I've always thought my secret calling that I never pursued should have been that of a voice-over artist. I can do a lot of different accents and some obscure impressions. I do Tutter from "Bear in the Big Blue House" for my kid. I do flaming gay really well, and I can bring people to tears of laughter when I sing "I've got me a Chrysler it's as big as a whale," from Love Shack. My favorite obscure impression is gap-toothed deceased British character actor Terry Thomas. I thought of him today, because I had to email Sarcastro
yesterday about something, and his address is "underabigw," which I've been saying over and over to myself today in the voice of Jimmy Durante.
If you have any idea what I'm talking about, you are probably at least in your mid thirties.
BTW, I don't do any of these voices on command, so don't ask. I have to be in the mood, which usually requires alcohol.
Free BBQ For Life!
If you've been here before, you know that the only thing standing in the way of me opening Mothership BBQ is a handicap ramp. My friend, the Idiot Drummer was kind enough to sacrifice his entire Sunday to come over and help me get started. That puts him on the "free BBQ for life" list. After pondering and figuring and guessing and making about seven trips to Home Depot, we busted our asses all day and most of the night, and finished the landing, all the while being serenaded by the world's most pretentious radio station, Lightning 100 (say it in a British accent, "Lightning 100 . . . way hipper than you.") which was blaring out of the back of my truck.
So about midnight, stinking of a days worth of sweat, beer and bug spray and covered in filth, we decided to quit. Did I mention that we spent the whole time being serenaded by the radio in my truck? You see it coming, don't you? Dead battery.
My BBQ Joint is on a very quiet side street with no traffic at night. Now the Berry Hill police force always has two officers on patrol for this little one square mile town, and I had seen one earlier changing a tire for a stranded young lady. Some of the cops have eaten previews of my BBQ, and one had stopped by earlier for a chat. However, despite feeling perfectly fine, we had been drinking beer all day, as is required in the dude codebook when undertaking such a project, and we decided that calling them for a jump might result in the officer waiting for me to pull out and then pulling me over for a field sobriety test. So I walked to the Citgo on the corner to see if they sold jumper cables, which they don't. So I bought two Heinekens and we sat on my new front porch and took in the night air. Fortunately, the Hottie Who Lets Me See Her Naked was awake and willing to come pick up the two filthy stinking idiots.
So we have the flat part of the ramp finished, leaving me on my own to figure out how to build the slanted part. I have never really claimed to be all that handy in these type matters. I'm going to spend all day today pondering questions like, "can I just use joist hangers for those stair stringers or do I need to use lag bolts?" and "can I just bury those two by tens when the ramp gets to the ground, or do I need to cut them?" or, "is this hole deep enough to support that post?"
If you know the answers to those kind of questions, come on by and help. I'll put you on the "free BBQ for life" list.
So the damn government won't let me open my BBQ joint until I put in a handicap ramp. Me and the Idiot Drummer attempted to get a good start last night. Unfortunately, we hit a major problem that required a trip to Home Depot at 9:15. They close at nine. This is how far we got.
This ramp is the biggest fucking pain in my ass, ever. I am ready to open, and I am losing money every day that this fucking thing isn't there. The requirements are ridiculous. I'm all for equal access for everybody, but for the government to mandate that I build a ramp that is going to end up costing me about $4000 is a real burden. I have a ramp in back that I put in for deliveries and catering. It isn't good enough for several administrative reasons. If you are a Congressman or Senator and you have the capability to divert just $4000 from that police action occuring in Iraq, (the one where we're looking for a guy who we know is in Afganistan) which is about 1/10 of one second of what we are spending over there, I would appreciate it. I am hiring people. They will be legal citizens. They will pay taxes. You'll get the money back.
On another note, in a sure sign of the apocolypse, or at least a sure sign that we are really getting old, the Idiot Drummer drank all my . . . wait for it . . . Fresca last night. Not a sip of beer. Old, old, old.
My friend the Idiot Drummer is coming over to the Mothership
tonight and the two of us are going to try to figure out how to build a 24 foot handicapped ramp. At night.
Twenty four freaking feet. The ADA determined the run to rise ratio is 12:1 minimum. I have a two foot high front porch, therefore a 24 foot ramp.
We figure it's sort of like building a crooked deck. How hard could it be?
You might want to take the stairs.
My kid goes to a tiny little school. There are only about twenty kids in the whole place. It turns out that her best friend at school is Johnny and June Carter's granddaughter. I only know because I recognized her dad when we met at the Christmas pageant. I never really thought twice about it.
But lately, my kid has been into rock stars. She asked me if I used to be a rock star. I said yes. (OK, it was stardom on a very local level). So I told her that her friend's grandad was a huge star and that I used to watch him on TV when I was growing up and that there was a movie out about him that came out after he died.
She said, "He died?"
I said, "Yeah, a couple of years ago."
She said, "Do you think she misses him?"
I don't know why that struck a chord with me. It's just a five-year-old's way of thinking. All that talk about his fame, and all she wanted to know was if I thought her friend missed her grandad.
I've seen fire and I've seen meat
Ever since the first time my dad let me help light the backyard grill, I have been fascinated with the variety of flavors that can be produced with different combinations of fire and meat. I am such a perfectionist with a grill that I have to stop myself from butting in when I am at someone else's house and the host is grilling. There is an art to proper grilling and an art to proper smoking to make BBQ.
When I decided to convert my struggling catering business into a BBQ joint, which is called Mothership BBQ, I took my lifetime of research one step further. I drove hundreds of miles to eat at renowned BBQ places all over the south. I have gone through hundreds of variations on recipes for the sauce. I have tried an equal number of attempts to get the right spice mixture for the rub. I have done the same with the sides.
Because there are so many regional differences in BBQ, I don't think that there is such a thing as the "best" BBQ. In Texas, they cook beef. In the Carolinas, they have a thin, vinegar based sauce. Kansas City, St. Louis and Memphis all have a style. If you're from Austin and you're used to eating brisket and beef ribs, you may not like pulled pork and back ribs. In Memphis, you have a choice of having your ribs wet or dry. There is a pocket in Alabama that uses a white, mayonnaise based sauce. There is an even smaller pocket in West Tennessee where the BBQ is a whole hog, smoked for 18 - 24 hours.
I make the best damn BBQ I have ever eaten in my life. That was my goal. If you like a different style, you might disagree. There's nothing I can do about that.
I make what I call Nashville style BBQ. It is pork, ribs and shoulder. I have eaten many times at lots of different BBQ places around town. Nashville BBQ is very close to Memphis style. Memphis sauces are ketchup based with lots of different spices, a result of being on the river and having access to those spices 150 years ago. They also use a spice rub, which most Nashville style BBQ places use.
Mothership BBQ should be open next week or the week after. I am doing the conversion by myself, building counters, putting in the handicapped bathroom and ramp, and all that stuff. It is taking forever, because I don't know how to do any of that crap. For a guy who just wants to make killer BBQ, I sure am spending a lot of time at Home Depot. When I get finished, I'm going to hire a couple of folks and put an "open" sign in the window. Take it slow and figure out what we are doing. I don't have much room for seating, maybe 30 or 40 people, but I'll put some picnic tables out back, and there is a park across the street.Mothership BBQ
is at 2806 Columbine Place. That's in Berry Hill, about a block behind Sam and Zoe's.
There have been some bloggers who have had sneak previews. Jag
has eaten Mothership BBQ. So has Aunt B
. And so has cookinboy
, who happens to be a culinary school graduate. Go see what they have to say.
I'm nervous as hell. I'm nearly broke. I hardly ever get to see my kid these days.
I've always thought that the dumbest business a person could go into was the restaurant business. I am not opening a restaurant. It's a joint. A BBQ joint. More to come.
Bullet Bob Hayes
I was in a band in Dallas that got the job playing a series of cancer runs around town, where people ran and raised money to fight cancer. We played while the runners finished their run, which was at an ungodly hour for a musician, like 8 in the morning.
One morning we were waiting backstage for the trophy presentation and the featured guest was "Bullet" Bob Hayes, a Dallas Cowboy legend who, when I was a kid, was known as the "fastest man on earth" because he won the 100-yard dash in the Olympics in record fashion, or something like that.
So, we were sitting there, after playing the night before until 2 in the morning, and Bob hits our sax player up for a cigarette. He tries his best to hide it from view. "It's a cancer benefit," he says. "If they see me, they'll kill me."
The fastest man on earth smoking a bummed cigarette at 8 in the morning.
At a cancer benefit.
The Cast Iron Skillet
A traditional breakfast at Knucklehead Manor, when L'il Knuck is here, is eggs scrambled with cheese, bacon cooked in the cast iron skillet, and biscuits. So I was thinking about writing an ode to the cast iron skillet to the uninitiated. Not technical or historical stuff about how the best ones are the 50-year-old ones found at yard sales or the even heat distribution or how they become naturally non-stick over time. I was going to talk about how each one has a personality and how great it is to just wipe it with paper towels for proper cleaning and how bacon cooked in a cast iron skillet is possibly the best-tasting food in the world.
So I sat down to maybe write about it, and I started poking around, and I read stuff like this ridiculously funny account of getting a vascetomy
, and I subsequently burned the bacon to an inedible black powder, filling the house with smoke.
Perhaps I'll write about the joys of having all the doors and windows wide open in this lovely weather.
Shut up and drive
I heard something the other day that one of our nannys in the legislature is sponsoring a bill to ban non-hands-free cell phone calls while driving. Just what we need. Another law for our own good. I immediately thought of a bunch of stuff that they could ban along with it, like eating, putting on mascara, mastubating and my favorite, which I see on occasion, reading a novel while driving.
Well, today I saw a new one. I think we need a law to ban talking to oneself while driving. You see it all the time, you look over and someone is hashing out with no one, sometimes even yelling. This needs to be outlawed. It might seem harmless, but I realized today that it can be extremely dangerous. Because I looked over and saw a man talking to himself in sign language.
Too Old to be a Playa
CeeElCee and Sista Smiff are having a little snark-fest in the comments
about the fact that I have more experience in being on earth than them. While it is obvious to anyone who comes here to read my crap that I am not fresh out of college, I was trying to keep my age a bit of a mystery in case a hot little 25-year-old becomes enamoured with my rapier wit and handsome Fat Elvis picture and emails me saying she can't stand it and has to have me.
But that isn't going to happen. And I was reminded of that yesterday. By a girl named Anne.
When I got back to Nashville, and found myself suddenly single and possession-less, I found a furnished apartment for rent over in Hillsboro Village. The lady on the phone told me that Steve would meet me over there to show me around. Imagine my dumbfounded surprise, when I got there and instead of a Steve, I saw one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life. I'm not kidding. When I discuss her with friends who know her, they agree, she is breathtaking. Her name is Anne.
Now, I hadn't been on a date at that point in ten years. The last time I was single, I was in my late twenties and early thirties. I was a more than a little rusty. But I had to deal with her as the leasing agent, so my mind started churning. Try to remember how to flirt. Try to remember how to spot if a woman is interested. Try to remember how to be charming. I really want to get to know her. I wonder if my divorce or my kid will put her off.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I said to myself, "You can't ask her out, dickhead. You're too fucking old. You'll just be another in a long line of pathetic old men who hit on her because she's so hot."
It was a sobering moment.
Anyway, I saw her yesterday. Now that I know I'm not going to ask her out, I'm no longer a blathering fool, and she probably finds me to be charming.
Charming for an old guy.
I recognize your buddy there. He's sitting right next to me. He's been good to Music Row. He's a regular on the Opry, he churns out videos one after another, he's handsome and charming and well-spoken enough to take turns doing guest host stints on the video countdown shows. That's great that your buddy is doing so well.
And, because you played football with him in high school, you're doing well too. Good for you. Hell, even Elvis had a posse with Red and Sonny and all those guys. It's sort of a tradition. So that's great that you all got jobs as bus driver or guitar tech or road manager, it beats the crap out of being assistant night manager at the Red Lobster back home in Dunderfuck, Arkansas, doesn't it?
Those are some fine looking women you got there, too. Every one of them has a tiny little ass crammed into really tight jeans. In fact, when your group walked in, I commented to my friend that there must be some kind of super pooper convention going on in town.
It appears that you are assimilating pretty well into this world of decent cash and nearness to fame. I understand that you can't control how and where you were raised, and you can't do anything about your accent. Actually, in the world you travel in, country dumbfuck is an accent that is readily accepted, even embraced. So that's OK. You all have interesting, closely shaved facial hair configuations. Very hip. Your shirts are freshly pressed from the dry cleaners, which shows class. Bold pink stripes aren't for me, but what do I know about fashion?
But fellas, I'm a little worried about all the bling. Look at your buddy there, the famous one. He's just got on jeans and a sweatshirt. He looks comfortable with himself and, dare I say, normal. You guys have gold hoop earrings, big medallions on gold chains, big-ass watches and more rings than Dante's hell. Your peacock jewelery display makes you look like you just got back from Liberace's estate sale. You look like you're trying to be all ghetto, like you're in Shizzle McGangbang's posse. But you're all big ole white country boys. Well, you're a lot younger than me, I guess that's in style these days and those hotties don't seem to mind.
But let me tell you something about those hotties. They are fucking you, but they want to be fucking him. Eventually there is going to be a dealbreaker, and they are going to figure out that you are a bunch of ignorant rubes, and fucking you just really isn't worth it. And I think I am witnessing that dealbreaker right now.
It's the wine. You're constantly swirling your wine glass, sticking your nose down in it like you're at the chef's table in a boutique restaurant in Manhattan, and picking up the bottle to check the label for the vintage and varietal. You're trying to act like you know what you're doing. But you don't. How do I know? I can tell what kind of wine it is from over here. It's white fucking zinfandel. It's cold, and pink and tastes like candy. It doesn't have a nose or a finish. It is made for people with vaginas. And the people at your table that qualify to drink it are smart enough pass on it. You are making it perfectly clear that you just fell off the fucking turnip truck, posse boys.
P.F. Chang's sells beer. You should try to use that to your advantage.
Fame, I'm not gonna live forever!
For a while when I was working as a musician on Princess Cruise Lines, they decided to "hip" up their entertainment by bringing on celebrities. We once did two weeks backing up Gene Anthony Ray.
Exactly. He was the hip black guy in the cast of the TV show "Fame." He was about my age. That show was targeted at people younger than me. Ninety-eight percent of the people who cruise on Princess Cruise Lines are approaching 100. They didn't watch Fame. They had no idea who he was.
Part of his show included this line to segue into some big show-stopping power ballad, "You're probably sitting there, asking, 'what have you been doing the last ten years, Gene Anthony Ray?'"
I had to suppress a laugh at that line every show for two weeks.
He died in 2003 of AIDS.
Lunch with Jack
The onslaught of b-list celebrity mingling continues. Ryan is going to be positively apopleptic
Like most of the celebrities I've hung out with, I feel I need to explain who Jack Burns is. Jack started his career with George Carlin as the comedy team Burns and Carlin. He then teamed up with Avery Shreiber as Burns and Shreiber. They had a TV show. He played deputy Warren Ferguson on Andy Griffith when Don Knotts left. He hosted a show called "Fridays." He was the voice of the crash test dummy in all those government safety commercials. If you still don't know who he is, just take my word for it, he is a sort-of-famous person.
Jack liked to take long cruises. What he normally did was jump on a ship in L.A. that was heading south in the winter, and stay on it for months, as long as it was in warm places. He was on the Island Princess
when I took a job on it in Tahiti
. To help you visulize what it was like, that ship was one of the two they used to film "The Love Boat."
Because Jack was on board for so long, he would become friends with the crew, because all the other passengers would come and go a week or two at at time. I got to know him, because we were both Stairmaster freaks, and there were only two on board, right next to each other.
A common activity for crew members to kill time was to go to luxury hotels for the day while in port and hang out on their beach. One day I ran into Jack at a hotel pool and we had lunch together. Jack bought. I remember thinking how unbelievable it would have been to know, when I was a kid watching him on TV, that one day Jack Burns would buy me lunch at a 5-star hotel in Indonesia.
How I ended up in Texas
When I was senior in High School, at Ballard in Louisville, I had the daunting chore of carefully picking the institution of higher learning that I would attend. My criteria was that I wanted to go to a good school with a good music program in a major city in the South. I visited several schools, including Miami, which has a great music program. I had decided that I wanted to go to Miami.
I was in the band. Save your band camp jokes for later. I went to school one day early, which I never did, and I went to the band room, which I never did, and I was just hanging out there before school. The band director came in and said, "There is a representative from the Arts school at SMU in Dallas here today, he'll be meeting seniors at 9:30 if you are interested."
I only knew of SMU for their football program, which at the time, was in the top five in the country. But Dallas? How fucking cool was that. This was during the height of the TV show "Dallas" and the whole "Who shot JR?" excitement in the country. Dallas was the center of the universe. All that oil money. Dallas. But frankly, I had no interest in attending SMU.
More importantly, as far as the visit was concerned, 9:30 was second period. That was French class. I hadn't done my French homework. We were allowed 3 university rep visits as seniors without penalty for skipping class. I marched down to Mrs. Samuels room and informed her that I wouldn't be in French class that day, because I was going to talk to the rep from SMU, a school that I was "very interested" in attending.
I ended up going there. I went for three semesters. I transferred to North Texas, which, arguably, has the best music program in the nation. It is in Denton, which is 35 miles north of Dallas. I now have a Bachelor of Arts with a Music Major and an English Minor from North Texas.
So I spent 10 years in Texas. Because I went to school early on a day that I didn't do my French homework.
Celebrity Sighting Number One
When I wrote about standing on a motel balcony with Mick Fleetwood
, who was clad in his tighty-whities, Ryan left a comment that my celebrity stories make him "giddy." He used the word "giddy." It's still in the comments. This from a man who is fighting a personal "is he gay?" rumour
So, in the interest of making Ryan giddy all over again, I am going all the way back to my first ever, bona fide celebrity meeting.
I was twelve. My parents had shelled out the money for me to attend Notre Dame Hockey Camp on that esteemed University's campus in South Bend, Indiana for a week in the summer. We spent a week learning to skate better and shoot better and work out better and all that stuff. We even ran the steps of the legendary Notre Dame football stadium, with Touchdown Jesus
keeping an eye on us for protection. On the last day we played a scrimmage for the sake of our parents, who were there to pick us up after a blessed week of not having their 12-year-old punk at home.
Notre Dame's hockey rink is in one dome of a two-domed convocation center. The time for our game was later in the afternoon, so three of us snuck off into the other side. We were just running around the empty halls of the venue, when we rounded a corner and came to a screeching halt. Standing right in front of us was Red Skelton, who was there for a comedy concert that evening. We all got to shake his hand and talk to him for a minute. I still remember he was chomping on an unlit cigar, and he said he was trying to quit, but he liked cigars so much he just didn't light them anymore.
The reason that encounter was so memorable was the night before we sat in the lobby of the dorm we were staying in and watched the 1956 classic "Around the World in Eighty Days" on TV starring, you guessed it, Red Skelton.
There you go, Ryan. You may not even be old enough to know who Red Skelton is. But when I met him, I was positively giddy.
Fifteen years ago, more or less, I met the Veternarian. He wasn't a vet then, he was a bartender at O'Charley's and I had just moved to Nashville from Texas and got a job there. He found out I was a musician, and asked if I wanted to be in his band. The other guitar player in the band was CeeElCee
So I have also known CeeElCee for 15 years. He is the smartest guy in the room, no matter what room he is in. Look, I'm a pretty smart guy, my friends are all pretty smart guys and it is common knowledge that he is always the smartest guy in the room, whatever room he is in. Just take my word for it, I have all the test scores and GPAs you can ask for, and he still kicks my ass. He went to Stanford, for God's sake. The reason we have remained friends for so long is that he is the good kind of really smart. He can converse on any subject, from art and architecture and history to wine and fine cigars to NASCAR and weed and strippers.
So the whole time we were playing together back then, he was holding down his day job. What I couldn't understand was how he could do the same things I was doing, like drive up to Bowling Green to play a frat party on a weeknight and get drunker than the frat boys, (didn't one of us take a piss in their sacred chalice one night? Surely that must have been me.) and still get up the next morning and go to work. But he did. Then, way back at an age when nobody I knew had any business buying a house, he bought one. It wasn't until this very year that I found out that all those nights of playing for fifty bucks, when I would spend my money on beer and electricity bills and lap dances, he was putting his money away. Fifteen years later, I am stunned that our little band provided him back then with enough money to put a substantial downpayment on a house. See, he's always been smarter than me.
I don't have a before and after picture. I wish I did. The before picture would show us both skinny and with all our hair. Now, he's skinny (I'm catching up dude. I've lost 20 lbs. since this picture was taken), but who still has all his hair, motherfucker?!
So he turns 40 today. Go wish him a happy birthday
See that picture over there on the right? The Elvis one? If you are using a feed, you're going to have to come see me. It's my profile picture. I'm going to tell you about it, because I'm getting bored with it and I might change it soon.
That picture is from Halloween, two years ago, when I was living in America's lowest circle of hell, South Florida.
My brother-in-law had purchased that Elvis suit the year before for Halloween. The next year I used it. I won third place at a huge costume contest at a bar in Delray Beach. There were several reasons that aren't apparent from the picture why I did so well.
First, I can sing like a passable Elvis impersonator, so I was going around playing guitar and singing Elvis songs to people. Second, I had stuffed the belly aqnd the ass of the suit with as many pillows as I could fit. You can't tell from the picture, but I was huge. I'll admit to stealing the idea from my friend Gary, who I played with for years, who has a Fat Elvis routine for which he is paid handsomely.
His costume was custom made. I just did the best I could. Third, I went out and bought a box of jelly doughnuts and stuck them to the top of the guitar. Jelly doughnuts on the guitar. Heh. I still think that's funny.
Knucklehead, the Serial Rapist
Did I ever tell the story about being suspected as being a serial rapist?
Gather 'round for another heartwarming tale of serial rape, kids. Once again, we go back to my days in college. I was dating Julie, who, for those of you who have been reading my crap for a while, was the former roommate of the Playboy centerfold
Julie was having a party one night. I was playing with my band in town, and told her I would be by after. We finished, and I went over to her house at about two in the morning. The party was huge. When I walked in the door, it was like the needle was scratched off the record. Every female in the room stared at me in disgust, looking at me as though I had just killed a kitten for fun. Julie was no where to be found.
I finally found out that some crazy bitch had been to see us play earlier and told Julie that I had been making out with some chick on our break, boldly making out in full view of everybody. It was complete bullshit, but Julie bought it, so everyone at the party was pissed that the boyfriend of the hostess would pull such a stunt on the night of her big party. Julie wouldn't even let me see her to defend myself.
I went home to let things blow over. Unable to sleep, I drove back over to her place at about six in the morning and let myself in. I quietly opened the door to her bedroom, only to see her and a former boyfriend sleeping.
Obviously upset, I left and went for a walk. A campus policeman stopped and began to ask me questions about why I was walking around campus at six on a Sunday morning. Next thing I know, three squad cars with Denton, Texas' finest lawmen come screetching up. Some come to join in the conversation, some stay in the car. I remember one cop in particular looking at a clipboard and back at me over and over and over. They kept me there asking questions for about 30 minutes, explaining that I matched the description of a serial rapist who was on the loose. I was pretty pissed and upset about what had happened the last 12 hours, and I was ready to give a false confession just to have a feeling of being a martyr for a while as I sat in jail. Fortunately, they let me go before I did such a foolish thing.
They published the composite drawing of the rapist in the campus newspaper that week. I must say, he looked a whole lot like me, same 80s blond mullet
, and a similar face. What got me off the hook was that he was listed at 5'8". I am 6'2". I think they eventually caught the guy.
After a few months, Julie accepted my side of the story, and began taking my occasional late night booty calls.
Backpacking in Europe
This is a photo I took of my friend the Idiot Drummer that memorable summer we spent backpacking around Europe.
I was watching the local morning news yesterday, and our crack meteorologist informed us that today (Sunday) was going to be rainy, and that yesterday would be a good day to cut the grass. Later he read and email.
I was all loaded up to go have breakfast and play 18 holes with my buddies, but my wife saw your forecast, and now I am stuck at home mowing the lawn. Thanks a lot.
Joe in Clarksville
Hey Joe in Clarksville,
Be careful with that lawnmower. You obviously lost your testicles somewhere, they might be out there in the grass.
Two Cycle Oil
I always wondered what would happen if you put regular gas into something like a leaf blower that needs two-cycle oil/gas mixture. Now I know. You go to Lowes and spend a hundred bucks on a new leaf blower.
I don't like horses. I think they are big, stupid animals that have no personality.
However, I absolutely love horse racing. Especially one of my favorite sporting events of the year, the Kentucky Derby, which is tomorrow.
I lived in Louisville twice in my life, for a total of five or six years. My parents lived there after I left home for an additional 15 years. I used to go to Churchill Downs often after school with my buddies to play the ponies. Yet, I only went to the Derby once.
I was a senior in High School (Ballard, for those Louisvillians who care.) My friend Matt had evolved faster than most and could grow facial hair in high school. He had a beard, and didn't get carded. So the day before the Derby, we went to our favorite liquor store and stocked up on the liquor for the big day in the infield. On the way out the door, Grizzled Old Liquor Store Proprietor says, "You going to the Derby?" We confirmed that we were. He said "Number three in the fifth."
Oh my God, it was more than my 18-year-old brain could handle. An inside tip! From a real live Grizzled Old Liquor Store Proprietor! We discusses the tip for a moment. He was sure of it. I seared the tip into my brain. Number three in the fifth. Number three in the fifth. I wasn't going to forget it. On the way out the door, I looked back and said, "What's the horse's name?"
I'll never forget that name. Cypress Bay. A tip given to me by a Grizzled Old Liquor Store Proprietor. Say it in the voice of Burgess Meredith as Rocky's trainer:
The fifth race came around. Uh oh. Cypress Bay isn't number three. Cypress Bay is number six. Well, he could easily get the number wrong, but he couldn't possibly get the name wrong. So I strut to the window, and lay down my largest bet of the day, $20 on number six, Cypress Bay, to win, my largest and boldest bet of the day, by far. And they're off! And you guessed it, number three won. Number three was a longshot. Number three in the fifth would have paid me, if I remember correctly, and I do, $660. But I had to ask the Grizzled Old Liquor Store Proprietor the horse's fucking name on the way out the door.
Cypress Bay my ass.
So tomorrow afternoon, L'il Knuck and I are going to plop down in front of the big screen, throw back some good Kentucky Bourbon, and watch the fastest two minutes in sports.
I won't have any money on it.
The write generation
My mother made me take typing in eighth grade. We had to be aware of the bell for the carriage return, and had to figure out how to end the line by breaking a word at the proper place for hyphenation. Make a mistake, and you had to rip out the paper and start over. The typewriters at school were electric, but the typewriter at home to practice on was mom's old Royal manual from her college days, where you built great finger strength and slapped the little silver bar at the end of the line. The biggest advance to come along when I went to college for writing papers was liquid paper, because "five typos and you get an F." At least you didn't have to start over at the end of the page.
Most of you probably have no idea what I'm talking about.
Oh, yeah, and it was uphill in the snow both ways.
So between the big-ass dictionary and the thesarus and the liquid paper, typing was a big pain in the ass. I never, ever considered being a writer, simply because of the chore that it was to get it done correctly.
Writing by the masses had fallen out of the culture ever since long distance phone calls came along. Nobody wrote letters once you could pick up the phone and call people, and eloquent letters in fine penmanship went the way of the Edsel and the backseat handjob while parked at Lover's Leap. The old-schoolers would pine and wax poetically about the lost art of letter writing.
Then Al Gore invented email. Traditionalists cheered for the renaissance of the lost art of letter writing thanks to email. We communicated with the written word again! Hooray, spelling and grammar are on the way back! Little did they know that in a generation it would devolve into "I M Hrny! R U 2? Snd pix!"
When I got my first computer, solely because of the convenience of the backspace and delete keys, I decided to write. I can still picture the first time I sat down to write fiction, in a little apartment in East Nashville. The first line I wrote was, "I cradled the phone in disbelief. Stood up again." Because that was exactly what had just happened. I didn't have a date, so I thought, why not write a book? It was the beginning of the next great American novel, or so I thought. The only reason I started writing was because it was physically easier than it was before. No one seems to think twice about it now.
The reason I started this blog was as a personal writing assignment. I had high hopes of making every post an eloquent statement about life, complete with clever turns-of-phrases and witty observations of the common human experience, but it quickly turned into my nutty ramblings about blowjobs I got in the 80s. But that's OK, it makes me write. Actually, it lets me write knowing that other people are going to read it. (Try writing an entire novel and have nobody read it. It takes some getting over.) And I know that alot of other bloggers do this for the same reason. But right now, everybody and her cousin does it to some degree, whether they can write or not. Just spend some time at My Space to see what I mean.
Today, it occured to me that most people of a certain age think nothing of looking at videos every day online. And getting video on their phones. And uploading video. And I thought about the ramifications of that. Technology keeps moving ahead, and pretty soon the "video phones" I was promised by Walt Disney will be a reality on the internet or on some portable device you have implanted in your eyes in your choice of ever-changing colors, depending on your mood. And people will go to video-talking instead of writing on these devices for nearly everything, even the most mundane communication.
I think we are in the middle of a generational blip in history of when people went back to the written word for a lot of communication and expression. Especially expression. I don't think magazines and books will go away anytime soon, but everyday writing for recreation by the masses is on the way out. Again.
The people I read since I've started doing this are all great writers who have something to say. But I think that very soon the recreational writing of people who don't really care about the "art" of writing is going to end. People are just going to upload "wassup" videos and bad skits, and 95% of the blog world will be replaced with one big interactive, virtual-reality, multi-media, nudity-filled My Space account. Which is fine with me. Because it will make the 5% who are writers with something to say easier to find.
In case you missed it, it was announced the other day that the Signature Tower will be 65 stories, 55 residential and 10 upscale hotel. But the top several floors will be extra tall, so it will appear to be over 70 floors. That's 1047 feet tall. (By contrast, the Batman Building is 617') Here is the model
But, what's more important, is my pressing question from a couple of weeks ago
, "where are all the dogs going to crap?" Well, apparently, the big-shot developers of this project read the old Nashville Knucklehead, and at the last minute they hastily added a dog run for crapping by the pool.
It looks like it might be far enough away
, but it gets pretty hot here in the summer.
Opening myself for attack by the fairer sex
If you come here often, you know that I prefer to tell old, tired stories of minor encounters with b-list celebrities and blowjobs of days gone by. I'm going to break a rule today. I'm going to talk about an -ism.
Aunt B. is organizing a camp for teenage girls
. The "make me a sandwich and fetch me a beer," jokes have already begun in the comments. (It even sank into grooming of the scrotum. That one came from me, I admit.) That's what makes this sport of blogging so fun.
But I want to say something, and I have to do it here, because if I try to do it over there, I'll just be bitch-slapped by all the feminists until I give up my argument. Believe me, it happens. I'll give you an example in a minute.
So you are having a camp for teenaged girls to help their self-esteem. That's great, but what if a boy wants to go. The answer is he can't go, it is only for girls. It seems to me that it isn't fair.
And that's exactly what I would tell him. "No, you can't go. It may not seem fair. It's not. This is a camp for girls. You can't go. Get over it."
Over at Aunt B.'s place, about a week ago, she argued that Major League Baseball should allow women to play if they are good enough
. I made a point that the LPGA doesn't allow men to play golf in their league if they are good enough, nor does the WNBA in basketball. So why should we force Major League Baseball? These are the rebuttals I got, which completely avoided the point.
"I kind of think that things like the LPGA and the WNBA are stupid. (On the other hand, I don't think women's sports in high school and college are stupid, so that's just an internal contradiction I haven't bothered to resolve.)" -Aunt B.
"I like women's basketball a LOT more than men's basketball. It's strategically different, with more dependence on passing, screening, and speed rather than a slow big guy standing under the basket to block another big guy driving up the lane. Men's style of play is not necessarily the superior version of the game for many of us. If there's a market demand to watch women play sports (which is the reason that women's pro sports exist), why would it stand to reason that men would be the preferred athletes if only they were permitted to join the WNBA?" -bridgett
You missed the whole point. I didn't ask whether or not the leagues were stupid. I didn't say that men would be the preferred athletes for the WNBA. My question was simple: Why is it OK for women's leagues to specifically, in their bylaws, exclude men, but it is a major social injustice if a men's league excludes women?
So have a camp for girls. I think it is great. Honestly. I want may daughter to be able to go to a camp like that if she wants to. I applaud everyone involved for what you are doing. But I want the same courtesy afforded to our boys. Being against letting girls force their way into the boy scouts isn't anti-female, it's pro boy scouts.
Aunt B. wants desperately to make me a feminist. It won't happen, because I am already an "equalist." So, to me, feminism is a sub-set of a philosophy I already subscribe to. Then again, maybe it means I already am. Jobs, housing, pay, all that stuff, I adamantly believe in equality. I always have. And I've always lived my life that way. I did the Mr. Mom thing for two years, because my ex-wife made a lot more than me, and it made sense. I'm glad she was able to make that kind of money. Does that make me a feminist?
Equal access is not a black and white issue (no pun intended.) There are gray areas. What if someone forced you to let his son into an all-girls camp, and he ended up sexually assaulting a girl? Or you forced a girl into a camp for boys learning how to properly and respectfully deal with girls, and it ruined the entire experience for the boys, because they couldn't open up about how they felt about girls, because there was a girl there? There are situations where blanket equal access doesn't make sense. It's like pornography, I don't know how to define those situations, but I know them when I see them.
I already tell my little girl she can do anything she wants with her life, and I mean that. Within reason. She can't go to an all-boys camp when she is a teenager. She may feel like that's not fair. It isn't. She'll have to get over it.