Monday, June 25, 2007

Famous People

I used to be Marketing Director at a Theatre in Florida. Part of my job was staff photographer. I took this photo about five years ago. All these people are famous. Left to right, numbers 1, 3, 4, and 5 are pretty easy. Number 2, not so much. Name all five, win a prize. (click to embiggen)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Puck You

My kid was doing horseback riding until a couple of months ago. She decided she wanted to try ice skating. So on Wednesday we went over to the big rink by the big fake Parthenon and I took her skating for the first time. I was expecting the worst, because skating is hard, and I told her so. She took three laps around holding on to the rail, then she just started skating. It took her 15 minutes, and she was skating better than several others there. She loved it. So we went back again today.

Now, I hadn't been on ice skates in a very, very long time. But I did a lot of skating growing up. I have lived all my life in the south, except for those nine formative years spent in . . . gasp . . . Indiana. And while I was growing up in cornland, I played hockey. For years I played, and I got pretty good at it. My family moved back below the Mason Dixon when I was 15, so that was the end of hockey for me.

I got to college in Dallas, and, despite having had two or three years off, decided to join a men's league. The men's league in Dallas at that time consisted of 99% Detroiters and Canadians who were in their mid-30s and had played hockey their whole live and were pissed off that they had to move to Dallas because they lost their job at GM or Ford and they took out their aggression at the rink.

The other 1% was a skinny college kid who hadn't played in two or three years. I joined my boss' team (a Canadian) in mid-season, after the Christmas break. My second career lasted about nine minutes. I ended up with seven stiches in my chin.

Undaunted, I showed up for the next game. As we were warming up the referee, who was also the organizer of the league, skated up to me and said, "I got your application in the mail this week. You have to be at least 21 to play in this league. You need to get off the ice, and I'll refund your money."

That was the last time I was on skates until this week. But I felt pretty good. I started to get the bug, so I looked up information on the men's hockey leagues here in Nashville. There is the A/B league, which is advanced to expert. While at one time I would have considered myself a candidate for that league, I know better now. Next is the upper C league, which is intermediate skill, plus it meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is best for me. Then there is the lower C league, for beginners. Naw, I'll pass on that.

Then, wait, what's this? Oh . . . it's the old-man league. It's called "Silver Fox." One night a week, on Wednesdays. (That's probably all they can handle.) Bless their old-man hearts . . . uhhhh . . . Age 35 and older!? 35 and older are "Silver Foxes"?

With all due respect, Nashville Adult Men's Hockey League, you can just piss right off. I'm not a "silver" anything. I'll play with the punk-ass 30-year-old kids.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

Two things that are all the rage these days with the kids are crocs and webkinz. To show her undying love for me, my kid gave me a pair of black crocs and a webkinz today for father's day. If you are a webkinzian, watch out for a golden retriever named Goldie Fuzz. I might challenge you to a game of checkers, and I will kick your ass. With my new black crocs.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Knocked Up

I first found Katie when she linked to a post I wrote that included Ratt, Kevin Bacon, a Pontiac Fiero and a Playboy centerfold. I wrote it as an excuse to put up a naked picture of an old girlfriend, but Katie actually praised the writing. And she writes for a living and gets books published and has won like 28 Pulitzers and had an audience with the Pope because of her writing. Or that's how I like to think about her. Because she praised my writing. And she praised the story with the gratuitous nudity, instead of being put off by it.

Well, I go check on her every once in a while, and in the ensuing time, she's met her a fella, fallen in love, got hitched and now they're having a young 'un. And she plans on doing it drug free. She says she had a bad reaction to the epidural during her last birth that caused back pain for years.

Back pain and epidurals. A couple of subjects I am familiar with. You see, kids, many years ago I had gone to an impoverished third world country to pass out hand copied bibles to homeless people when a car came careening around the corner and crashed onto the curb right in front of me. I ran to the driver's door and saw that the nun who was driving had suffered a heart attack. After reviving her with the homemade defribrillator I had invented that morning, I noticed that there was a Golden Retriever puppy trapped under the front tire. My adrenaline got the best of me and I lifted the car with one arm and scooped the puppy up with the other. I pulled out my pocket knife and roll of duct tape and quickly performed surgery on the little pup, stopping the internal bleeding, thereby allowing the little fella to live a long and happy life as a seeing eye dog for Ronnie Milsap. It wasn't until later, while I was on the podium politely declining the virgin being offered by the grateful village elder ("Shucks, Your Excellency, I just did what anyone would have done") that I realized I had thrown out my back.

I've had back problems on and off ever since. About ten years ago, I decided to try an M.D. for the second time. I had usually stuck with chiropractors for two reasons. One, despite the voodoo aspect of cracking your back for whatever ails you, they always worked for me, and two, the first time I went to an M.D., he started talking about surgery within five minutes of shaking my hand. I don't want some dude who probably graduated last in his medical school class cutting open my back and poking around my spine.

So this second time around, the doc put me in the magic machine that looks at your inside stuff and declared me to have a bulging disk. Probably. Or it could be a shadow on the film. But he was pretty sure it was a bulging disk. He recommended a series of three epidurals. He said that they shoot a bunch of steroids into the space surrounding the disk and it makes the swelling go down. He said it has a 90% success rate in relieving pain.

The day came for the first epidural. The nurses treated me with kid gloves, almost pity. They acted as though the procedure was the worst thing you could go through short of a head amputation. They offered me a valium, because I "needed to relax or it was just going to be hell." (As an avid practioner of self-medication, I knew one little valium wasn't going to do anything, but I accepted. Of course.)

In came the epidural team, a huge dude in scrubs, about six-six, 280, and a doctor who I remember being quite attractive, despite the fact that she was about to stick a needle mere millimeters from my spine and squirt a bunch of chemicals into my back.

I got on a chair in front of the doctor and leaned forward and dude got in front of me, planted his feet and put his hands on my shoulders with great force. Between the offer of the valium and the huge dude holding me down, I was sure this was going to be the most unpleasant event of my life. I was whispering my Hail Marys when the doctor says, "OK, lie down on that bed for a while till you feel better, and you can go."

Nothing. I felt nothing. Maybe a little pinch, but nothing else. The next two times, I scoffed at the valium and was in and out in five minutes. Problem is, it did nothing for my back pain. The doctor said, "Well, it's a 90% success rate, you just happen to be in that unlucky 10%."

So now I stick with chiropractors. I've got a great one now, Chad. We get along great and he cracks my bones and doesn't care that every time he does I yell, "Owwww, GodDAMMIT you motherfucker!" Plus, he's a young, good-looking guy, so his waiting room is always full of hot women with "back problems."

So anyway, back to Katie and her drug-free birth. She's already had three kids, so she knows what she's in for. I'm certainly not going to give her any advice on her decision. I will say that my kid was born totally drug free. Purely natural. Not my ex-wife, mind you, she was dosed up with anything they would give her. But me, I was clean. Unless you count the flask in my pocket.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I'm a myspace stud

I have a myspace page. I have found lots of old friends from years gone by there. Myspace is all about friends.

For those who don't know, myspace is a social networking site. You put up a page and tell a little about yourself and put up pictures. It is mainly for people younger than me. You can browse by gender, maritial status, age, etc., to find your new "friends." Let me tell you, there are very few people browsing for men my age. I get very few friend requests. But the ones I do get . . .whoo boy. These young ladies are able to see past something as irrelevent as age, and can obviously see my hidden studliness. And the great thing is, they all "love to party" and several of them have webcams set up so I can really get to know them as a friend. These are some of the people who recently asked to befriend me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

They're dead, Jim!

I have a koi pond in my yard. Yesterday, I was greeted with four koi corpses floating upside-down in the pond.

I'm not going to speculate on what did them in, but the smart money would land on owner neglect. Well, not neglect really, just an attempt to save electricity by turning off the pump. Several days ago. And forgetting about it.

In any case, the carcasses had to be removed and disposed of in some manner. These things aren't Nemo, they're way to big to flush. So I did the calendar math. I take the trash out on Wednesday night. It was Monday morning. Surely dead fish won't start to stink in two days? In a trash bag in an enclosed plastic container? In 90 degree weather?

I was right. It only takes one day.

Anyone want to come by for a cookout? Fish tacos on the grill!

Rambling on Death and Taxes

I've never lived in a state that screwed with all the taxes so much. The bozos cut tax on food. Yay! I saw on the news last night that it comes out to saving $4 per $1,000 you spend on groceries.

Oh, boy.

Raise cigarette taxes. Cut taxes for poor seniors. Specify where taxes go, i.e. English language-learning students get cigarette money. Who came up with that marriage made in heaven? Gaylord wants us to front them the money to build their new convention center. Front them money from the new tax we have on hotel rooms and rental cars. To build our own new convention center.

I don't have any hard numbers on this, but having been around a while, it seems to me that taxing A and declaring the money to be used specifically to fund B doesn't seem to work in the long run. It just creates a new bureaucracy to piss the moeny away. Wasn't the lottery for the kids? Aren't we still close to last in education in the US?

I don't buy lottery tickets. I send my kid to a private school. I'd like some of that lottery money.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Scratch Golfer

In case you weren't watching the St. Jude tournament in Memphis this week, (you don't watch obscure PGA tournaments?) one of the underlying stories was that on Friday, early in the morning, John Daly's crazy-ass wife attacked him with a steak knife while he was sleeping, screaming that she was going to kill him. This same crazy-ass wife recently spent some time in prison for some kind of money laundering shit.

Last I checked, the police have found his kids, but not her, and are waiting to see if he wants to file charges. If the tables were turned, his ass would be in jail charged with attempted murder, no matter what the wife said about pressing charges.

There is some good outrage in there somewhere. Some kind of anti-feminist, where's-Al-Sharpton hand wringing that could be manufactured to go along with this. But I'm not going after it. For one, I can't work it out, and also because John just got up the next day and went to work and played fairly well, considering the circumstances. No victim, he.

Besides, jokes like her being a "scratch golfer" and "working on her slice," and "hitting a high cut," are just too easy. He's a rich white guy, so it's OK.

UPDATE: The crazy-ass wife says he attacked her and then scratched his own face. I figured that was coming. Who attacks sombody's face with a steak knife in a sawing motion? Now it's a he said/she said.

(If she turns out to be the victim, I don't want any feminists attacking me for calling her a crazy-ass. She is well documented as such.)

Screen? Shot!

I've taken on some freelance web and graphic design work to keep the lights on and gas in the truck during an upcoming period of inactivity in my regular business. On Friday, my computer fell from the counter to the tile floor in the kitchen. This is the result.

Sumbitch isn't even paid for.

I guess I'll be designing a website that sits in the top left corner of the screen.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Brothers and Sisters, You Ain't That Big of a Deal.

The Nashville Blogosphere has a problem. That problem is a huge sense of collective over-importance.

Let me get you up to speed in case you landed here googling "naked playmates," as 98% of my visitors have lately. Nashville's ABC affiliate station, WKRN, has a blog aggregator called Nashville is Talking (NiT), which, until yesterday, was wrangled by a fine gal named Brittney. Brittney had been growing tired of the job lately, and had been dropping hints for a while about it, but the shit hit the fan when she linked to a hateful post about a dead person without comment. In other words, she didn't say "this is racist, we at WKRN don't agree with it, but it is written by a Nashville blogger, and my job is to link to this stuff." And so a few people took it to mean she did approve of it and laid into her in their own harsh and hateful ways. Including calling for her job.

The crux of the argument can be summed up by this pinhead's statement I saw somewhere:
". . . in bloggyland, when you paste and link to some crap and don’t provide any context or clarification, thats called ENDORSEMENT."
I guess I was missing that page in my bloggyland rulebook.

I learned long ago as a bartender to never discuss religion or politics if you want to keep the peace. Well, that was part of Brittney's job. People who check NiT on a regular basis know Brittney and her political leanings and her past run-ins with various bloggers, and any NiT regular knew that she wasn't endorsing the post at all. In fact, those folks knew that she linked with nothing but personal disgust.

The only "mistake" she made is that she didn't treat each and every post as if a first-time reader was going to see it. That would be impossible. There is no way she could spend two years, eight hours a day linking to thousands of blog posts and not end up playing to the regulars. Unfortunately, that group of regulars is tiny compared to the reach of a TV station, not to mention the whole of the internet. It is so small that one could write a story that would be jibberish to outsiders, but would be clear to regular readers. (Slarti and Ivy went to shoot guns at UncleSay's place, Coma and theogeo came over from Hooterville and Wage took flickr fodder. The Roger A. and Carter were there, fawning over B, when S&F arrived claiming he found Sista and Rex L. making out at a rally supporting the Krumm/Kate O' ticket for Blog King and Queen . . .)

Nashville is Talking has created a diverse community of thoughtful, literate, idiotic, goofy, intelligent and outright stupid people. Brittney, being the only person ever to run NiT, is the person to credit for creating that community. But it is a very, very, very small community. A miniscule local internet clique.

I have a restaurant that is part of this very Nashville bloggyland. Opening day was all blogger related business. And several bloggers became regulars. But the main reason the blog helped the business was because the mainstream media picked up on it from the beginning. I got more press in the Tennessean, All the Rage, the Nashville Scene, the City Paper, etc. than I could have dreamed of, all because of the blog. I was interviewed on NPR about BBQ. I was hailed as some kind of new-media marketing genius and mention in a discussion at the Harvard Business School and in an Owen School of Business (Vanderbilt) quarterly magazine. I won a bunch of "blogger awards" and appeared in online restaurant publications as an example of how to use a blog to build your business. It was great. But, at the height of that blog's popularity, it was averaging fewer than 200 hits a day. And most of those were the same group of Nashville bloggers coming back over and over to check on my progress at getting the place open. If someone came to sell me advertising promising 200 impressions per day, that person would be shown the door very quickly. All my blog posts put together didn't come anywhere close to having the impact that one favorable review in the Tennessean did.

But my place became a hot ticket for this NiT blogging community, for better and worse. Many of the local bloggers who have regularly written about my restaurant are decidedly left-leaning. (And many are not.) I once got into a pissing match with a far-right blogger in his comments, when he told me that he wouldn't eat there because he pictured my place as a gathering place for a bunch of liberals to hatch plans to kill babies and use tax money to release convicted granny rapers. I tried to tell him that my restaurant exists in the real world, and that in reality, Nashvhille bloggers while very important to me, represent less than one percent of my business. He just wouldn't believe it.

I am one of the lucky few who has made money from a blog. Other than my smokin' brother-in-arms Patrick Martin (killer BBQ, if you are ever in Nolensville), Brittney and Adam are the only folks around here that I can think of who have directly made money off blogging. And their situations are completely opposite of mine. They are/were paid to spend 40 hours a week in complete Nashville blog immersion. And the nature of the internet, especially the ability to spew hate anonymously, is what did Brittney in. And I can't blame her one bit.

Take a look at the NiT Blogroll. There are about 400 blogs. Compare that to another self-publishing revolution, MySpace. A search of all MySpace pages in the Nashville area maxes out at 75 pages with 3000 sites. It won't go any higher, so who knows how many there are. Right now, in the grand scheme of things, the impact of NiT is tiny. Yet I applaud WKRN and former GM Mike Sechrist for what they have done with blogging. Not because of the "impact" they have made, but because they were, and always will be, first. And with internet stuff, first is first, and anything else is last. I hope the new regime over there sticks with it, just because you never know where it will lead.

The Nashville Blogosphere has been very good to me and my business, and I have met friends I will probably keep for life, and for that I am grateful. And it wouldn't have happened without Brittney. And for that I am especially grateful.

But if you sit at your computer all day and get outraged by stupid shit like the lack of a disclaimer, and start calling for people's jobs, you need to get out a little. It just ain't that big of a deal.

Friday, June 01, 2007


If you have the bio-mechanical misfortune to need a prescription for Cialis, do you receive two claw-foot tubs to put in your backyard as part of the deal? Every couple on TV that uses Cialis has 'em.

"Honey! It's starting to work! Did you fill the yard tubs?!?!"