Halen did it. Stanley Jordan did it. Michael Hedges did it. Jeff Healey sort of did it, but he was more just playing blues guitar in an unconventional manner, like the way Jimi Hendrix played his guitar upside down and backwards. Although Jimi did break plenty of new ground, too.
If you watch this clip, which I'm sure will be removed by the New York copyright police in a day or two, listen to all the harmonics he's playing. (For the non-musicians, harmonics are "false" notes that sound above the fundamental. They are the really high, ringing notes that ring out above the percussive slapping. On a stringed instrument, you can carefully coax the harmonics out with dinner and a movie.) He is getting a sound on guitar that I have never heard the likes of before.
I got me a shiny new job last month. I'm a VP at an ad agency. The President and one of our Account Executives and I made a successful conversion of a potential client into a new client the other night by using that tried and true method used throughout advertising history, many bottles of expensive red wines and many plates full of expensive red meats.
I've been meaning to get a new work cell phone for this job, and the other night the discussion turned to the new client's iPhone. (For the uninitiated, ad agency folks live and die over having the newest, hippest stuff that Apple puts out.) He said, "You're at an agency, you gotta get an iPhone." So I did. Yesterday. Take that.
And now, for no particular reason, other than the fact that I hardly post here anymore, here is a video of "My Baby Loves Lovin'" by one-hit-wonder White Plains. Not to be confused with The White Stripes. It was one of the first records I remember buying. I was probably six or seven. I probably still have it somewhere. I can still picture the label. Of course, at age seven, I didn't realize that "My Baby Loves Lovin'" is pop-music code for "I have a really horny new girlfriend."
There is a fair chance that Karl Dean (Despite his Marxist-spelled name)will be a progressive, yet responsible mayor, leading Nashville into the future which, I think, looks really bright right now if someone doesn't come along and screw it up.
There is a very good chance that Bob Clement will continue to be a fat-cat career politician who manages to let all this current progress stall while handing out contracts to his buddies.
The deciding factor, for me, comes down to this. Clement is pandering. Clement thinks I'm stupid. Clement thinks that some vague promise of going after the Olympics is going to make him seem progressive. Whatever, we all know that ain't going to happen. But most importantly, Clement took a "pledge" to not raise property taxes. A "PLEDGE" that Dean won't take! Woohooooooo! Stop the presses!
Great "pledge" Bob. Problem is, you can't raise property taxes any more than I can. Nice try. I ain't falling for it.
(I really liked Briley. Especially now that he's finished his turnpike between the airport and 65N.)
I hate cats. Cats make me sneeze. Cats make it so I can't breathe. Cats induce severe asthma in my lungs. I certainly hate the musical "Cats." Therefore, it should come as no surprise that I don't find LOLCats funny in the least. Because two of the few things I hate more than cats are intentionally misspelled words and grammar because the words were written by animals (Eat mor chikin), and internet acronyms, especially LOL.
When Leona Helmsley died, I saw a headline referring to her by her nickname from long ago, the "Queen of Mean." I thought that was uncalled for, as she had died and one shouldn't speak ill of the departed.
Turns out she left nothing to two of her grandchildren and $12 million to her fucking dog.
I was in New York City right at the time a new smoking ban went into effect. Being a tourist, I had no idea a new smoking ban had gone into effect, it's not like they announced it on the plane upon arrival. Also, being the kind of tourist that I am, I had a specific touristy goal, and that was to have a martini at the Oak Bar in the legendary Plaza hotel.
Some people prefer the Statue of Liberty or a somber moment of reflection at Ground Zero. I prefer the famous drinking establishments.
The Oak Bar at the Plaza hotel was the smokiest bar I had ever been to in my life, and I've been in plenty. Everyone in the place was lighting up. Turns out that the fine for allowing someone to smoke in your establishment had been set at $150. All the smokers in the Oak Bar contributed money into a large tip bucket on the bar, and the place just paid the fine everyday. I thought that was a fabulous case of sticking it to the Man.
Speaking of sticking it to the man, I also remember that two martinis at the Oak Bar came to $38.
He's 26. He has a condo on West End. He's a Vandy grad. He's got the SEC fratboy haircut. And Brandt Snedeker won the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, NC, yesterday for his first PGA Tour victory, locking up Rookie-of-the-Year honors for 2007. And he shot a 63 to get it done. Not only did he get that shiny trophy, but he got a big check for $900,000. Way to go, Nashville boy. Hey Brandt, need some good advice on what to do with all that money? It's all right here.
Now for the worst commercial in the history of bad commercials.
OK, me and my buddies have a band, right? We've been on the road together for so long, we have come to the realization that all of us suffer from Erectile Dysfunction. And we all use Viagra. So we wrote a song about it. Cause, you know, we're all brothers in the fact that none of us can get it up.
Not like when we first started the band, back in '74. Damn, remember that time Rufus (the piano player) was banging that chick in the back of the VW bus while we were all "asleep" on the way to Reno? Well I wasn't sleeping, and let me tell you, that's where he got his nickname "Slugger." As in Louisville Slugger.
So anyway, thank God for Viagra! In fact, we love Viagra so much, that before we all go home and get laid, we're going to sing a song about it! Because we're all hip old guys just sitting around in this Roadhouse in the middle of nowhere singing our Viagra song!
"This lonesome toad's getting sick of the road, I can't wait (Can't wait") can' wait to go home. Viva Viagra! Viva Viagra! Viva, Viva Viagra!"
I know it is a commercial, suspension of disbelief and all that, but come on. A whole band of ethnically and socially diverse old men not only admitting, but joyously shouting to the heavens that they have the dirty little secret of E.D.?
I got a phone solicitation last night on behalf of the Tony Tenpenny for Metro Council campaign. Now, I haven't even begun to look into the Metro Council campaign, other than what I read in passing and who has the most yard signs. (Tenpenny leads in the yard sign category in my neighborhood.) One thing I remember reading is that Tenpenny has been arrested six times.
There is no way in hell I'm voting for this guy. Not because of the arrests, mind you. Youthful indiscretion, bygones be bygones and all that. I'm not voting for him because the phone call I got last night was on my cell phone. I don't know where they got the number, but as far as I'm concerned, the Tenpenny campaign stole two or three minutes from me. Those are minutes that I have to pay for.
Assault I can live with. DUI? He says he's sober now. Solicitation of drugs? It's a disease, just send me to rehab. But calling me on my cell? Show him the consolation prize, Johnny.
I drive an SUV. I have for most of my adult life. I have had many jobs where I've needed to carry a lot of stuff around and needed it to stay dry. My SUV gets pretty crappy mileage. Lately, with gas prices so high, I have chosen to not take certain trips in order to save gas. I do care about the environment and the earth, but those decisions have been economical, not green.
I like my Chevy Tahoe. It's been good to me. What I don't like is people blaming me for the 100 degree temperatures we've been having lately in Nashville. That's just ridiculous. Save your smug, sarcastic, holier-than-thou, we're-killing-the-planet-yet-you-still-drive-an-SUV crap for someone else. Those comments are falling on deaf ears here. If I was in the market for a new car, I would get an SUV. If there was one available that ran on tap water, you better believe I'd buy it. But there isn't so I can't. So, until then, I'll continue to get shitty mileage.
So, to all the people who are disgusted by my vehicle choice, let's get a little perspective, shall we?
Let's talk about trucks. Eighteen wheelers, box trucks, milk trucks, refrigerated trucks. There are millions of them, criss-crossing the planet, carrying goods from factories to consumers every day. What kind of mileage do they get? I bet my Tahoe does better. Do you have anything in your house that wasn't made locally? How do you think it got here? That couch you're sitting on? It was made in North Carolina. It had to get here somehow. You're killing the planet.
Speaking of moving goods to consumers, what about container ships? You ever run the mind-bogglingly huge maze of piers on a ship in Los Angeles Harbor or Hong Kong? I have. You wouldn't believe how many container ships are chugging around the world's oceans right now. They burn millions of gallons of fuel every year. How did that IKEA desk get from Sweden to your place? Do you have anything in your house made in China? I bet you do, you naughty little judgmental person, you. You're killing the planet, yet you insist on cranking up your Dave Matthews through a Japanese tuner and Korean-made speakers.
Take a cruise, kill the planet. You can't get 2500 people from Miami to St. Thomas to San Juan to Nassau and back on wishes and unicorns, now can you? Especially if they want to travel in air-conditioned comfort and eat food that has been cooked in ovens. The hot tub on Lido Deck is hot because it runs on electricity which is created on board by generators that burn fuel to keep that little floating city just chock full of electricity.
Go water skiing, kill the planet. Boats get notoriously bad mileage. I was flying into Baltimore last week and saw hundreds of pleasure boats tooling around the bay. A bunch of inconsiderate bastards, I tell you. I have a friend who is a Yacht captain in Ft. Lauderdale. You think $80 to fill up a Tahoe is bad, every time his boss wants to go somewhere, he has to fuel up to the tune of thousands of dollars. The bigger boats don't measure in miles per gallon, but gallons per mile. A three-hour tour indeed.
Speaking of flying, what about airplanes? They too, burn thousands of gallons of fuel. If you've been a passenger on a plane, you're killing the planet. Especially if you are selfish enough to take a pleasure trip, like a vacation. Go see granny in Des Moines for Thanksgiving, kill the planet. And don't get me started on FedEx. If someone ships a package from San Fransisco to Seattle, chances are it flies to Memphis and back out. All you selfish bastards who absolutely positively have to have something delivered over night are killing the planet.
Let's not leave out about the military. Not just our military and the Iraq war., but all worldwide military forces. How fuel efficient are tanks and Humvees and armored vehicles? And think about all the military forces all over the world running training and exercises every day. You think an aircraft carrier loaded with 5000 soldiers and 50 jet fighters doesn't burn a little fuel, constantly chugging around the oceans of the world? Don't forget the Destroyers and Battleships and Escorts and Frigates. And then you have those jet fighters, Apaches, Blackhawks and C-130s. How much fuel is pissed away when there is a fly-over at a football game? Support the NFL, kill the planet.
How much fuel does a TV station piss away covering drive-time traffic or a low-speed car chase with a helicopter? Don't forget about heavy machinery like cranes, bulldozers, backhoes and cement trucks. Those things drink fuel like water. If you work in a multi-story building, or walk on a sidewalk, you're killing the planet. I read an articlethat said your lawn mower emits more greenhouse gases per gallon of gas than your car. How many of you who sneer at me and my SUV cut your grass?
I do what I can. I have cut my electric consumption at home in half from last summer to this summer. I would like to see a world that didn't use fossil fuels for energy. Solar, wind, cold fusion -- bring it on. When someone invents an alternative to our dependency on both transportation and oil, I'll be first to get on board. But until then, you are not going to get me to feel responsible for the fact that it was 102 in the shade yesterday. It reminds me of someone who has a closet full of leather belts and shoes and jackets, but is a vegetarian because eating meat is cruel to animals.
Next time you go to a movie theater to watch the latest Lord of the Rings saga, think about how much fuel was burned from start to finish to make that movie. All the trucks, cars, trailers, generators, helicopters and airline flights from Hollywood to Auckland and back. All those resources pissed away on a freaking movie. You blame my Tahoe for the heat. I blame Tolkien.
I was a big baseball fan growing up. I played it and had the baseball cards and learned to read box scores in the paper and followed the pennant races and watched it on TV. I didn't grow up in a major league city, so I only went to one game as a kid. Braves, Cardinals on a visit to Atlanta. I saw Hank Aaron and Joe Torre hit home runs. The game went into extra innings, I think 13, and we were out till midnight. It was great.
I followed Aaron's home run record chase intently. I remember him coming up just short at the end of the season and having to wait an entire off-season to see him hit 714 and 715. It was an exciting time for a baseball loving kid.
Then I went off to college in Dallas, and I was in a major league city. We would go see the Rangers on a whim, as bleacher seats were cheap enough that even on a college budget we had enough for a stop in one of the local Arlington strip clubs on the way home. ("Seriously, dude, I think she likes me.")
But through a combination of all the strikes and lockouts and crap that baseball went through, I completely lost interest. And I can't get it back. I moved to South Florida the year the Marlins first won the World Series. I thought I might be able to get it back then, but Huizenga went and sold off the entire team and they went in the crapper. I got tickets to a game a couple of years later, and there were just over 5,000 people there. It was pathetic in a stadium that holds 60,000 for Dolphin games. That didn't rekindle my interest. In fact, I think we left around the fifth inning.
I do remember the "summer that saved baseball" with McGuire and Sosa hitting ridiculous amounts of home runs. I didn't follow it because they were so obviously juiced up on steroids. And now, when people say, "we didn't know at the time that they were on steroids," I just have to laugh. Anyone who has spent any time in a gym knows what guys using steroids look like. It's like the skinny chick with the huge, perfectly round tits up under her chin with the three inch gap between them that is stretched so tight you can see her sternum. We know they're fake, she knows there fake, there's nothing more to see here, just keep moving. It is impossible to get the body that McGuire or Sosa had without help. We (my friends and I) knew those guys were on steroids. I don't remember any of us being outraged, it was just a fact. For people to say they didn't know at the time is a joke.
So Bonds broke Hank's record sometime this week. I don't care. I have noticed some people trying to play the race card against the white establishment sports writers. These are the same sports writers who have raked the white McGuire over the coals and who think Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods can actually walk on water. I watched Aaron break the white man's record, and he did it in the South. There was some racial tension there. Bonds? Give me a break.
My kid doesn't have a real common name, but then again neither do I. The dot com domain of my name was available for the longest time, I just kept putting off registering it and putting it off and putting it off, and finally, someone with my name who is a magician in Ft. Wayne, Indiana registered it. I don't know what I would have ever used it for, but I know now that the answer is nothing.
So the dot com of my kid's name is available. I've been checking it since she was little. She's six now, I figure I have time, I mean, c'mon, that's something like $17 a year. The thing is, if she has her own domain, when she's 16 she'll be the coolest kid in school, because by then owning your name as a dot come will be as rare as a president that isn't a Clinton or a Bush. So I did the next best thing. I registered her name at Gmail. Because it's free, and Google isn't going anywhere. (They're at least as solid as Oldsmobile and Braniff.) Hopefully, when all her friends have emails like NashGirlGoTitans02202001IlikePuppies at Gmail dot com, they will all marvel at the fact that my kid's dad had the foresight to register her a simple, memorable Email address -- her name -- when she was a kid.
Or, when all her friends have their own dot com domain names, they will marvel at the fact that her dad was too cheap to spend $17 a year for her to have her own.
There is a big stink going on (again) between Liz Garrigan and "the bloggers." Liz is the Editor or publisher or something of the Nashville Scene. I may have met her once, I'm not sure. Liz says this:
Most bloggers wouldn’t last an hour under the journalistic quality control that a newspaper demands.
OK, first off, she's absolutely right. Most bloggers wouldn't. As long as you include all the bloggers on places like MySpace, where most of the entries are, "OMG! I totqaly got wassted last nit. LOL! I thnk I hokked up w/this cute guy.................cant rmeber!! LOL!!!!"
But methinks she's not talking about the MySpace bloggers. She's talking about the Blogspot and Wordpress bloggers. The occasional ones who can spell and know grammar and know how to develop lucid, persuasive arguments. That's a whole different animal.
Until blogging came along, it was rare that you could read the writing on a regular basis of someone you didn't know who wasn't a journalist. Now there are thousands of people like that. And it is a shock to the old school journalism set that there are other people out there who can write.
The Scene has had a holier-than-thou attitude toward area bloggers for a long time. There was once a parody of what went on at a blogger Christmas party, and it reeked of a juvenile piss-take written by the jocks, making fun of the geeks. It was truly pathetic, because it wasn't funny. And it struck home with me because I hosted that particular party at my restaurant, and I was only blogger that was (sort of) identified.
The main content in most Nashville-based blogs last week was about a meeting of bloggers at a restaurant owned by a blogger. Bloggers blogged about their anticipation of the event, they posted photos on their blogs of themselves with other bloggers, and many bloggers rushed home to blog about how nice it was to meet people who are bloggers—just like themselves!
“It was so neat to put faces with the blogging personalities,” one blogger says. “And I was surprised to learn that several of them have jobs.”
Now don't get me wrong. I wasn't offended. It just wasn't funny. Comedy ain't easy, folks, especially in print. And considering the condescending tone the Scene had against the bloggers, it just reeked of arrogance. Of course, many bloggers have taken a condescending tone toward the Scene as well. But the "journalistic quality control that a newspaper demands" also includes being above the fray of criticism. Most of the bloggers taking shots at the Scene have readerships in the tens or hundreds. Goliath, just ignore David and you won't get hurt.
I have been a journalist. I was not formally trained in college. Who cares. I was recommended by a friend. My interview went like this:
"So, you've got a degree with an English minor?"
"OK, go on in and get started. They'll show you around."
And I learned quickly. I worked at a publisher of sports magazines. My first job was a fact-checker. My training was this: "Everything that is a fact, you need to check. Everything. I don't care if it is 'Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs.' Look up the spelling and the home run total." And all those facts, no matter how mundane or obvious, got checked by three different people. That's the essence of the journalistic quality control she talks about. It ain't rocket surgery.
I have been published hundreds of times in countless newspapers. The most recent one was here, last week. I wrote that story. Every word. (Actually the opening sentence was changed to include the Sports Council, creating a grammatical error.) It was copied off a press release that I sent out. I have to write press releases in a manner that they can be copied, because in my experience, "quality control" and "journalistic standards" mean that if I don't write a good release that can be copied verbatim, you're not getting coverage. No one has ever called me on any press release I've ever sent out to question a fact. Never. Clarification, yes. Facts, no.
Granted, I'm not writing hard news. But that is the problem with Garrigan's broad generalization. That rigorous standard is played fast and loose at newspapers, depending on the topic. Is a pool tournament going to get the Woodward and Bernstein treatment before it goes in a local community paper? Of course not. Newspapers run press releases and wire stories every day. Without checking anything.
Do I hold my blog to Liz's high standards? Hell no. Why should I? I'm Nashville Knucklehead, fer chrissakes. If I did, I'd have to take this sentence:
Liz is the Editor or publisher or something of the Nashville Scene.
And find out what her title is, and get the AP Style Book out and find out if "Editor" and "publisher" should be capitalized or not, and italicize the name of the paper. And then go back and check all the facts and edit for content and style. Fuck that. It's a blog.