Monday, January 30, 2006

Warm Beer! Get Your Warm Beer Here!

I had to open one of the cold beers I picked up a minute ago at my neighborhood convenience store before I tackled this one:

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A state senator wants to force Missouri stores to sell warm beer. Under a bill by Sen. Bill Alter, grocery and convenience stores would risk losing their liquor licenses if they sold beer colder than 60 degrees. The intent is to cut down on drunken driving by making it less tempting to pop open a beer after leaving the store.

"The only reason why beer would need to be cold is so that it can be consumed right away," Alter, who has been a police offer for more than 20 years, said Thursday.

He said the idea came from a fifth-grade student in Jefferson County who was participating in a program to teach elementary students about state government. He sought their suggestions for new laws and chose the cold beer ban from a list of the top three ideas.

"I thought it had the best chance at getting legislative attention," said Alter, R-High Ridge. "Plus, I think it's a good idea whether or not other people do."

Dear Esteemed Honorable Legislator Officer Citizen Missourian Colonel Alter,

I travel. I have been to your state. I will not return.

You must be wondering why.

Is it because I often stop to buy cold beer for the cooler on the way to a day of skiing and boating and swimming with my friends on one of your beautiful lakes?


Is it because when I am traveling I don't always have a refrigerator in my hotel room and I might want to have a cold beer while watching your local news?


Is it because voters in your state elected a self-righteous blowhard who introduces absurd alcohol-control legislation suggested by a 10-year-old that he thinks "is a good idea whether or not other people do?"

No, Mr. Alter, it is because you haven't taken this brilliant idea of overarching legislative societal protection nearly far enough. Obviously, out-of-control alcoholics could buy warm beer and use newfangled "refrigeration" technology to chill it. The only reason for a person to chill beer is to consume it right away, get in a car and run over puppies and minorities. My four-year-old suggests that you ban all refrigerators that chill below 60 degrees.

But wait, what about cold weather? Unemployed, homeless, tatooed, ex-convict, non-rehabilitated, recently paroled serial rapists could use snow drifts to chill warm beer after they steal it, consume it right away, hot wire cars and crash them into innocent poplars and elms, thereby driving up insurance rates and driving down photosynthesis rates for all Missouri-ites. My arborist suggests you ban any accumulated precipitation that registers below 60 degrees.

But wait, in France, when they aren't drinking wine, they drink warm beer. Once you ban cold beer, the only thing left will be warm French beer. Hard-working, adult, church-going, tax-paying, non-hispanic, caucasian Missouri union members could buy above-60-degree French beer, be confused by the labels, accidentally consume it right away while driving and kill both French and non-French tourists. Those tourists' deaths would prevent them from spending their pesos and francs and lira in your state, leaving a budget shortfall which could drive up property taxes and interest rates, thereby increasing the number of mortgage defaults and home repossessions, making education a burden for Missouri families, forcing you to legalize gambling and prostitution and cock fighting and crack just to make ends meet. That is a very slippery slope, my friend. Missouri native Sheryl Crow
suggests you ban France.

Obviously, until you do, people will drink and drive and kill kittens and endangered snail darters and the ozone layer and lots of other stuff.

I was going to go to Busch (what incredible irony!!!) Stadium next summer to take in a game, but the thought of drinking warm French beer at a baseball game in the heartland of our great nation seems unpatriotic. You, sir, are obviously nothing more than a family-hating, baseball-bashing, France-loving, leftist, reactionary, right-wing, Bush-booing, knee-jerk, bleeding-heart, evil-doing, designated-hitter supporting, waffling, ultra-conservative, fence-sitting, anti-American, unfair and unbalanced Taliban sympathizer.

"Show me" some tourist dollars? Not until you get tough on France, buddy.


Knuck L. Head
Non-Missouri-Bound, Traveling, Money-Spending, Cold-Budweiser-Drinking Nashvillian

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Heavy Lifting

Dude. I like to work out, but you, Mr. Fitness, you really like to work out. You are totally cut, dude, I mean ripped. What are you, about 46? All the more reason for the respect.

Personally, I quit wearing the skin tight stuff around the time I turned 30. But you have worked hard to get your physique, so go on with your painted-on green Under Armour second skin look. If asked, I'm sure you would say that it allows you to go through your full range of motion on every exercise without any pulling or binding. We all know that's bullshit, you're vain and you're showing off. No problem. I bet you kill with the ladies, especially the late 30s freshly divorced set. You're certainly a man who cares about what those around you think of your appearance.

Well, I'm around you right now, and I do have one little problem. It's those straps dangling from your wrists. You know, the ones you use to get a better grip when you clip on a 45 and do your pull-ups. They're just flopping around everywhere you go and it's really distracting. You're not doing pull-ups right now. In fact, look around. You're in a Home fucking Depot. So here's what I think of your appearance: You look like a dick.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Modest Proposal

I saw a discussion the other night on TV posing the question, "Why don't we have any great leaders these days?" The usual blathering ensued about how the human spirit is built for the cream to rise to the top when humanity is faced with unique and acute crisis situations such as those faced by Lincoln and Truman and Washington, and we haven't had a real "crisis" to force a call for strong leadership in a long time.

I'm not buying it. I'll tell you what the problem is. The great leaders can't afford it. The jobs suck.

Expecting a highly qualified, proven leader to be a public servant simply for the greater good of humanity is pie-in-the-sky bullshit. The leadership jobs in all levels of Government are crappy jobs. I think that the job of Councilperson or Mayor or Governor or President should be a desirable career move. The number one issue on the desirablility of a job is, in most cases, salary. Let's look at Tennesse Governor for example. There are many highly educated, bright, articulate people with both common sense and extensive business experience who would do a great job running the state. But why would they want to take the pay cut?

Let's say you're a Tennessee native, you busted your ass through undergrad at Sewanee, then put yourself through graduate school at Vanderbilt to get your MBA or your J.D. You spent four years in the Navy. You've been running a multi-million dollar company for the last 15 years, making it lean, mean and profitable, and you're looking for a new challenge. There's a $30 billion dollar company that needs someone to run it, it's called the State of Tennessee. If you want the job, you have to go through the dog and pony show required to raise millions of dollars to run a campaign where half the people in the state will automatically call you an idiot if you don't own a gun, and the other half will call you one if you do. Then when you get the job, it pays a whopping $85,000 a year. But you do get medical and dental, two weeks paid vacation, and free admission to Dollywood for life.

Meanwhile, the Nissan headquarters that is moving to Franklin is bringing in a thousand jobs averaging $80,000. You'd be better off taking a middle management job at Nissan than running the state. Why would anyone that's not a rich, egomaniacal power grabber want, or even be able to take, that job?

This is why you have the Frists and the Bushes and the Kennedys and the Bayhs in a revolving door of power. They're really rich. They can afford to take the pay cut required to have the top jobs.

Back to the Governor job. I say let's pay the Governor, oh, I don't know, $775,000. Or $2.63 million. Or $4.6 million. Something to really attract the best people to the job. And put a bonus package in there, where if he or she cleans up the bloated government mess, cuts a bunch of fat and everything comes in on time and under budget, he or she can make another million or two. And let's do this on a relative scale with the City Council. And the Mayor. And the Congress. And the Senate. And the President. Let's bring the payscale up to modern standards to be in line with the requirements of the jobs. How about a little capitalism mixed in with our democracy? I'd rather pay them up front than have developers and contractors and lobbyists pay them under the table. Maybe we'd get some really qualified people in those jobs with vision and nerve who are more interested in getting things done right and less interested in opinion polls and having their egos stroked at the First Methodist Spaghetti Dinner back home.

I know that this approach could create its own set of problems. You might argue that it would make them even more interested in opinion polls. But could it really be worse than what we have going on now? One thing is for sure, the young Jack Welches of the world aren't going to have any interest in trying to get those jobs until we change the jobs themselves.

If you think it's too much money, read my post from yesterday.

Monday, January 23, 2006

A little financial perspective

Alex Rodriguez made $26 million to play baseball last year. When those kinds of salaries are announced, people talk about how much that is per game or per at bat, but it is still too much to comprehend. I have a different perspective.

He makes $71,233 a day, every day of the year. That is $2,968 and hour, all day every day, just to be Alex Rodriguez. That's $49 a minute. I wonder what my day so far would have been like in his world.

Woke up from a good night's sleep. (Eight hours: $23,744)
Took a crap. (8 minutes, $392)
Got some work done. (2.5 hours, $7,420)
Found my calculator($113) and wrote this stupid weblog entry. ($980)

Can you imagine asking a woman out on a date, going to dinner and a movie, going to her place and having sex, and being $14,000 to the good by the time you get home? No wonder those guys get laid so much.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Dear Eager New Marketing Director,

I know what you are trying to do. It isn't working. I know you have visions of moving up to something bigger, say the WNBA or the X-games or the Nationwide tour. I am impressed that you managed to persuade the board of directors to spend all that money on an unprecedented saturation of sports radio and TV. You probably convinced them that bowling could be the next poker. It isn't working.

Your approach is laughable. You will not get new viewers with your edgy new "Sundays are for Bowling!" ad campaign. Your bowling match or tourney or whatever you call it just came on. I turned the TV off. I will turn it back on in one hour when the football pregame comes on. My friends will arrive and we will eat ribs and drink beer and talk of the Titans chances next year and Bettis' fumble last week. The subject of bowling will not be discussed. This is America. Sundays are for football.

If only you had waited for the sports void that occurs after the Super Bowl, you might have kept your job.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Satur-gay Night's All Wrong

You said "somebody."

What are you doing? Wait. No, No, No. You're not going to . . .

Don't. You. Dare.

Oh, Good God. You did it.

You said, "he." I heard you plain as day. You said, "he." How could you do such a thing?!?

Look, I know you're gay. Everybody knows you're gay. I mean everybody. I know what a struggle you went through early in your life and what a monumental decision it was for you to come out. But believe me, we knew already. Telling us you were gay was as shocking as telling us water is wet. I know you danced with personal demons for decades, and you feel comfortable and free in your gay lifestyle. So go ahead, be gay. I don't care, not one little bit. But, for God's sake, have some decency. Be a professional.

I know the words. I know them as well as my mother's voice or my kid's birthday. I've known them for 30 years. I didn't mishear you. You were supposed to say:

"They're packed pretty tight in here tonight
I'm looking for a dolly who'll see me right"

You said, "I'm looking for somebody to see me right."

That is an impossible mistake for you to make. I knew you were up to to something, you little scoundrel. So I paid attention. Hard. You were supposed follow it with:

"I may use a little muscle to get what I need
I might sink a little drink and shout out, 'She's with me'"

You said, "he's with me." You fucking said, "he's" with me!"

The worst thing was, you tried to sneak it by us, no fanfare, no wink, no sly raising of an eyebrow. I have a 52" flat screen with high-def digital cable and dolby surround system built into the walls and ceiling. The camera was tight on your face. The volume was up. It wasn't a mistake. You changed the words. You said "he." You made it gay.

I didn't really like it when you changed "Goodbye Norma Jean" to "Goodbye English Rose." But I know Diana was your friend, and it was a time of great sorrow. I'll give you a pass on that one.

But dude, you can't go back and gay-ify that song. It is one of the most recognized songs in the history of popular music. It's not "Saturday Night's Alright for Decorating." It's "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" for God's sake. It's getting drunk and fighting over a hot street-tough chick in some smokey bar in Liverpool or Manchester. It's not getting drunk and fighting over some dude in leather chaps with a handlebar moustache in a bar on Duval Street in Key West.

Until this moment, the image I had in my head during that song was James Dean throwing back a shot of whiskey and landing a right cross to Brando's jaw so he could steal away into the night with Natalie Wood. By changing that one little word, I now picture Richard Simmons taking the last sip of his Kir Royale and bitch-slapping a squealing Christopher Lowell so he can steal away into the night with Anderson Cooper.

Is that what you want? Is that really what you want?

Good God, what's next? "Do Let Your Son Go Down on Me"? "Cockophile Rock"?

Stop the madness. I'm begging you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Blue Neon of Kentucky, Keep On Shining

I read the headline on a Kentucky license plate for the first time yesterday. It goes like this.

It's That Friendly

Uh . . . Ok . . .I'll bite.

It's what friendly?

What marketing genius signed off on that one?

Here's what I think happened. State Senator Buford J. McHicksley decided that the Kentucky tourism board needed a catchy new slogan to get people to, uh, tourism more in Kentucky. So they hired a high-powered ad agency in Louisville to come up with something clever, pithy and inviting. The high-powered ad agency did some polling of focus groups and made their recommendations. They suggested things like, "My New Kentucky Home" and "Beautiful Bluegrass and More" and "The Friendliest Folks On Earth." This ad agency then billed the state of Kentucky $649,088 for its time and services.

So the recommendations went to committee, and the honorable Mr. McHicksley says, "I like that 'friendliest' one. But I got a better idea. We'll change it just a smidge to 'Kentucky. It's That Friendly.' Whad'ya'll think?" And because he was the chair of that committee, and a senior member of the Senate, no one dared mention the fact that he had come up with a monumentally stupid and entirely meaningless catch phrase. His idea was passed unopposed and the Commonwealth of Kentucky is now stuck with a slogan that doesn't make any fucking sense.

I ask you again, Kentucky, it's what friendly? I want an answer! Kentucky is what friendly?!

Then I saw that the car had a sticker on the back window that says "In memory of the 9/11 victims." What is in memory of the victims? The sticker? The back window of your car? The whole car? Usually people plant a tree or build a museum or commission a statue in "memory" of dead people. But you, Mr./Ms. Cutting-Edge Kentuckian, are spitting in the face of centuries of traditional memorial convention by dedicating the rear defroster of your '94 Dodge Neon to all three thousand 9/11 victims. It must be a great comfort to the victims' families to know that there is a dented, decade-old blue sedan with an overflowing ashtray whose trunk is 1/3000th dedicated to each departed soul from that tragic day. Not to mention the fact that your mobile memorial is tooling around in the state that has pridefully declared itself to be "that friendly."

It's not your sentiment, it's your literacy. Bless your hearts.

Listen, Kentucky. Next time you need a slogan, call me. I have a great one:

We Make Bourbon.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Drug Induced Canine Truce

I don't like my dog. It is a weird position to be in. I really don't like her. But we're working on it.

I am, by nature, a dog lover. I had one dog growing up from the age of five until after I went away to college. I've had dogs since, usually a dog I picked out as a puppy, always a dog that I got to train and mold and teach good behavior and tricks. I had a yellow lab in college, Hammer, that I taught to get me beer out of the refrigerator. Now that was a dog. I had a great Golden Retreiver until a couple of years ago. Lost her in the divorce. Ouch.

Me and kiddo started talking about getting a dog several months ago. I thought I'd be a good citizen and get a shelter dog, an adult that is already housebroken and well-behaved. We went to a shelter but there wasn't really a dog there that "spoke" to me. But there was no way you can promise a 4-year-old a dog, go to a shelter and then leave without taking one home. So we decided on Daisy. She was small and timid, and she licked kiddo's face a lot.

One day, shortly after we got settled in with Daisy, Kiddo and I went out for a couple of hours. I had left her inside before, and there wasn't a problem. Well that day, she destroyed six sets of blinds on the three sets of french doors in my den. I mean destroyed them. They are expensive.

"All right, you little fucker" I said, "this means war."

She looked right at me and said, "Bring it on, old man. Let's see what you got."

She had a great stategy. She would do stuff she knew was wrong, then wait for me to get mad, at which point she would cower and pee on whatever surface she was on at the time -- floors, carpets, couches, beds, didn't matter. You couldn't get mad at her for being on the bed, because if you do, she'd pee on it. Very Clever. And she was conniving, too. One night, she came back to my bedroom to check that I was asleep, before going back to the kitchen, getting up on the counter and helping herself to a pan of fresh baked key lime squares. She checked to see that I was asleep! Well, I wasn't asleep, and I heard her, and I caught her and she jumped down, cowered and peed on the floor.

I was telling my very good friend about my problems with Daisy, who I began referring to as "that satanic little fucktard." My buddy says, "Maybe we should try some anxiety medication." He can say stuff like that. He is a veternarian.

We put her on one pill a day. It helped. She went from "satanic little fucktard" to a much milder "evil little fucker." Then I left her at the boarding facility at my Buddy's hospital for a few days over Thanksgiving. After being around her for five days, he doubled her dose. She is better now.

I was reading Brittney's account of training her dog from reading a book called "The Dog Listener." She goes into elaborate detail about becoming the Alpha in the relationship. I read it all, and this is what I took from it: Ignore the dog.

It works. We have a truce. She and Kiddo absolutely love each other. When kiddo is here, she plays a lot. When kiddo isn't here, she sleeps a lot. I ignore her. It is best for both of us. She still does stuff she knows is wrong, like get on the counter and eat the brownies or dig through the trash for chicken bones. She knows it is wrong. My buddy is a very good and experienced veternarian. He has no idea why she does it.

My theory is that her uncontrollable drive for people food is like Bill Clinton's uncontrollable drive for a blowjob. Consequences be damned, I've got to have that right now. She can't help it. I bet Clinton wishes he could have gotten out of all that trouble just by peeing on the floor.

She's locked in the playroom, watching a movie with kiddo right now. Kiddo uses her as a pillow. Cute little fucker.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sitting In

"Sitting in" is a long-standing musical tradition of joining a band on stage for a song or two. Sometimes it is welcome, sometimes exciting, sometimes it is dreadful. Years ago, some friends had a lady sit in with them during a set on a cruise ship. I found a photo of this marvelous occasion while cleaning the house today.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I feel so proud, yet so dirty

Don't read this if you are scared of naughty words. Wait, I guess you shouldn't read anything on here if you are scared of naughty words.

I was mindlessly perusing my sitemeter information when a referring page caught my eye. It seems that my humble little weblog is the #1 top result in the entire world when you search for SEX RIPPING ASSHOLES SKIMMING YOUNG WOMEN GETTING FUCK on MSN search. I can only imagine the disappointment experienced when that particular guy or gal ended up with me.

I'm still pretty hip for a man of my years. I still know how to "get down", as long as I can "get down" just once and maybe a little earlier. I try to keep up with the latest trends in all aspects of life, including sexuality. And yet, I'm unfamiliar with the term "skimming".

Anyone? I might want to try it.

p.s. I am aware that using the term "hip" to describe yourself usually means that you are not.

Breastfeeding in public

The Tennessean reports that our friends in Franklin are considering a law allowing breastfeeding in public. Do we really need a law? I guess the unfortunate fact is that some people can't take the sight of a baby being fed in a most natural manner without thinking it is going to instantly turn little Johnny who happens to be walking by into a future pervert and predator.

We grew up in a very odd time, and I think that (thankfully) the pendulum is starting to swing back. The 50s, 60s, and 70s were a very arrogant time for humans. We decided we could do everything better. My mom says I was not breastfed, because the doctors told her that formula was better. Butter is OK, but margarine is better. Cotton is OK, but rayon is better. A pork chop is OK, but an oversized pork chop pumped full of saline solution and a lifetime of hormones is better. This thinking was so pervasive, that we are stuck living that way to this day.

It is laughable that we have to pay a premium for natural and organic food. We pay extra to have humans NOT do anything to screw up our food. Natural and organic food had a stigma of being only for tree-hugging, granola-munching hippies who don't shave or bathe. Thankfully, it is going more mainstream. In other words, we are starting to regress back to the time when we didn't interfere with the natural growth of our food. Why am I glad about that? Because the stuff tastes better. A lot better. Take a bite of a Kroger pork chop and a bite of a Wild Oats pork chop. There is a huge difference.

So back to the breastfeeding. When did we decided that feeding a baby in this manner could possibly be considered indecent? It's crazy. Ladies, if you have a baby you are breastfeeding, go out in public and do it! We obviously need to be desensitized to this "indecent" sight. In fact, I'll go one better. Get 'em out whether you have a baby or not! The more boobs we see in public, the less likely we are to turn in to perverts and predators. Get 'em out! Get 'em out, I say!

Well, OK, you can wait 'till summer.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Would you sell your soul for satellite radio?

My girlfriend had a wreck the other night. She was on the wrong end of a hit and run. Actually, the driver that hit her got out, spent a couple of minutes making sure no one was hurt, then he jumped back in his car and left. Lesson: after checking for injuries, immediately write down the license number of the punk in the '78 Cutlass that hit you.

So the insurance adjuster totaled her car without even going to look at it. The damage wasn't all that bad, but it seems that airbags in a 2001 Acura are so expensive, that having them deploy is enough to declare the car a total loss. I took her to the tow yard to retrieve all her belongings. There was a pickup with Texas plates that was in pretty bad shape. With morbid curiosity I went over for a look. It had rolled, the roof was caved in and the passenger door was crunched. I looked in through the missing window at the glass all over the seat. There was blood on the airbags. Whoa, dude, that was a bad one. Hope everyone is OK.

Hey looky here, a satellite radio receiver. They're obviously not coming back for it, maybe I'll just . . .

Of course I didn't take it! That's a ticket straight to hell. I feel bad enough that the thought crossed my mind. Still, how long would it work before that dude's service got cut off . . . ?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My Comcastical Big Brother

I made the grave mistake of trying to move the modem in my house from the living room to the kitchen. My internet didn't work anymore, even when I moved it back where it started. If you've ever dealt with Comcast Tech Support, you'll appreciate how freaky it can be.

Thank you for calling comcast support, can I have your phone number with the area code please?

615 555 1234

Is this Mr. Knuck L. Head on Oak Street in Nashville, Tennessee?

Yes, I need you to turn my modem back on. I tried to move it into the kitchen and now it doesn't work.

I want you to unplug the modem and the router, turn off your computer, wait a full minute, then plug everything back in and restart your computer.

I've tried that three times already, I was just . . ."

That's OK. I'm used to it.

My computer is old, it takes a long time to restart.

That's OK, Mr. Head. I'll wait.

(Long and uncomfortable silence)

Where are you?

I'm in Guelph, Ontario. It is a small town outside of Toronto. OK, now I am going to try to turn your modem on.


Mr. Head?


I think I may have found the problem. You tried to move the modem into the kitchen at 8:43 a.m., right?


OK, the modem must have reset itself. Oh, wait. Yesterday at 9:42 p.m. you were in your blue bathroom with your laptop on fetish world and you clicked a banner ad from fatties and preggos dot com, is that right?

Uh . . .well . . .I

OK, it looks like you inadvertently released the "lonely man" virus onto your system. It either came from there or from the approximately 36 minutes you spent on sexy grannies and trannies dot com this morning, before you tried to move your modem.

Wait, I don't know what. . . I mean . . .

Oh, I'm sorry, I was mistaken.


Here it is, Mr. Head. What happened was, last night, when you ordered Hot Latin Chickas 4 on Pay Per View at 10:21 p.m., it mistakenly kicked in a parental control on your high-speed internet service, and when you moved your modem into your kitchen, an old cookie set by slutty white chicks enormous black dicks dot com caused the system to shut itself down. I can turn it on, if you'll just go into the playroom and turn off your daughter's Light Bright.

What? Turn off her . . .

Yes, sir, the new model Light Bright sometimes interferes with our signal. It is a bug in our system we are trying to work out with Hasbro. Is she enjoying the Bella Dancerella DVD she got for Christmas?

Uh, yeah . . . how do you . . .

They're so cute at that age. That should do it. Is your modem working now?

Yes. Uh . . . yes it is. I guess that's . . .

Oh, and Mr. Head?


I'm going to go ahead and add the extra cable line you split off and ran to your pool on Sept 21st at 3:31 p.m. to your bill. We'd hate for you to miss any games next summer. And one more thing.


Just a friendly reminder, if you don't get your minimum payment in by tomorrow on your Citibank card, they are going to raise your interest rate. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Uh, no. . .thanks.

No problem sir, thank you for calling Comcast High-Speed Internet.

Monday, January 09, 2006

That's right, no beer

Bob Krumm is a wise man. Why, you ask? Because it seems that he actually reads what the Knucklehead has to say. He was unaware that the state park golf courses don't sell beer, and asked if the Bear Trace courses did. The answer, Bob, is no. In fact, four of the five Bear Trace courses are in state parks. The only one that isn't in a park, Ross Creek Landing, is the one that is staying private. (I haven't played that one, so I don't know if it is dry or not.) I will say this, golf bags are very roomy, and many golfers stop at the convenience store on the way to playing the Bear Trace courses. If the courses made a buck or two on the empty beer cans and bottles they find in the trash bins located around their "alcohol-free" courses, they would make a lot of money.

I remember when the Bear Trace was announced, we all kind of shrugged and said, "Don't we already have a bunch of state park golf courses?" Now we have four more. I think the total of state-run courses is 12, spread over hundreds of miles. Only a major player in the world of professional golf course management would consider taking on that kind of challenge. What makes the state think they can do it?

As Krumm said, "there's a larger point to be made about the concept of the government running enterprises that should be private, or as in the case of golf courses, are actually in competition with private companies. Since government entities necessarily bow to political whims that limit them (like not selling beer on a golf course), they are already at a competitive disadvantage." That is exactly what's happening here. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if the courses quit referring to the condition of their "greens" and started calling them "putting surfaces" in order to avoid the perception of having a color bias.

Titans put the fun in dysfunction

Disclaimer: I am a pro football fan and a fan of the Tennessee Titans.

Now that I got that out of the way, I say the Titans need to just start all over again. I'm not talking about firing Jeff Fisher or trading Pacman, I'm talking about wiping the slate clean and completely starting over again.

Gather 'round children and listen to a tale of a completely dysfunctional NFL football franchise.

Once upon a time, Bud Adams got into a pissing contest with the city of Houston over the construction of a new stadium. Nashville pulled Bud aside and said, "We'll give you whatever you want, Buddy boy, if you'll move your team to Nashville." Bud said, "Anything I want? OK, Nashville, you've got yourself a professional tackle football team!"

Problem was, Nashville didn't have a stadium for them to play in. So we turned to Memphis, a city that already had a stadium and had been trying to land an NFL franchise for years. Now, Nashville and Memphis have a wonderful relationship where genteel Southern protocol masks a deeply rooted venomous acriomony that I can only compare to Aunt Bea and Clara at a Mayberry pickling contest.

So, Nashville turned to Memphis and said, "Memphis, we here in Nashville, the Capital of our great state of Tennessee, have managed to do something you couldn't do for years, not that you didn't try your best, bless your hearts, which is land an NFL franchise. Now this team is going to play for all of the citizens of the great State of Tennessee (under the breath: even all the thugs and criminals in Memphis), so do be a dear won't you, and let us use your cute little ol' Liberty Bowl until we build a real stadium here in the Capital of the great state of Tennessee, Nashville.

Now Memphis was stuck, because it would be completely against good Southern decorum to say no, so Memphis plastered on a most sarcastic fake smile and said, "Why, we'd be delighted to host your football team for a couple of years, after all, as you said, it is a team for all the citizens of the great state of Tennessee." (translation: We've been trying to get a team here for decades, even going so far as to have a USFL franchise, then you come along, flop down on your back and open your legs, uh, excuse us, we mean wallets for Bud Adams, promising the keys to the city and a hooker in every locker, and you want us to let them play here until you've built a stadium?!? You've completely lost your fucking minds!!")

So announcements were made and press releases sent and the team moved to the banks of the mighty Mississippi, and the thugs and criminals, er . . uh, I mean fine citizens of Memphis did the unthinkable. They stayed away in droves. So Nashville said, "Bless your hearts, Memphis, we really appreciate everything you've done, but we're going to go ahead and move the team here, to the Capital of the great state of Tennessee, so the team can really start playing for all of the citizens of the great State of Tennessee (even all the thugs and criminals in Memphis)." And so the Tennessee Oilers played at Vanderbilt. A true low point in the history of the NFL.

Then they decided to change the name to something more Tennessee-like. After much debate and water-cooler talk, the announcement was made: the Tennessee TITANS!!

Fans: huh?

You know, Greek Mythology? The titans were a race of gods who were the parents and precursors of the Olympians. You know, Atlas, Hyperion, Kronos? Nashville is the Athens of the South, right? Anyone?

Fans: huh?

OK, OK, how about this --they were great and mighty giants who took no prisioners and could whip everybody's ass!!

Fans: Whip everybody's ass?!? Yaaaaaaaay Titans!

So we get this team named after the gods of Greek literature who, by the way, were soundly defeated by a younger generation of dieties led by Zeus (whose last name -- few people know this -- was Manning), a team whose moniker is most recently associated with a cruise ship that hit an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage, and we construct them a big building to play in on the East Bank and we call it the Coliseum, which is a big building from Roman literature. In Greece there would be a Stadium. Oops!

Greek, Roman, what's the difference? That's like saying there's a difference between Afghanistan and Iraq.

Then we get the logo. Is it a great and mighty giant from Greek literature, marauding around the gridiron, taking no prisioners and whipping everybody's ass? No, it is (drumroll, please) a flaming comet with three stars surrounding a dagger in the shape of a "T"!!!!!!

Fans: huh?

Then we got our mascot. Is it a great and mighty giant from Greek literature, marauding around the gridiron, taking no prisioners and whipping everybody's ass? No, it is (drumroll please) a raccoon!!!

Fans: huh?

OK, first the logo. The fire represents the fire that burns in the bellies of all our players, the dagger is representative of the "fight to the death" mentality we will bring to all our games, and the stars are taken from the Tennessee flag, because this team is here to play for all of the citizens of the great State of Tennessee (even all the thugs and criminals in Memphis).

Fans: huh?

OK, how about the mascot. The raccoon has a ubiquitous presence throughout Tennessee, and has been important throughtout our history. You remember Davy Crockett and his coonskin cap? And the "T" in his name, T-Rac, stands for Tennessee, because the Titans play for all of the citizens of the great State of Tennessee (even all the thugs and criminals in Memphis).

Fans: huh?

OK, OK, how about this -- In ancient times, a great and mighty giant from Greek literature once rode a firey comet through the three stars of sport and competition and landed in Rome, where he went to the Coliseum with his mighty T-shaped dagger and his trusty companion, his raccoon T-Rac, and proceded to take no prisioners and whip everybody's ass!!!

Fans: Whip everybody's ass?!?! Yaaaaaaaaay Titans!!

And that is where we stand today. So it is time to start over. This team isn't the "Tennessee" Titans anymore than the NBA team in Memphis is the "Tennessee" Grizzlies. I will bet you a PSL that there aren't any more than a handful of season ticket holders from Memphis. Or Knoxville or Chattanooga or Johnson City for that matter. It is Nashville's team. So, now that we suck and the team is completely off the national media radar, it is time for a total makeover. I'll start by submitting that the team should be renamed the Nashville Knuckleheads. And the logo should be a mighty fist. And the mascot should, of course, be me.

I'll dress with the cheerleaders.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Not-So-Instant Karma Gonna Get You

Front page story on Tennessean yesterday: CD sales are down. Album sales across the board are down 7.2%. Legal digital downloads are up. Does this surprise anyone other than the record companies? From the story:

One downside to the digital bonanza, though, is that the sale of single tracks generally brings only a few pennies compared with CDs that sell for $15 to $20.

With album sales down and digital sales way up, what is Music Row and the rest of the music industry to make of this news?

"Bottom line: It was a down year," said Geoff Mayfield, director of charts and senior analyst for Billboard magazine.

"Spinning it as anything but that would be like gift wrapping the garbage," he said.

While sales of digital tracks — downloaded from pay sites — shot up 150% to 352.7 million units in 2005, and digital album sales went up 194% to 16.2 million, Mayfield pointed out that compared with the rest of the industry's sales, digital remains a drop in the bucket in terms of revenue for the overall music market.

"Not to diminish digital sales, but what tends to get forgotten is that CDs still comprise the vast majority of the money that's being made for record companies," he said.

The mainstream music industy needs to change or all those middle management guys who don't know a Telecaster from a television who spend happy hour at Virago are going to wind up out of work. If CD sales are making the vast majority of money for your record company, you better be addressing the fact that CDs are going away. And when there are no more Napsters or Kazaas to sue, you are still going to have to make your Lexus payments.

The main reason record companies exist is because they've had the deep pockets necessary to record artists in state-of-the art studios, then press and distribute the records. Now, I know about ten guys I could call with home studios where we could record for very little money, and the end result would sound just as good on an iPod as that million-dollar JLo record. And it can be uploaded to a website and available worldwide in seconds.

The big record companies need to make a major change in their business practices to survive. They've had their day. They killed us for years with CD prices. They were charged with illegally colluding with each other to keep prices high. The FTC estimates that U.S. consumers may have paid as much as $480 million more than they should have for CDs and other music because of these policies over the period of 1997 - 2000. That's a lot of Lexuses. The days of the boys on 16th Avenue putting a hat on a hack and shoving him down the throats of Country Radio stations, and illegally pricing his records at $20 buck at Wal Marts are over. Karma time, folks.

Now the record companies are whining that the de facto $.99 per song price should be changed, that new songs should cost more and older songs should cost less. Listen guys, just be glad you're getting anything. As more musicians record and distrubute their own music, you are going to be less relevant. The major record companies have had a stranglehold on our listening options for decades. With the internet and satellite radio, we are finally able to easily find and support some of the great music that comes out of this town (not to mention the rest of the world) that isn't about sexy tractors.

A Real Prince Charming

I met a drummer once who had just come off a year-long contract working at Disney. In the "middle class" working musician world of Theme Parks, Cruise Ships, Ice Capades, and Circuses, Disney had quite a reputation. The auditions were said to be brutal because of their demand for an ultra-high level of musicianship and professionalism. Word was, there were very strict rules regarding scheduling, appearance, hair length, etc. I asked this guy what it was like. He summed up his entire experience in three beautiful, magical words, that filled me with joy, wonder, and more than a little envy. In one brief moment, he let me know that he had lived a dream that I didn't even know could be lived, one that I'm sure gives him a sense of fullfillment to this very day. He looked at me and said, very matter-of-factly, "I fucked Cinderella."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Friends in Drunk Places

There used to be an O'Charleys on 21st Ave., across from Vanderbilt. It has been torn down and replaced with a Starbucks. Like many good, struggling young Nashville musicians, I was a bartender in my 20s, and that O'Charley's was where I worked. One Sunday brunch, some guys were sitting at a table in the bar, really ripping through the free champagne. I must have gone through 10 bottles just on those guys. They were passing a napkin and a pen back and forth, yukking it up, and generally having a grand old time. They sat there for about three hours. I was doing the standard bartender bullshitting with them and they found out that I was a musician. They said they were in the music business, too. As they left, one of them said, "here's my number, maybe we can work together sometime." His name was Bud Lee. That's only six letters. B-U-D L-E-E. He was so drunk, it was illegible. Six letters! I never called him.

What's the point? As they were passing the napkin back and forth, they were writing "Friends in Low Places."

Never blow off a possible connection in this town, no matter how drunk he might be.

Mark Chestnutt recorded that song a while before Garth Brooks, but he didn't release it as a single. The story I heard was that Bud Lee assumed it was going nowhere, so he sold his rights to pay off a bar tab across town. I don't know if that's true, but it makes for a great Nashville drinking story, dammit.

My little racist

I was watching a golf tournament a while back (I have already admitted to being a golf nut) with Kiddo.

She says, "Daddy, why is Tiger Woods' skin brown?"

All right, here we go. Time to start in with the racial equality thing. Time to be Super Dad and give a life lesson to a wide-eyed 4 year old. Big responsibility here. Don't blow it.

"Well, honey, everyone has different color skin. Some are lighter and some are darker, just like some people have blonde hair and some people have red hair and some people have black hair."

That seemed to satisfy her.

Then a few minutes later:
"What's his name, Daddy?"
"His name is Vijay Singh."
"His skin is so dark it's black!"

Uh oh. She said "black." Isn't that wrong? Should I say something? Is it time to introduce 'African-American' into her lexicon? Wait, Vijay Singh isn't African-American, he's from Fiji. Is he a citizen now? Do I need to teach her the term Fijian-American? And Tiger Woods is half Thai. Should she learn that he's 'Afri-Thai-ican?" What to do, what to do?

"Yeah, honey, he is really dark. Like I said earlier, everyone has different color skin."

"Look, Daddy, it's Phil Mickelson! I'm not going to cheer for Tiger Woods or Vijay Singh, I'm going to cheer for Phil Mickelson!"

Oh my, oh my, oh my. Where did I go wrong? Why does she already hate black people? Did she pick something up from her mom's family? Is it just natural to gravitate toward people who are similar to us? Did I somehow do or say something to turn my beautiful little girl into a hateful racist? What to do, what to do?

"Why do you want to cheer for him?"

"Because his name sounds like Phil Pickle-son."


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Bear Trace Update

There is an excellent article about the golf course mess the state finds itself in right now, written by Ian Barry. An excerpt:

"They honestly would be better as grazing land for deer," said Drew Johnson, the groupââ�¬â�¢s [Tennessee Center for Policy Research] executive director. State officials defend their operation of the golf courses and say outside factors are affecting all golf courses right now. Tisha Calabrese-Benton, spokeswoman for the
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said in an e-mail thereââ�¬â�¢s an over-saturation of golf courses in the state generally.

The state park courses collectively lost $436,590 during the 2004-05 fiscal year, according to state budget numbers cited by the Center for Policy Research.

Ms. Calabrese-Benton said the General Assembly in 2004 passed a law requiring all of TDECââ�¬â�¢s revenue-generating operations, including golf courses, cabins, restaurants and inns, to be self-sufficient by the 2007-08 fiscal year. She said TDEC plans to meet that goal.

How are they going to meet that goal? I have no idea on the Bear Trace courses. They are really beautiful golf complexes but they are in the middle of nowhere. I can address the state park courses a little.

I have played both Montgomery Bell and Henry Horton. Both are beautiful courses that are slowly deteriorating into cow pastures. To make them profitable, I would try two things.

1. Put money into them. Yes, bring them back to their original glory. Why? Golfers would gladly pay more than the pittance of a fee they currently charge. It seems that the parks want the courses to be accessable to all, so the fees are ridiculously low. Well, you're not trying to attract all Tennesseans, you're trying to attract golfers, who generally have more to spend (it is an expensive sport) and you should charge the market rate.

2. Sell Beer. I know that we want a family atmosphere in our state parks, but this is golf. Golfers and beer go together like crack and whores. According to the figure quoted above, divided by 8 state park golf courses, each course lost about $55,000. That's $1000 a week. You could make a lot of that up in beer sales. I have personally been in situations where Montgomery Bell was not chosen for a round because they don't sell beer.

Might work, might not. Some of the courses have been around for decades. I don't think they should just be abandoned. As far as the Bear Trace courses, maybe we should find out who was responsible for putting them where they are, and make them cut the grass and fix the sprinklers for the next 20 years.

I am king of the world!

In that four things thing I did for Ivy, I mentioned that I was a cruise ship musician. I did it for several years in the early and mid 90s. When I committed to my first long contract, I had sold most everything I had, put the rest in storage, including my car, and flew to San Juan for a six-month adventure. I was a little worried about whether I had made the right decision. Then, on one of the first nights out, I found myself down on what we called "rope deck" at about 3 in the morning. It was a crew-only deck, full of huge coils of ropes, winches and other machinery, I was all the way out at the front of the bow (where DiCaprio did his "king of the world" thing several years later). It had been formal night, I was still in my tux. I was rendered quite comfortable by a few of the 50 cent Heinekens available in the crew bar. It was 75 degrees. The full moon was shining off the blue Carribean water, which was smooth as glass. We were 5 hours outside of Aruba. A feeling of calm came over me. I reflected on my life to that point, and where I was going. I was pretty sure I had made the right decision. Then, when I looked down and saw that one of the hot dancers from the show had my penis in her mouth, I knew I had made the right decision.

Take that, Leonardo.

Let's talk about me

Bad Bad Ivy wants me to answer the following questions. Since she is the only person to acknowlege my existence here on Mr. Gore's internet, I'll do what I can to keep her happy. I swear all answers are completely true and serious. I swear.

Four jobs you've had in your life: Paper boy, bartender, waterbed salesman, cruise ship musician

Four movies you could watch over and over: King Schlong; Cape Rear; Apollo 69; Nasty Hot Horny Coeds 6

Four places you've lived: Carmel, IN; Delray Beach, FL; San Antonio, TX; M.S. Island Princess -- Deck two

Four TV shows you love to watch: Sports Center, Monday Night Football, NFL Primetime, SpongeBob Squarepants

Four places you've been on vacation: Maui, McMinnville, Las Vegas, Napa

Four websites you visit daily: Google, Tennessean, Nashville City Paper, Nashville Knucklehead

Four of your favorite foods: Filet, Salmon Sushi, Skirt Steak fajitas the way I make them, BBQ Ribs from Hays Smokehouse in Lexington, TN

Four places you 'd rather be: New Zealand, Playboy Mansion Grotto, Bora Bora, Diane Lane's bed

Four albums you can't live without: Awaiting Redemption, Hal Ketchum; Back in Black, AC/DC; In a Metal Mood, Pat Boone; Prince and the New Power Generation, Prince

Four people you'd tag to play this game: Jesus, Osama, Elvis, Florence Henderson

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Bear Trace Disgrace

So the Tennessean reports that the Bear Trace is losing money, and is being taken over by the State of Tennessee. Boy, that should really help. Nothing I want more than to have my State government running more golf courses into the ground.

I am a golf nut. In fact, I played yesterday (Hermitage) for the second year in a row on New Year's Day. It is now a tradition, I suppose. I have played a couple of the Bear Trace courses several times, Tim's Ford and Harrison Bay. These courses are really nice. But they are all out in the middle of nowhere. The Tennessean says today that "the decision was made to site the Bear Trace's courses not based on good golf sense, but instead to put courses in the districts of powerful state legislators."

Now, if that is true, it is the most idiotic, self-centered pile of pork shit in recent memory. It is one thing to get a state contract "awarded" to a local business in your district, but to build golf courses with taxpayer's money? What idiots.

My friends and I play a lot of golf, and often comment that it would be nice if one of the Bear Trace locations was close to Nashville. You know, the state capital, the city with the state's largest population? As it stands, it is an all day ordeal to play one, and it is just easier to go to Legends in Franklin or Hermitage or Greystone in Dickson.

The problem is, the state was copying Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which is wildly successful. People from all over the country take golf trips to Alabama to play the trail, spending those tourist dollars. If those yay-hoos down in Alabama can do it, surely we can do it too, right? So let's see what Tennessee copied from Alabama:

Hire a well-known and respected designer, and name the trail after him -- check.

Spare no expense when it comes to design and quality, in order to make the trail worth driving to for tourists -- check.

Put most of the courses in or very near the state's major cities to get local play as well as giving the tourists some non-golf options on their visits-- uh, well, is that really important?

Uh, well, yes it is, you dipshits.

So now the State is taking over operations of a bunch of really nice courses out in the middle of nowhere. The State already runs the state park golf courses. Montgomery Bell is one of the most beautiful layouts you will find anywhere. It is also being run into the ground by an underfunded state budget. The rough is usually dead, the fairways are full of weeds and the greens are like putting on shag carpet. When I play there with my buddies, we always comment that with a little money, it could go from a $25 course to a $75 course, easy. But alas, it is run by the state.

Apparently, Jack Nicklaus has an agreement with the state that the courses have to be maintained to a certain standard in order to use his name. Here's my prediction: The state will keep the courses up for 3 or 4 years and continue to lose money. At some point, the golf geniuses on capitol hill will drop the Nicklaus name and let the courses go to shit just like the state park courses have. Yay.

Listen up. I know of what I speak.

I have a degree in Music from North Texas, which is regarded as one of the top music programs in the nation. I am going to give my opinions on some great moments in recorded music here. Since I have a music degree, it could be argued that I am a music expert, so therefore these become "expert opinions." Hopefully this will cause you to check out a song or style of music that you might not have been exposed to otherwise.

Some Great Moments in Recorded Music:

C.C. Rider -- Elvis Presley, live version (sometimes spelled See See Rider) This has the classic "Elvis has left the building" horn line. Ronnie Tutt on drums starts with all four limbs going crazy, then ramps it up from there. (He was the inspiration for Animal on the Muppets) Some people forget, because of the caricature that he became of himself, that Elvis kicked ass.

He Stopped Loving Her Today -- George Jones. So famous it is almost a cliche. The saddest song ever recorded. Great premise "He said I'll love you till I die. . ." and he did. The soaring strings, the haunting vocals behind the spoken verse. Put it on your headphones, sit in a dim room, do a shot of Dickel, and prepare be reduced to a whimpering, sniffling shell of your former self. Truly one of the most important recordings in American Popular music.

Back in Black --AC/DC. Enough said.

Mas Que Nada--Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66. (Sometimes spelled Mais Que Nada) Instantly transports you to the Beach in Rio. I don't really know anything about the individuals in the band, but they all kick ass. This song will put you in a good mood, no matter how bad things are going. Plus, I don't speak Portuguese, but I'm pretty sure the lyrics roughly translate to: "All the hot Brazilian women want to have sex with the Nashville Knucklehead."

Me and Mrs. Jones -- Billy Paul. Philly soul at its finest. Best cheating song ever.

Iris -- Goo Goo Dolls. Apparently this song broke a severe case of writer's block for Johnny Rzeznik. What a way to break through. It is damn near impossible to switch time signatures in a pop song. This goes from 6/8 to the breaks in 4 in the middle and back without being contrived. Great song.

Hey Pocky Way -- Neville Brothers. For such a slick studio production, this song is still pretty greasy. Get up off your ass and dance around the room.

The Last Thing I Needed -- Willie Nelson. I didn't "get" Willie Nelson when I was growing up. Now I believe he is an American Musical Legend. This song has everything you want from Willie, the quirky, unique vocal delivery, the emotion behind the lyrics, and even the solo on the beat-up guitar of his with the hole in it.

The Rain Song -- Led Zeppelin. Even though I don't smoke pot anymore, I still maintain the opinion that it is right up there as the best 4 minutes in recorded music history.

Late in the Evening -- Paul Simon. The hybrid pop/samba groove provided by Steve Gadd has confounded and delighted drummers since the day the song was released. The horn section solo at the end is worth the the price of admission.

What A Wonderful World -- Louis Armstrong. I have this on a CD for my 4-year-old daughter in the car. Whenever it comes on, we hold hands. She mis-heard the line "the dark sacred night" as "the dogs say goodnight" when she was three. I can't hear it any other way now.

When Blue Was Just A Color -- Hal Ketchum. Back around '97, Hal owed Curb one more record, so he said, "I'm going to use my own producer, my own band, and do whatever I want." Fortunately the label said OK. Hal was in between wives and twelve-step programs. What resulted was one of the most honest records to ever come out of Nashville ("Awaiting Redemption"). Problem is, nobody bought it.

And finally, one you'll probably never hear. I was in a band in college called The Cartoons. We were pretty big around the Dallas/Ft. Worth/Denton area. We recorded a demo tape we sold at our gigs. On it was one of our most popular songs, one that I wrote, called "You Wouldn't Be So Lonely If You Weren't Such a Bitch." If you happen to own one of those tapes, you are a very lucky person.