When Leona Helmsley died, I saw a headline referring to her by her nickname from long ago, the "Queen of Mean." I thought that was uncalled for, as she had died and one shouldn't speak ill of the departed.
Turns out she left nothing to two of her grandchildren and $12 million to her fucking dog.
I was in New York City right at the time a new smoking ban went into effect. Being a tourist, I had no idea a new smoking ban had gone into effect, it's not like they announced it on the plane upon arrival. Also, being the kind of tourist that I am, I had a specific touristy goal, and that was to have a martini at the Oak Bar in the legendary Plaza hotel.
Some people prefer the Statue of Liberty or a somber moment of reflection at Ground Zero. I prefer the famous drinking establishments.
The Oak Bar at the Plaza hotel was the smokiest bar I had ever been to in my life, and I've been in plenty. Everyone in the place was lighting up. Turns out that the fine for allowing someone to smoke in your establishment had been set at $150. All the smokers in the Oak Bar contributed money into a large tip bucket on the bar, and the place just paid the fine everyday. I thought that was a fabulous case of sticking it to the Man.
Speaking of sticking it to the man, I also remember that two martinis at the Oak Bar came to $38.
He's 26. He has a condo on West End. He's a Vandy grad. He's got the SEC fratboy haircut. And Brandt Snedeker won the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, NC, yesterday for his first PGA Tour victory, locking up Rookie-of-the-Year honors for 2007. And he shot a 63 to get it done. Not only did he get that shiny trophy, but he got a big check for $900,000. Way to go, Nashville boy. Hey Brandt, need some good advice on what to do with all that money? It's all right here.
Now for the worst commercial in the history of bad commercials.
OK, me and my buddies have a band, right? We've been on the road together for so long, we have come to the realization that all of us suffer from Erectile Dysfunction. And we all use Viagra. So we wrote a song about it. Cause, you know, we're all brothers in the fact that none of us can get it up.
Not like when we first started the band, back in '74. Damn, remember that time Rufus (the piano player) was banging that chick in the back of the VW bus while we were all "asleep" on the way to Reno? Well I wasn't sleeping, and let me tell you, that's where he got his nickname "Slugger." As in Louisville Slugger.
So anyway, thank God for Viagra! In fact, we love Viagra so much, that before we all go home and get laid, we're going to sing a song about it! Because we're all hip old guys just sitting around in this Roadhouse in the middle of nowhere singing our Viagra song!
"This lonesome toad's getting sick of the road, I can't wait (Can't wait") can' wait to go home. Viva Viagra! Viva Viagra! Viva, Viva Viagra!"
I know it is a commercial, suspension of disbelief and all that, but come on. A whole band of ethnically and socially diverse old men not only admitting, but joyously shouting to the heavens that they have the dirty little secret of E.D.?
I got a phone solicitation last night on behalf of the Tony Tenpenny for Metro Council campaign. Now, I haven't even begun to look into the Metro Council campaign, other than what I read in passing and who has the most yard signs. (Tenpenny leads in the yard sign category in my neighborhood.) One thing I remember reading is that Tenpenny has been arrested six times.
There is no way in hell I'm voting for this guy. Not because of the arrests, mind you. Youthful indiscretion, bygones be bygones and all that. I'm not voting for him because the phone call I got last night was on my cell phone. I don't know where they got the number, but as far as I'm concerned, the Tenpenny campaign stole two or three minutes from me. Those are minutes that I have to pay for.
Assault I can live with. DUI? He says he's sober now. Solicitation of drugs? It's a disease, just send me to rehab. But calling me on my cell? Show him the consolation prize, Johnny.
I drive an SUV. I have for most of my adult life. I have had many jobs where I've needed to carry a lot of stuff around and needed it to stay dry. My SUV gets pretty crappy mileage. Lately, with gas prices so high, I have chosen to not take certain trips in order to save gas. I do care about the environment and the earth, but those decisions have been economical, not green.
I like my Chevy Tahoe. It's been good to me. What I don't like is people blaming me for the 100 degree temperatures we've been having lately in Nashville. That's just ridiculous. Save your smug, sarcastic, holier-than-thou, we're-killing-the-planet-yet-you-still-drive-an-SUV crap for someone else. Those comments are falling on deaf ears here. If I was in the market for a new car, I would get an SUV. If there was one available that ran on tap water, you better believe I'd buy it. But there isn't so I can't. So, until then, I'll continue to get shitty mileage.
So, to all the people who are disgusted by my vehicle choice, let's get a little perspective, shall we?
Let's talk about trucks. Eighteen wheelers, box trucks, milk trucks, refrigerated trucks. There are millions of them, criss-crossing the planet, carrying goods from factories to consumers every day. What kind of mileage do they get? I bet my Tahoe does better. Do you have anything in your house that wasn't made locally? How do you think it got here? That couch you're sitting on? It was made in North Carolina. It had to get here somehow. You're killing the planet.
Speaking of moving goods to consumers, what about container ships? You ever run the mind-bogglingly huge maze of piers on a ship in Los Angeles Harbor or Hong Kong? I have. You wouldn't believe how many container ships are chugging around the world's oceans right now. They burn millions of gallons of fuel every year. How did that IKEA desk get from Sweden to your place? Do you have anything in your house made in China? I bet you do, you naughty little judgmental person, you. You're killing the planet, yet you insist on cranking up your Dave Matthews through a Japanese tuner and Korean-made speakers.
Take a cruise, kill the planet. You can't get 2500 people from Miami to St. Thomas to San Juan to Nassau and back on wishes and unicorns, now can you? Especially if they want to travel in air-conditioned comfort and eat food that has been cooked in ovens. The hot tub on Lido Deck is hot because it runs on electricity which is created on board by generators that burn fuel to keep that little floating city just chock full of electricity.
Go water skiing, kill the planet. Boats get notoriously bad mileage. I was flying into Baltimore last week and saw hundreds of pleasure boats tooling around the bay. A bunch of inconsiderate bastards, I tell you. I have a friend who is a Yacht captain in Ft. Lauderdale. You think $80 to fill up a Tahoe is bad, every time his boss wants to go somewhere, he has to fuel up to the tune of thousands of dollars. The bigger boats don't measure in miles per gallon, but gallons per mile. A three-hour tour indeed.
Speaking of flying, what about airplanes? They too, burn thousands of gallons of fuel. If you've been a passenger on a plane, you're killing the planet. Especially if you are selfish enough to take a pleasure trip, like a vacation. Go see granny in Des Moines for Thanksgiving, kill the planet. And don't get me started on FedEx. If someone ships a package from San Fransisco to Seattle, chances are it flies to Memphis and back out. All you selfish bastards who absolutely positively have to have something delivered over night are killing the planet.
Let's not leave out about the military. Not just our military and the Iraq war., but all worldwide military forces. How fuel efficient are tanks and Humvees and armored vehicles? And think about all the military forces all over the world running training and exercises every day. You think an aircraft carrier loaded with 5000 soldiers and 50 jet fighters doesn't burn a little fuel, constantly chugging around the oceans of the world? Don't forget the Destroyers and Battleships and Escorts and Frigates. And then you have those jet fighters, Apaches, Blackhawks and C-130s. How much fuel is pissed away when there is a fly-over at a football game? Support the NFL, kill the planet.
How much fuel does a TV station piss away covering drive-time traffic or a low-speed car chase with a helicopter? Don't forget about heavy machinery like cranes, bulldozers, backhoes and cement trucks. Those things drink fuel like water. If you work in a multi-story building, or walk on a sidewalk, you're killing the planet. I read an articlethat said your lawn mower emits more greenhouse gases per gallon of gas than your car. How many of you who sneer at me and my SUV cut your grass?
I do what I can. I have cut my electric consumption at home in half from last summer to this summer. I would like to see a world that didn't use fossil fuels for energy. Solar, wind, cold fusion -- bring it on. When someone invents an alternative to our dependency on both transportation and oil, I'll be first to get on board. But until then, you are not going to get me to feel responsible for the fact that it was 102 in the shade yesterday. It reminds me of someone who has a closet full of leather belts and shoes and jackets, but is a vegetarian because eating meat is cruel to animals.
Next time you go to a movie theater to watch the latest Lord of the Rings saga, think about how much fuel was burned from start to finish to make that movie. All the trucks, cars, trailers, generators, helicopters and airline flights from Hollywood to Auckland and back. All those resources pissed away on a freaking movie. You blame my Tahoe for the heat. I blame Tolkien.
I was a big baseball fan growing up. I played it and had the baseball cards and learned to read box scores in the paper and followed the pennant races and watched it on TV. I didn't grow up in a major league city, so I only went to one game as a kid. Braves, Cardinals on a visit to Atlanta. I saw Hank Aaron and Joe Torre hit home runs. The game went into extra innings, I think 13, and we were out till midnight. It was great.
I followed Aaron's home run record chase intently. I remember him coming up just short at the end of the season and having to wait an entire off-season to see him hit 714 and 715. It was an exciting time for a baseball loving kid.
Then I went off to college in Dallas, and I was in a major league city. We would go see the Rangers on a whim, as bleacher seats were cheap enough that even on a college budget we had enough for a stop in one of the local Arlington strip clubs on the way home. ("Seriously, dude, I think she likes me.")
But through a combination of all the strikes and lockouts and crap that baseball went through, I completely lost interest. And I can't get it back. I moved to South Florida the year the Marlins first won the World Series. I thought I might be able to get it back then, but Huizenga went and sold off the entire team and they went in the crapper. I got tickets to a game a couple of years later, and there were just over 5,000 people there. It was pathetic in a stadium that holds 60,000 for Dolphin games. That didn't rekindle my interest. In fact, I think we left around the fifth inning.
I do remember the "summer that saved baseball" with McGuire and Sosa hitting ridiculous amounts of home runs. I didn't follow it because they were so obviously juiced up on steroids. And now, when people say, "we didn't know at the time that they were on steroids," I just have to laugh. Anyone who has spent any time in a gym knows what guys using steroids look like. It's like the skinny chick with the huge, perfectly round tits up under her chin with the three inch gap between them that is stretched so tight you can see her sternum. We know they're fake, she knows there fake, there's nothing more to see here, just keep moving. It is impossible to get the body that McGuire or Sosa had without help. We (my friends and I) knew those guys were on steroids. I don't remember any of us being outraged, it was just a fact. For people to say they didn't know at the time is a joke.
So Bonds broke Hank's record sometime this week. I don't care. I have noticed some people trying to play the race card against the white establishment sports writers. These are the same sports writers who have raked the white McGuire over the coals and who think Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods can actually walk on water. I watched Aaron break the white man's record, and he did it in the South. There was some racial tension there. Bonds? Give me a break.
My kid doesn't have a real common name, but then again neither do I. The dot com domain of my name was available for the longest time, I just kept putting off registering it and putting it off and putting it off, and finally, someone with my name who is a magician in Ft. Wayne, Indiana registered it. I don't know what I would have ever used it for, but I know now that the answer is nothing.
So the dot com of my kid's name is available. I've been checking it since she was little. She's six now, I figure I have time, I mean, c'mon, that's something like $17 a year. The thing is, if she has her own domain, when she's 16 she'll be the coolest kid in school, because by then owning your name as a dot come will be as rare as a president that isn't a Clinton or a Bush. So I did the next best thing. I registered her name at Gmail. Because it's free, and Google isn't going anywhere. (They're at least as solid as Oldsmobile and Braniff.) Hopefully, when all her friends have emails like NashGirlGoTitans02202001IlikePuppies at Gmail dot com, they will all marvel at the fact that my kid's dad had the foresight to register her a simple, memorable Email address -- her name -- when she was a kid.
Or, when all her friends have their own dot com domain names, they will marvel at the fact that her dad was too cheap to spend $17 a year for her to have her own.
There is a big stink going on (again) between Liz Garrigan and "the bloggers." Liz is the Editor or publisher or something of the Nashville Scene. I may have met her once, I'm not sure. Liz says this:
Most bloggers wouldn’t last an hour under the journalistic quality control that a newspaper demands.
OK, first off, she's absolutely right. Most bloggers wouldn't. As long as you include all the bloggers on places like MySpace, where most of the entries are, "OMG! I totqaly got wassted last nit. LOL! I thnk I hokked up w/this cute guy.................cant rmeber!! LOL!!!!"
But methinks she's not talking about the MySpace bloggers. She's talking about the Blogspot and Wordpress bloggers. The occasional ones who can spell and know grammar and know how to develop lucid, persuasive arguments. That's a whole different animal.
Until blogging came along, it was rare that you could read the writing on a regular basis of someone you didn't know who wasn't a journalist. Now there are thousands of people like that. And it is a shock to the old school journalism set that there are other people out there who can write.
The Scene has had a holier-than-thou attitude toward area bloggers for a long time. There was once a parody of what went on at a blogger Christmas party, and it reeked of a juvenile piss-take written by the jocks, making fun of the geeks. It was truly pathetic, because it wasn't funny. And it struck home with me because I hosted that particular party at my restaurant, and I was only blogger that was (sort of) identified.
The main content in most Nashville-based blogs last week was about a meeting of bloggers at a restaurant owned by a blogger. Bloggers blogged about their anticipation of the event, they posted photos on their blogs of themselves with other bloggers, and many bloggers rushed home to blog about how nice it was to meet people who are bloggers—just like themselves!
“It was so neat to put faces with the blogging personalities,” one blogger says. “And I was surprised to learn that several of them have jobs.”
Now don't get me wrong. I wasn't offended. It just wasn't funny. Comedy ain't easy, folks, especially in print. And considering the condescending tone the Scene had against the bloggers, it just reeked of arrogance. Of course, many bloggers have taken a condescending tone toward the Scene as well. But the "journalistic quality control that a newspaper demands" also includes being above the fray of criticism. Most of the bloggers taking shots at the Scene have readerships in the tens or hundreds. Goliath, just ignore David and you won't get hurt.
I have been a journalist. I was not formally trained in college. Who cares. I was recommended by a friend. My interview went like this:
"So, you've got a degree with an English minor?"
"OK, go on in and get started. They'll show you around."
And I learned quickly. I worked at a publisher of sports magazines. My first job was a fact-checker. My training was this: "Everything that is a fact, you need to check. Everything. I don't care if it is 'Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs.' Look up the spelling and the home run total." And all those facts, no matter how mundane or obvious, got checked by three different people. That's the essence of the journalistic quality control she talks about. It ain't rocket surgery.
I have been published hundreds of times in countless newspapers. The most recent one was here, last week. I wrote that story. Every word. (Actually the opening sentence was changed to include the Sports Council, creating a grammatical error.) It was copied off a press release that I sent out. I have to write press releases in a manner that they can be copied, because in my experience, "quality control" and "journalistic standards" mean that if I don't write a good release that can be copied verbatim, you're not getting coverage. No one has ever called me on any press release I've ever sent out to question a fact. Never. Clarification, yes. Facts, no.
Granted, I'm not writing hard news. But that is the problem with Garrigan's broad generalization. That rigorous standard is played fast and loose at newspapers, depending on the topic. Is a pool tournament going to get the Woodward and Bernstein treatment before it goes in a local community paper? Of course not. Newspapers run press releases and wire stories every day. Without checking anything.
Do I hold my blog to Liz's high standards? Hell no. Why should I? I'm Nashville Knucklehead, fer chrissakes. If I did, I'd have to take this sentence:
Liz is the Editor or publisher or something of the Nashville Scene.
And find out what her title is, and get the AP Style Book out and find out if "Editor" and "publisher" should be capitalized or not, and italicize the name of the paper. And then go back and check all the facts and edit for content and style. Fuck that. It's a blog.
Perhaps there are some smarter football minds than mine out there. Perhaps one of them will comment and straighten out my thinking. Here's one thing I don't understand about football. Why does a team punt to a return man? Especially if it a good one like Deion Sanders or Pac Man Jones. Why risk the possibility of a big return. If I were special teams coach, I would have my punter spend all day in practice kicking it as far as he can, out of bounds. And I would have him kick every punt out of bounds in games.
On the same note, where did the good old coffin corner kick go? Is it really that hard for a punter to aim where the ball goes?
I spent the good part of the week at a casino in Rhode Island. Well, not really a casino, it was a dog track with a few video slot machines thrown in. By a few, I mean about 400,000. Here is what I observed from my visit to Rhode Island Casino: Everyone in Rhode Island Casino is old. Everyone in Rhode Island Casino is small. Everyone in Rhode Island Casino has the same haircut. Men, Women, doesn't matter. Short and gray. Black People don't go to Rhode Island Casino. The only conversation topic allowed in Rhode Island Casino is the current or future state of the Red Sawks. And the strangest thing I have ever seen in any Casino -- Nobody, and I mean nobody in Rhode Island Casino drinks. Thousand of people gambling, and there were a couple of cups of coffee.