Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An appropriate quote for an obnoxious time

Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither .

- Benjamin Franklin

Of course this is such a good quote it's going to be proven that Benjamin Franklin really didn't say it and that someone else did but so far all I've been able to confirm is people quoting ol' Ben so I'm going with that.

It does need to be said -- though of course it's not going to change anything and just make me roll my eyes some more.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My good fortune continues!

I mean, am I not the luckiest person or what?

From: enalott.03@terra.es
Sent: 4/24/2010 11:00:05 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Email Winner!
*Your e-mail address was selected as winner of Email Euro Game*You have won the sum of **615,810.00Euros** credited to Batch no:72/50685/MMH*You are advised to contact our agent Snr.Carlos Fabregas*on tel.:+34672518447 Or Email:carlofabregas01@gmx.com



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Congratulations are obviously in order!

In my in-box this morning:

From: contact@revolutionhouse.tv
To: BlondeTraceLacey@aol.com
Sent: 4/15/2010 7:55:00 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Appointment.....

My name is Gary Hamilton,I am the Event/Administrative Manager of REVOLUTION HOUSE INCORPORATED.We deal in managing artiste,and we have worked with P.diddy,Lil Wayne,Kelly Clarkson,The dream,Eminem and a lots more.We have been official announced and selected for Managing the 2010 FIFA WORLD CUP.As part of our plans,to make the event a huge success,we selected Akon and Rihanna to perform at the opening ceremony but due to the deal these artistes made with their Record Company,Your service will be needed at this event and we will like to know if you will be available.

You will meet officially with these 2 artistes before the event and we will also like to know your charges.We will be responsible for the accommodation and transportation.We will also like to know the method of payment you accept(wire transfer e.t.c).

You can contact us via these e-mail addresses:


Our Website is www.revolutionhouse.tv

I will be expecting your response.


Gary Hamilton.


I'm so thrilled! I'm obviously in the big time now!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Goodbye to our kittycat

Yes, this is a silly picture -- cat pictures generally are, aren't they?

This was Mandy in happier times. When this picture was taken she was lying in a ray of sunshine from the patio door . . . she had probably just eaten and given herself a good bath and was feeling just fine.

Mandy was my mother's cat -- the only cat we've had that we went and got, my mother got her from PAWS, the rescue society here. One of my mother's friends had seen her and thought my mother might like a cat and this one just seemed to be, as the friend said, 'I think that's your cat."

And so my mother went down and picked her up and brought her home, and sure enough, she was our cat.

She was our cat for nearly 18 years. Like all Siamese she had a whim of iron -- a strength of will that was as big as the world. All the more amazing from such a small cat.

She was always happy and healthy and was never sick until the very end -- this last month she got so thin, wouldn't eat, etc. The vet said she just wore out, she was just old.

And tonight, after a month of being tended to, it was finally over. I'm grateful she didn't suffer. I'm so glad she was able to close her eyes lying on the bed where she slept so many nights, warm and safe, in the company of people who loved her. May we all be so fortunate when our time comes.

Our pets are the children of our hearts and it is so hard to let go.

Love you, Mandy girl.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Start of a new week, so here's some food for thought.

An Eschatological Laundry List

From If you Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him by Sheldon Kopp.

1. This is it!

2. There are no hidden meanings.

3. You can't get there from here, and besides there is no place else to go.

4. We are all already dying, and we will be dead for a long time.

5. Nothing lasts.

6. There is no way of getting all you want.

7. You can't have anything until you let go of it.

8. You only get to keep what you give away.

9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.

10. The world is not necessarily just, being good often does not pay
off and there is no compensation for misfortune.

11. You have a responsibility to do your best nonetheless.

12. It is a random universe to which we bring meaning.

13. You don't really control anything.

14. You can't make anyone love you.

15. No one is any stronger or weaker than anyone else.

16. Everyone is, in their own way vulnerable.

17. There are no great people.

18. If you have a hero, look again; You have diminished yourself in some way.

19. Everyone lies, cheats & pretends.

20. All evil is potential vitality in need of transformation.

21. All of you is worth something, if you will only own it.

22. Progress is an illusion.

23. Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new problems.

24. Yet it is necessary to keep struggling toward solution.

25. Childhood is a nightmare.

26. But it is very hard to be an on-your-own, take-care-of-yourself-cause
there-is-no-one-else-to-do-it-for-you grown up.

27. Each of us is ultimately alone.

28. The most important things, each person must do for themselves.

29. Love is not enough, but it sure helps.

30. We have only ourselves, and one another. That may not be much, but that's all there is.

31. How strange, that so often, it all seems worth it.

32. We must live with the ambiguity of partial freedom,
partial power and partial knowledge.

33. All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.

34. Yet we are responsible for everything we do.

35. No excuses will be accepted.

36. You can run, but you can't hide.

37. It is most important to run out of scapegoats.

38. We must learn the power of living with our helplessness.

39. The only victory, lies in surrender to oneself.

40. All of the significant battles are waged within yourself.

41. You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the consequences.

42. What do you know……..for sure……….. anyway?

43. Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again and again.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

And then I thought about you

I took a trip on a train and I thought about you.
I passed a shadowy lane and I thought about you.
Two or three cars parked under the stars a winding stream.
Moon shining down on some little town
And with each beam the same old dream.

And every stop that we made I thought about you.
And when I pulled down the shade then I really felt blue.
I peeked through the crack and looked at the track,
The one going back to you and what did I do?
I thought about you.

About this time a year ago I let someone go out of my life, someone I had carried in my heart for time out of mind, someone I thought deeply about and hoped for and wished on. I had given them a lot of influence and power with all of this and when it finally became heartbreakingly obvious even to me that I was greatly mistaken about most everything I reclaimed myself and closed the door to further trespass, ending the relationship.

Time has passed and in that time I have found I missed my old friend, the companion of my heart, very much. I've had days I wept about it all and wide-awake nights I longed for my used to be and I've wondered more than once if I made the wrong choice.

From the vantage point of a year later I realize I did all the heavy lifting. I carried that relationship through everything, sustained it through good and bad and then bad and worse and then so horrible that finally I couldn't carry it any further.

I understand that what I have missed was illusion, the belief that brought me through all the years of toting that heavy load, what I thought I saw and what I felt. Most of all it was not so much about what it was as it was about what I wanted. That reality is not so pretty and I acknowledge my part in my own self-deception.

Today I let go that final vestige of foolishness and sadness and I stop feeling bad for my loss. Today I know I didn't lose anything at all.

I hope I have gained some better comprehension of the human condition and greater understanding of what brings people into your life . . . and why sometimes it's not appropriate for them to stay.

There were two or three cars parked under the stars...
a windin' stream.
Moon shining down on some little town
And with each beam the same old dream.

And then I peeked through the crack and I looked at that track,
The one going back to you, and what did I do...
I thought about you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Send in the clowns

Got a link last night to video footage of the Seed and Feed Marching Abominable in Atlanta's 2007 St. Patrick's Day Parade.


There wasn't a parade in 2008 because a tornado hit downtown Atlanta the night before, but we're back back back for 2009, barring plague and fire and locusts. Here's a great shot of the goings on:


Here's the 2009 information so you can stake out your street corner early:


As for the video I'm trying not to be insulted that they lumped us in with the clowns but at least they did mention us and show us doing our St. Patrick's thing.

If we look like we're staggering there in the street, I got to tell you why. First off, it was sunny but it was also about 15 degrees and windy and we were suffering from the effects of being rescued.

Lemme explain.

Like damn near every parade we ever do, there's a lot of "hurry up and wait" involved; you go to where you're supposed to shape up and you wait and wait and wait for the organizers to come get you. This is very hard to do when it's cold and miserable like that. If it's during a reasonable time of the day the Band will often find a bar to hang out in but there wasn't much open at 10:00 a.m., even on St. Patrick's Day, so were were all huddled up together in a pile in the street looking for stray molecules of warmth.

Just when we thought we were assuming Popsicle temperature along came our salvation.

Two guys dressed like the Blues Brothers -- black suits and porkpie hats and etc. -- pulled up next to us in a vintage Cadillac convertible. Jake said, "Are you folks cold? Would you like a drink?" They popped the trunk on the Caddy and it was full of bottles of brandy and bourbon.

I never knew St. Bernards drove drop top Cadillacs.

By the time the organizers came and got us to march in the parade we were warm and overserved.

Oh Danny Boy, I love you so. (And Jake and Elwood too.)

On a warmer note, here's some camera phone footage of the band at DragonCon. We're wild and crazy but you can't outdress this crowd.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Modest Proposal -- Let's go racing, boys!

Being typed as the Daytona 500 preshow runs in the background.

This preshow is only a little bit shorter than the Academy Awards, it's after 3 in the freaking afternoon and the race has not started yet.

The Race Has Not Started Yet.

That is criminal.

When did this become Super Bowl Sunday?  Again?

Now I got to tell you, I LOVE racing.  I grew up with sports cars and have never really left the sport.  And I can handle the occasional NASCAR excursion, though I do miss the right-hand turns.

I just want 'em to line up the cars, turn on the cameras, and run the sonofabitch.  Is that asking too much?

I don't want a rock concert; if I wanted to watch one I'd tune to Austin City Limits.

I don't want to meet the guy who painted Dale's car.

I don't care to see pictures from Jeff Gordon's daughter's playdates.

I want to see some racing.  Period.

I especially don't want to hear some country-western American Idol wannabee massacre the National Anthem.  Give it more respect than that. Sing it straight up or not at all.

Who cares who's in the pace car?  I want them driving slightly ahead of the 43 other guys on the track just for a little while.

I want all those machine heads in the suits to shut the fuck up.   Most of all YOU, DW.  If you're not driving I don't care what you think.

Stop calling the drivers on the radio on the pace lap -- they're busy, goddammit.  Let the man do his job.

It's not Saturday morning so let's not have any cutesypoo animation.  I especially don't want anything that even looks like "Speed Racer."

Leave the bizarre camera angles to MTV and show us who is ahead of everybody else.

I don't give a shit how it sounds, I know what a racing engine sounds like when it's good and I know how it sounds when it's dying and I'm not impressed either way. In fact there is nothing as sickening as an engine that is giving way and I don't have to hear it over and over again.

I don't have to see crashes from every angle including underground. It happens. Clean it up and let's go.

Am I asking too much?

Drop the bullshit.  Run the race.

I bet ratings would go up.

PS Called for rain short of the total distance, a guy who had just taken the lead before it started to rain and led for one lap "won" the race. If they had started the thing at a decent hour -- like, say, 12:30 -- they would have gotten the race in before it rained. See, even God agrees with me.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tales from meatspace

First, let me direct you to that gustatorial wonder The House of Meat.

Mr. Elisson's fine testimonial to the art of proteinaceous eating brings to mind a few of my own true stories at the real-life places where carnivores dine.

This was going to be a simple reminiscence but even now I can see it's getting into crusty detail-laden ancient history so you better pack a lunch before you go much further. I usually tell these stories over drinks -- big drinks, in the double and the multiple -- so that should give you a hint right there. My apologies in advance to those of you who thought you only signed up for the short stroll through My Garden Of Memories who now find yourself on the Bataan Death March. It's a rambling path with lotsa forks in the road, which seems appropriate somehow.

Anyway, a long time ago in a place now far away I used to get to eat a fancy dinner once a year with a table full of musicians and other nefarious types. We would congregate every year at a convention of brass players held at New York's Roosevelt Hotel. This was before the current spiffy state of the Roosevelt -- today it's very fancy and expensive -- back in the day it was still kinda sorta elegant but not quite so upmarket. It was a grand old girl still giving it all she had but like a dowager duchess, she was just a little bit worn at the corners. But you could see the beautiful bones, the fine carriage, how it Used To Be and Maybe Still Was if you squinted just a little. It was the Margaret Dumont of hotels.

I loved that place and hated to see it get renovated. It's gorgeous but all the soul is gone. Like, oh, Times Square. But I digress.

So during the Saturday afternoon break before the big testimonial tribute and concert (being honored at the Brass Conference was essentially proof that your career was more or less over but you weren't dead quite yet), we would put on fancy clothes -- an opera cloak was not out of place, all the men wore tuxedos and sometimes so did I -- and we'd meet at a place around the corner on 45th Street called The Cattleman.

The Cattleman was a figment of an overactive imagination crafted by a P. T. Barnum kind of real estate guy, Larry Ellman. Smack dab in the middle of Manhattan in the Fred F. French Building, 551 5th Avenue -- how that rolls off the tongue, even the address sounds classy, doesn't it? It's a great Art Deco Building, you should go look at it, it's on the National Register of Historic Places, Google it, check it out, go visit.

And on the ground floor it housed The Cattleman, this Wild West Emporium of beefsteak ridiculousness. I vaguely remember the red flocked wallpaper -- it was decorated in Basic Bordello -- and how all the waitresses were in upswept hairdos and bustiers and tight black skirts. I think all the waiters had handlebar mustaches and garters. Oh, and they had a chantoosie -- this woman with a feather boa around her neck and a gown slit to her cervix would slither out and sing old torch songs in front of a piano while you ate your steak. All this was nearly in the dark, with occasional glints of lights as waiters prepared orders of Bananas Foster tableside.

I also remember they would make you a Caesar salad like nobody's business -- I think that was the job of one guy, that's all he did, he would come out with a cart and make it up for you at the table with great pomp and circumstance.

At the end of the meal a woman would come out and offer you coffee and cigars. I don't smoke as a general rule but I always said yes and yes, it seemed like the thing to do.

When we visited it was basically on its uppers too, much like the Roosevelt; in its heyday they used to offer "stagecoach rides" for the kids and other silliness. By the time we sat down to eat it was likewise shabby but every night they lowered the lights and the Cattleman Girl (she had some other more officious title but I forget what it was) would come out and sit on the piano and sing "I Don't Care" and man, you knew she really didn't if you know what I mean. I used to contemplate asking her if she knew "Ten Cents a Dance" but figured that was hitting too close to home. And we would eat steak and drink martinis and gossip about everyone who wasn't at the table and swell around and then run back to the Roosevelt, grab reinforcement from the bar downstairs, and climb up to the mezzanine and the Grand Ballroom for the evening's tribute.

Ask me sometime about the night I went upstairs to see a great famous trombone player get venerated and found myself sitting in the middle of a crowd of old big band guys, alumni from one of the famous bands, guys who really knew Mr. Great Famous Trombone Player, I mean knew him better than his current wife, better than his ex-wives, better than his girlfriends, better than his boss, even (who could have been but was probably not Woody Herman, let me put it that way) . . . and every time someone on stage would say something I'd get commentary/annotation/cries of "bullshit! I wuz there and here's what REALLY went down" from the peanut gallery.

Do remind me, though I should probably wait until more of those people die off before I repeat any of those stories, especially the ones about Mr. Great Famous Trombone Player. But I digress.

So it's another Brass Conference Saturday night and we go to the Cattleman. Which is not the Cattleman any more.

Ever been to Morton's?

They got 'em all over the country -- they're not as ubiquitous as McDonalds but if they were I'm sure there would also be a cardiologist on every block as well so that's not such a bad thing.

There should have been a sign outside that said "The Cathedral of Steak." I did sort of naturally genuflect walking in but that's because I was a little weak in the knees at all the new grandeur, all glitter and dark corners and starched long white tablecloths.

It was all men in European cut dark suits and women in flowing dresses. In our tuxes and tail coats we felt out of place; all of us musicians, usually in joints like that you get directed to come in through the kitchen area double quick. And don't eat anything! The staff was momentarily confused as much as we were because we had no instruments with us. But they recovered quickly and moved us to a big table.

They get us all seated. No menus are offered.

They take our drink orders. Still no menus.

They bring us our drinks. I get a martini served in a glass that could have held a dozen long-stemmed roses with room left over for the three ginormous olives displacing the vodka.

Behind the waiter with the drinks comes this tiny woman ponderously pushing a cart heavily laden with unidentifiable objects. She hauls the cart to our table, bows, smiles, takes a big breath.

And commences to recite the entire freakin' menu.

"We have THIS." And she reaches out to the cart and hauls up a slab of plastic-covered porterhouse for our startled eyes to see. She cradled it like a baby as she described everything that had been done to it and what more could be done if that be our wish.

"And we have THIS." She dropped the hunk back on the cart (which rocked it a little) and displayed a polyethylene wrapped filet that could have fed a family of four. "Petit." It was petit like those 400 pound men that get nicknamed "Tiny."

"And we have THIS." And each and every THIS was the biggest damn whatever it was I had ever seen in my life. Scallops like hockey pucks. Jumbo jumbo shrimp. Portabello mushrooms run amok.

She rummaged around in the cart and found a lobster apparently trying to make the Great Escape. She caught it neatly as it attempted a dive off the top of the cart. Holding it at arms length triumphantly she proclaimed, "LIVE MAINE LOBSTER!" She flicked the tail for emphasis and it not only beat its tail ominously in the air but waved claws and tentacles madly, the Beast From 20,000 Fathoms and boy was it pissed.

She sprinted to the finish of the presentation as she hefted a baked potato only slightly smaller than Idaho matched with a bouquet of broccoli that must have been grown in the shadow of Three Mile Island.

"Now what would you like?"

"Um . . . I'd like to hear that again."

She was game. She did it all again, dinner and a show, this time with the extra added attraction of the dessert cart bobbing in her wake. It sailed past us with stately grace, a Titanic of Death By Chocolate and Strawberry Cheesecake.

We did get the food sorted out. The guy next to me said, "I want the lobster. THAT lobster, to be exact." We spent some time debating whether we should ransom him and set him free to terrorize the seas once more but ultimately when Roger was assured there was indeed more than enough butter in the kitchen to cover this behemoth his fate was sealed.

The food was as good as it was large. It was one of the most manly meals I've ever had in my life and it was spectacular. I concentrated mostly on the meat of the matter and didn't care about any of the sissy side dishes . . . though a Caesar salad might have been nice.

Coffee was served. A woman approached the table. For a moment I thought I glimpsed a feather boa . . . but she was dressed soberly in black and holding a tray of cigars. The Cohiba was a perfect ending to a wonderful meal. It seemed like the thing to do.

Our host got the check and to his credit he neither fell out in the floor nor ordered us all to start washing dishes. I'm surprised the bill didn't come plastic-wrapped on the cart. You can bet that when your supper is sung to you there's going to be some carrying charges. With a flourish of his opera cloak we were off into the night and on our way back to Brass Conference glories.

All this was a long time ago. The next year the Roosevelt was closed for renovations and the Brass Conference was uptown somewhere else.

We never went back to the Roosevelt.

That was our last dinner as an assortment of friends and colleagues, in fact; after that time, everything changed. People couldn't make it, people retired, people changed jobs, cities. People passed away.

They don't have Brass Conferences any more. I miss that most of all.

A big tip of the hat to the Great and Powerful Og, a man who knows his meat. But I digress.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The new Chevies are in!

Be sure to ask about the "Paulson Special Edition" with racing stripes and stimulus rally package!

A tip of the hat to Neil Harmon.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Rodent Aquacade

Today's Straight Dope Classic is truly a classic column on a terrifying urban problem: Can rats swim up through the (urk) toilet?

It's worth checking out for Slug Signorino's graphic alone, which is, as always, gruesome and wonderful in equal measure.

Usually I simply take Uncle Cecil's word for it but this is a subject on which I can testify because, well, it happened to me.

For several years I had the pleasure of living in an older house in the Candler Park section of Atlanta. The house was built about five minutes after Sherman did his urban renewal thing and to the best of my knowledge had authentic old fashioned everything still in it when I moved in. Among the wonders was a gas refrigerator, which was not something you saw every day by the 1970s. (Was pretty neat, though, until it died and the resulting service call to Atlanta Gas Light was useless and weird as nobody believed me when I said I have a gas refrigerator, could you come fix it? They thought I was going to inquire next if they had Prince Albert in the can. Someone did ask at one point, "Is your refrigerator running?" Unfortunately I had to say no.)

Anyway, even then I had developed the habit of playing in bands and attending regular rehearsals and as is also often the case with rehearsals and gigs they end in going somewhere and drinking and talking and talking and drinking. And so it was on a night such as this that I came home from rehearsal and aftermath and of course the very first thing I wanted to do was recycle that beer so I ran into the house, dropped my horn, and continued on to the facilities. Which I could find in the dark even, I knew where I was going.

And midway down, before I even commence, I hear a splash, somewhat prematurely.

Which caused me to rise up and switch on the light.

Doing the backstroke in the porcelain was the biggest rat I have ever seen in my life.

It was this big gray mofo big enough to partner Esther Williams leisurely splashing around in my turn of the century toilet.

What would you do at that moment? I mean, what would YOU do?

I did what I figured anyone in their right mind would do -- I dropped the lid and ran the hell out of there and called my best friend Henry who had just been at the bar with the rest of us. I was sure Henry would know what to do.

Now you know you got a really good friend when you can call someone up in the middle of the night and proclaim "Help, there's a rat in my toilet!" And they say "Hold on, I'll be RIGHT THERE."

True to his word, within a couple of minutes there's a knock at the door and there he is, standing somewhat tipsily on the porch.

I should mention Henry was wearing a pith helmet and carrying an elephant gun.

That should tell you all you need know about Henry -- that he had both the lid and the blunderbuss handy and therefore hadn't lost any time looking for the proper fashion accessories before he got there.

"Lemme at 'em!" And he runs past me and into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him.

I hear him tentatively lifting the lid.


"Isn't that what I said?"

"Yeah, but I didn't believe it. I thought maybe you were having hallucinations or something."

And then I heard the merciful flush.

Henry came back out with a huge self-satisfied grin and said "Problem solved, m'lady."

By then I was in the back yard peeing because I was not going back to visit Mickey Rat that evening and I was still all skeeved out.

I was the very first and most entertaining phone call to Atlanta Water and Sewer that next morning. The first guy I talked to was sure I was going to ask him if he had Prince Albert in the can and kept saying dubiously, "Lady, I have never heard of this in my life." He put me on with an engineer who had been in the department a little longer and when he stopped laughing he said yeah, it was a combination of the bigger sewer drains in the older parts of the city, a drought that had dropped the water table, and old-fashioned plumbing fixtures.

"What do I do about this to keep it from happening again?"

"Look before you leap. So to speak."

A few years ago Atlanta made all those old toilets illegal. I'm betting the mayor got bit in the ass.

Monday, January 05, 2009

This little piggy stayed home

According to Reuters "Piggy banks fly off shelves in freshly frugal U.S."

Sales of the porcine depository are rising. This makes sense to me, as they're cheaper than mattresses and more stylish than coffee cans.

For once, just once, I am by god ahead of the curve. Behold!

I'm rich, I tell you, rich, rich!

All of a sudden I feel like Scrooge McDuck.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Just when you think you have totally mapped the playing field of perversity somebody moves the goalposts

Someone just shared a link with me.

For dinosaur porn.

You read correctly.



(There is nothing wrong with your monitor. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity.)

Is it still bestiality if the species is extinct?

(No, I'm not giving you the link, ya deve. )

The first thing that echoed inside my head after "OhmercifulGAWD" was, of course, "I love you, you love meeee. . ."

Might have been easier to take if it HAD been a purple dinosaur -- this one was green and appeared to have a French manicure. (Those metrosexuals are everydamnwhere.)

He was also, um, very well equipped, apparently the Dirk Diggler of Gojira, as it were.

You don't want to know about the rest.

In this crazy ol' world it could even signal a trend. Coming soon to the Hell Metroplex near you: "Brokeback Tokyo." "Love is a force of nature -- and it's pissed!"

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Yeah, I been gone a bit. Didja miss me?

New year, new resolutions, new beginnings.

Hopefully not the same old shit.
(Probably some new shit instead.)

Just cranked in the New Year right by scaring away the evil spirits that hover between heaven and earth on this night -- for this house it's the World War II air raid siren my late stepfather got from god knows where.

Courtesy of the Home Office, it is.

New Year's Resolution #1: Learn how to format these photos better.

In the meantime, isn't that the neatest little noisemaker you ever saw?

When everyone else was watching balls drop and etc. I was cranking this thing as hard as it could go.

Of course at the same time there was also a considerable amount of gunfire going on in my neighborhood but this did slow them down for a second or two as people anxiously scanned the skies for German aircraft.

I'm reasonably satisfied I scared away any evil spirits as well as any potential Jerries in the 2009 southern skies, so we're off to a good start.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I just don't have enough good things to say about this CD, I mean, hell, you got to to run down and buy this bad boy today.

Check out this track listing: http://www.jerryleelewis.nl/en/NewAlbum.htm

I dunno which song I like better, there is not a dog among them and Jerry Lee rocks the house start to finish.

Word is Jerry Lee has more material waiting for release including an upcoming gospel album. I can hardly wait.

You want to hear some first? For a short time it's on AOL's "CD Listening Party." http://music.aol.com/songs/new_releases_full_cds

There's samples on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000GRUQYW/ref=pd_rvi_gw_1/102-4522043-1920901?ie=UTF8

Clip from Jerry Lee's website:

http://www.jerryleelewis.com/audio/LastManStanding-Medley.wma (Windows Media)

http://www.jerryleelewis.com/audio/LastManStanding-Medley.ram (Real Audio)

Out of all the members of Sam Phillips' "Million Dollar Quartet" no one would have bet on Jerry Lee being the last man standing . . . literally.

Y'all go get this and rock your world.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The gift of the Hunter

Much sorrow at the news of the passing of Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter." And rightfully so, for a lot of reasons: He was an ardent conservationist and a man with a deep appreciation of nature, even when (or maybe especially if) it was red in tooth and claw. He was also entertaining as hell.

It is sad news and I am grieved for his wife and children and for all the family and friends he leaves behind.

However, it is not a tragedy. While he died in the fullness of his time and power I think we all suspected he was destined to find his ending in the midst of some great adventure. He might have even known this himself; to his credit, this did not stop him from having those adventures, just the same. We are not all granted long form in our storytelling here.

Until the very moment he died he was doing that which he loved and enjoying it to the fullest. He made the world a better place by being here, even if he couldn't stay as long as he might have liked. He improved the planet and cheered the human race and those are great things for anyone to do.

Once again he teaches the greater lesson: Nothing is promised to us and it is truly, truly the present, in every pronunciation. "Every day should be unwrapped like a precious gift."

The NYTimes obituary referred to him as a "larrikin;" the Australian word for those larger than life characters, irreverent, cheerful, and not at all observant of the dinky social proprieties. His very human characterstics and foibles made him an archetype, which means that he will never really die, especially anywhere glasses are raised high and adventurers are remembered fondly.

I suspect Jim Fowler and Jack Hanna feel especially bereft.

Godspeed, Steve. May you find your path in what must be the wildest kingdom of them all.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Why reality trumps comedy

Occasionally I like to try to write with a more comic slant because, well, some things just strike me funny sometimes and I want to share that with you; I want to make you laugh out loud or at least chuckle a little. If I've done that, this is a good day.

But I swear to Jesus the best, the very best stuff, that's the things that you read in the paper or see on tv or that somehow fall into your lap, the reminders that people are the craziest animals.

I often clip things out of the paper or from other things I read or make notes. And then I find them again (sometimes years later) and I have to figure out what to do then.

Here's one of my favorites that just resurfaced from the rubble on my desk -- clipped from the obituary section of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

In loving memory . . .
Heaven's gates were opened wide
When you with your Cutlass drove inside.
There is absodamnlutely nothing I could ever write as good as this.

The best ballgame I saw all year long

Saw the final game of the Little League World Series this evening and I got to tell you, it's the most enjoyable game I've seen in a long long time.

The action was great. Watching those young men run around the field, bat, throw, and those wonderful pitchers -- it was all so good, so good. The joy of the game was so evident.

I cried at the end -- who says there's no crying in baseball? -- happy for the winners, sad for the losing team. When they all ran up the hill afterwards, all of them, both teams, I thought that was the greatest thing.

Did they all get to go to Dairy Queen afterwards, that's what I want to know. I hope so.

Katrina: America Held Hostage

Heard on the news this evening that President Bush is visiting New Orleans tomorrow.

My first thought was, God, haven't those people suffered enough?

I guess not.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Chocolate in the news

Chocolate Virgin Mary image restores faith

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Excited workers in a California candy factory are claiming they witnessed a miracle when a glob of chocolate formed an image of the Virgin Mary.

"It's absolutely a miracle," said Jacinto Santacruz, 26, a Mexican-born Roman Catholic who found the 2-1/2 inch chunk of chocolate this week at Bodega Chocolates in Fountain Valley and saw in it a likeness of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

I have seen Jesus many times when eating chocolate, but usually it has to be really dark and very expensive, though even block Hershey Special will do in a pinch when the dark fever strikes.

Visitors to the candy statue have stated that the chocolate has renewed their faith.

I'm all for that -- we don't have near enough faith around here and that's a natural fact -- since there's no chocolate in the house obviously my faith needs renewing as well. Maybe I need to do a little prayin' up towards Saint Ethel M.

Man Trapped Waist-Deep In Chocolate

It might sound like a chocoholic's dream, but stepping into a vat of chocolate became a two-hour nightmare for a 21-year-old man Friday morning.

The man, an employee of a Kenosha company that supplies chocolate ingredients, told police he got into the tank at Debelis Corp. to unplug it and became trapped waist-deep in the chocolate.

"It was pretty thick. It was virtually like quicksand," said Police Capt. Randy Berner.

(Seriously, I'm glad he's okay.)

"You got people in my chocolate!"

A message on race relations from the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

I see former Atlanta mayor, former envoy to the United Nations, and (until this happened) former all-around Good Guy Andrew Young has disclosed that he is a racist.

In an interview, Young was asked whether he was concerned that Wal-Mart causes smaller, mom-and-pop stores to close.

"Well, I think they should; they ran the 'mom and pop' stores out of my neighborhood," the paper quoted Young as saying. "But you see, those are the people who have been overcharging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs; very few blacks own these stores."

He now apologizes; gee, there's lots of "I'm sorry" floating around here these days, isn't there? I'm all for forgiveness -- you can't expect to be forgiven for your own sins if you can't forgive others -- but dang, this is hard to take.

A recent obituary from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution comes to mind, here's exactly what Mr. Andy is talking about:

News Obituary Article

Yetta Danneman, 85, store owner


Now there's a trendy coffeehouse at the corner of Edgewood Avenue and Boulevard, keeping the loft-dwellers around it stoked on caffeine.

For 47 years, though, the spot belonged to Danneman's Super Market, where Yetta DAnneman helped keep the predominantly black neighborhood around it feeling welcome and well-fed.

Until they sold it in 1986, Mrs. Danneman and her late husband Marcus O. Danneman ran their mom-and-pop grocery store with a colorblind approach to customer service that was so startlingly evenhanded for its day that it often rankled those less enlightened.

She and her husband, who died in 1988, made sure their store served the Auburn Avenue area fairly and honestly during the peak of the civil rights movement. They befriended scores of community leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr. and his family members, who lived a few blocks from their store.

Her husband was a pallbearer at the Rev. King's funeral and the couple braved a crowd of hecklers to attend a Nobel Prize dinner for Dr. King at the downtown Dinkler Hotel in 1965, said her sister Mildred Pizitz of Huntsville, Ala.

"Yetta passed right through those protesters because she knew what was right," her sister said. "She was the stronget, most courageous and most big-hearted person I've ever known."

Yetta Shonson Danneman, 85, of Atlanta died of heart failure Sunday at St. Joseph's Hospital. The graveside service was Monday. Dressler's Jewish Funeral Care was in charge of arrangements.

The Meridian, Miss., native moved to Atlanta when she was 11, graduated from Commercial High School in 1939 and got married on Pearl Harbor Day in 1941.

While her husband was off at war, she ran the grocery for several years, then worked side-by-side with him for the next four decades. They set up credit accounts for customers who had never had them before, made free home deliveries, and slipped candy to children when no one was looking.

"Yetta said, 'Thank you, ma'am' and 'Thank you, sir' to all her customers even back in the '40s because that's how our daddy taught us," her sister said. "He made her give money to poor people on the street when she was growing up in Mississippi and that's where her values came from."

Mrs. Danneman also co-owned Carter's Department Store across the street from the grocery, where Coretta Scott King and other neighbors bought stylist outfits, her sister said.

She entertained touring members of the Metropolitan Opera at her home, volunteered with Jewish organizations, and reigned as the undisputed family matriarch said her granddaughter Julie Cohen of Atlanta.

A straight talker with a strong Southern drawn, Mrs. Danneman insisted on hosting Sunday dinners every Sunday, Ms. Cohen said.

"We all had to be there, all the generations, whether we were mad at each other or not, and if you weren't there you'd have to answer to Yetta about it," she said.

She had a rough outer shell and a real soft inside. She meant business and she meant what she said and she was the boss and you didn't cross the line with her, but she told us that she loved us constantly."

Survivors include her daughters Lynda Rubenstein and Sandra Rich, both of Chapel Hill, N.C., and Nancy Isenberg of Atlanta; a son, Mark Danneman of Atlanta; two other sisters, Joann Schwarz and Florence Davan, both of Atlanta; six other grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

2006 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on 8/9/2006.

Dang, I regret not having met Yetta; what a fabulous lady!

And hey, thanks Andy, for showing us your true color(s). How ugly.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Banking with the King of Rock-n-Roll

Delivered to my inbox this morning on the 29th anniversary of the passing of Elvis Presley:

Greetings to you,

A meeting was held recently in our bank and I was reminded once again of locating a next of kin to our private banking client Messrs Elvis whose last name I am not disclosing now for the purpose of confidentiality. He died intestate and did not nominate an inheritor or heir to inherit the title of investments made with at our bank. Being his personal account officer all responsibilities on finding an heir to his deposit is usually directed to me and for the last two years all my efforts on finding an heir to late Mr. Elvis is futile and this is my purpose of contacting you knowing that you share the same last name.

Should we work as a team and do the process that will nominate you as the Next-of-Kin since you share the same surname/last name with him, with all the necessary documentation pointing in your direction (tentatively) and the bank release the deposit to you as the closest surviving relative?

Please cc your respond at your earliest convenience to and be sure to include your full name and address, your phone/fax number(s) with the best time to reach you.

Yours Sincerely,

Raymond Morris
Private Banking Division.
London, United Kingdom

Dear Mr. Morris:

Thank you, thank you very much.

Elvis has left the (bank) building.

Last of the Red-Hot Gong Strikers

I'm one of those people who really loves old movies, so it was with some sadness that I saw this in the NYTimes the other day:

"Ken Richmond, the 6-foot-5, ripple-armed wrestler who for decades was seen striking the gong that heralded the opening credits for dozens of films produced by the J. Arthur Rank Studio in England, died on Aug. 3 at his home in Christchurch, on England’s south coast. He was 80."

Therefore, send not to know
For whom the gong strikes,
It strikes for thee.

Good night J. Arthur Rank, wherever you are.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

In praise of wise men

Just got in from a most enjoyable evening with that rarest and most delicious of people, someone who is well read and thoughtful.

I'm not sure when being smart and informed got to be so wrong but I'm most grateful there's at least one person I know who don't wanna be right.

Bless his heart, I was so tickled to be doing this I would probably have kept him up all night if he could have stood it -- he was a good sport about it though, not a lot of guys would put up with a woman that just wanted to talk like this.

It was also rhetoric-free, which was a tremendous joy; these days you can't hardly exchange any words at all without getting shot with the Gatling gun of political commentary.

The evening ended long before we ran out of stuff to talk about. I could stand to do this some more.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The love apple, Southern style

Today our good friend Og the wise and powerful talks about the glory of the summer season and the only two things that money can't buy, that being, of course, true love and homegrown tomatoes.

I've been fortunate enough to have some of both and especially on one memorable summer day where I really hit the jackpot.

I was still being the Southern expatriate in New York and was coming home to visit family . . . and the Love of My Life was also to home. And when I told him when I was coming in to Hartsfield he said, "Let me pick you up at the airport. I'll have you paged when I get there."

And so he did. Delta said, "Please meet your party outside by the taxi stand."

I stepped out into the late summer swelter to find not a taxi but a motorhome pulling up to the curb and the Love Of My Life behind the wheel.

He was wearing a big smile . . . and nothing else. Oh, and I could tell he was very glad to see me.

I climbed aboard the motorhome and dazedly took a seat. He asked me about my trip as he pulled away from the curb and towards the exit. Turned out he had a ticket for the parking garage that he had to pay first, so we navigated over there. He was chatting like he always does when fully dressed, like being completely nekkid was not an issue. When we pulled up to the cashier he handed her the ticket and the money and they exchanged words and money like she was not dealing with a man who was without a stitch of clothing. He wished her a blessed day and we drove away from the airport.

He said, "Got something for you in the kitchen; I knew you'd be hungry." In the kitchen area was a table set for one with a tall glass of iced tea and a sandwich, a true Southern-style delight: The boy had taken two slices of fresh soft white bread and spread them liberally with mayonnaise (the real thing; none of this salad dressing or low-fat nonsense) and thin slice upon thin slice of fully ripe beefsteak tomato. Salt and pepper were the only accessory items which is as it should be with a properly made tomato sammich.

I dealt with my lunch first; tomato sandwiches have a very short life. Once fortified, I then tackled the greater issue of what do you do with a naked RV driver.

In all my romantic misadventures this takes the prize for surreal . . . and for delicious.

This weekend I hope to be shopping at the farmers' market, or I'll look for a farm stand, someone with a truck and bushel baskets by the side of the road. I'll look for some beefsteaks, not the pretty ones but the gnarly heirloom ones, the big red softballs that twist around the sweet vines. A loaf of fresh white bread (here, Colonial is the best for this purpose), a jar of Hellmans, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper and you got yourself the joy of the season on a plate. I will definitely have one; I may have two.

The Love of My Life sold his motorhome a few years ago and now he loves another. But his gift and that day is with me still, my most unforgettable Southern Man. Thank you, dear heart.

Thank you for voting

A big shout out to all of you that voted Tuesday, especially those good folk in the 4th District. Whoever wins election in November will give us representation and will do a fine job.

I hope Ms. McKinney finds something worthwhile to occupy her time and ultimately becomes a footnote in the pages of history and a question on Jeopardy! "I'll take 'annoying people who used to be in the news' for $50, Alex."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Runoff (to your local polling place)

Today a few Georgians will meander over to the polls and vote in the primary runoff election.

There's good reason to do so if for nothing else the fact being that it's the only chance you have to influence the political process, even if just in the slightest.

For me it's also a chance to vote against The Cutest Little Socialist On Two Feet, as Neal Boortz described Cynthia McKinney. (I've always wondered how he gets those capital letters in there when he says that on the radio, but that's how it comes out, I swear.) All those that think she speaks truth to power will be casting their votes so I got to throw mine in the pot as well.

If you're in my district, I hope you do the same.

Monday, August 07, 2006

It's all about elegance.

Got some checks from the printers that service my bank today and they had a little flyer tucked in showing new offerings in checkwriting.

First off it seems counterproductive to do this; you just GOT checks, you're not gonna say "Oh god, I could have Latin Landscapes, what the hell was I thinking!" and just throw them in the shredder and ask for more. (Well, I'm not, anyway.)

And some of the choices are just . . .

It's page after page of "elegant." "FREE elegant lettering." Checks with American scenes. Checks with dolphins, with cats, with dogs, with babies, with Snoopy . . . elegant racetracks, elegant angels, even. . .

and then I turned the page.

You can do your banking with that fine financial professional Mr. Potato Head.


Yeah, I couldn't believe it either.

I'm sure it says a lot about someone who pays their bills with Mr. Potato Head; I'm not exactly sure what.

No thanks. I'm holding out for "My Little Pony."

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be.

I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals. I pray for your desires that they be great, rather than for your satisfation, which may be so hazardously little.

A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall. The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud, wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desire are working for larger and finer growth.

Not always shall you be what you are now.

You are now going forward toward something great. I am on the way with you and therefore I love you--Carl Sandburg

Thursday, August 03, 2006

50 years of serving you

This week is the 50th Anniversary Celebration for Manuel's Tavern, an icon of good times and cold beer here in Atlanta. Manuel's is a neighborhood hangout as well as ground central for much of local politics and has been for time out of mind. If the walls could talk there a lot of people would be in big trouble.

I've been drinking there sporadically for most of my life; it's a comfortable place for beer and burgers and you'll never know who you'll wind up talking to. It's always fun and occasionally fascinating. Myself and the Marching Abominables are playing Sunday afternoon, we mostly wind up at Manuel's after rehearsals and after a lot of our performances, it's home for us on Tuesday nights too.

If you're in the area, stop in this week. Have a beer. Talk with some of the hardest working and longest-employed staff around; some of them have been there 30 years and longer, which is a testament to how special that place really is.

Manuel, alas, has left us, he went to that big barroom in the sky a couple of years ago. He is greatly missed, though stories are frequently told, and most of them are true. For example, he bears some responsibility for the election of Jimmy Carter; the first fund raisers for Jimmy's campaigns were at Manuels Tavern in part because Billy Carter (remember him? Billy Beer?) had run up a big bar tab there. Manuel himself was not only the biggest Yellow Dog Democrat going, he was a Democrat in the style of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, though that didn't keep him from being an effective county CEO during his own time in office. He did much for us in DeKalb.

A caution to the nicotine-sensitive: This is one of the few places left on the planet that not only allows smoking but damn near encourages it, so be prepared. Because of this, no kids allowed. They'll just have to smoke out behind the building like we did at their age.

Manuel said, "Anybody who don't like this life is crazy." Most days I agree with him.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Deluxe Vaudeville Whizbang

I nearly typed "Whizband," which also would have worked. :)

Once we got past the movie crew setting up for their night shoot (including having craft service a few yards from the auditorium where the band was playing), things went fine. Apparently there is some horror flick being shot in Candler Park right now and the Horizon School is home base. (I will refrain from the jokes, they write themselves, I refuse to shoot fish in a barrel).

For those who made it, it was a hell of a show. It was mostly old friends of the band, some on stage, some not. It was good music and juggling and jokes and some tears and lots of fun.

I'm sorry you missed it. Stay tuned for the next DVO show; you'll probably hear about it here. I appreciate great music and struggling artists and vaudeville and torturing the public ("I've suffered for my art, now it's your turn") so you'll have to endure the occasional commercial here.

In the meantime, go buy a CD:

The Deluxe Vaudeville Orchestra:

Lenny Deluxe: Main Squeeze

DVO vocalist Janet "Bombola" Metzger also has a CD for sale -- and another one coming out very soon, recorded at Atlanta's own Churchill Grounds.

And you can also hear samples of the DVO and the fabulous Lenny Deluxe from the DVO site: http://home.earthlink.net/~deluxevaudeville/media/wtell.mp3

Friday, July 28, 2006

The once and future ending of an era

This evening is the First Annual in what I hope will be a long history of Farewell concerts with one of my favorite bands, The Deluxe Vaudeville Orchestra.

For a lot of years now the DVO has been giving the world good vaudeville and great music. If you're in the Atlanta area you don't want to miss this evening, it will be most special.

The DeLuxe Vaudeville Orchestra (1st Annual) Farewell Concert

Friday, July 28 @ 8PM
Horizons School Theatre, 1900 DeKalb Avenue, in Atlanta

I believe tickets are $10.00. Bring extra money; the DVO will be selling CDs of various kinds, including Lenny Deluxe's accordion solo CD which should be in everyone's collection.

Dress is most deluxe; be fancy as you wanna.

Lenny is following his ladywife to Ghana, that's her latest State Department posting. (Frankly I think this is all an elaborate coverup and she's really a spy but Lenny assures me this is not the case. I'm not convinced.)

Hope to see you there. I'll be the one hollering for "Freebird!" (not really)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gravitas, baby!

Please click here to see my Congressperson in action:


Courtesy of WSB-TV.

When I saw this last night (right after Ralph Reed's most satisfying concession speech) my jaw literally dropped.

Maybe I should be glad she doesn't really represent me, after all. I always thought long before she slugged that policeman that they had grounds to arrest her, for taking money under false pretenses if nothing else.

I urge everyone in the 4th District to get up off their rusty dusties on August 8 and vote this idiot out of office. Please, do it for me. Do it for your families. Do it for every talk show that will run that footage and laugh at us in Georgia.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


It's election day today in Georgia, and I hope those of you who are Georgia residents get up and exercise one of the few constitutional rights still allowed you.

But don't take it as seriously as Chicago residents where "vote early and often" is the mantra.

I took them up on the early option and voted last week, now I don't have to deal with any of that standing in line polling place stuff, though the news says turnout is expected to be light so sadly things like standing in line will probably not be an issue.

I have never understood why people would not go vote when called upon -- it's our only chance to fight back, really -- and I get a lot of pleasure from standing in the booth with my finger hovering over the button. Sometimes I have these little dialogues about it, payback really is a bitch when my ballot gets cast. "Do I vote for you, incumbent who did fuckall for us? I don't think so. Take THAT!" And I vote for someone else.

I voted on the "A-B-C ticket" this year. That's "Anyone But Cynthia (McKinney)", who has been my nonrepresenting representative in the House on and off for too many years. I hope to have better representation, though Ms. McKinney seems to have her supporters. I don't know why.

Exercise your right to vote whenever you get the chance. If you don't vote you get the government you deserve and you forfeit your right to bitch about it, too.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

God's little lanterns

(with apologies to Lord Buckley)

God's little lanterns were twinkling on and off in the heavens.
God's yellow moon was shining down on the cool clear evening.

We have a good sized back yard here, with big old oak trees in the middle of it and lots of greenery of various kinds. Room enough for the dogs to run around and backing into a stand of pines beyond the fence, with that semi-quiet of suburbia; people mowing their lawns, people having cookouts, people shooting up the house next door, you know how it goes.

Sometimes I just take a cup of coffee or a drink to the back deck and sit; it's a good place to be quiet and just be. And that's what I was doing the other night, sitting on the deck and watching the twilight. The lawnmowers and the grill guys were taking a break and I dunno where the shooters were but it was nice and quiet and even a little coolish, a treat after our recent summertime blues.

Twilight deepened and darkened and I saw a firefly, a lightning bug doing circles around the oak trees, twinkling on and off. Reminded me of Lord Buckley, "God's little lanterns twinkling on and off," though he meant stars, it seemed more appropriate to the flashing lovebug. (Though perhaps, like the jitterbug, it plumb evaded me.)

I saw another and another and another and soon the backyard was alight in twinkles and flashes. It was like a lightning bug convention and everybody had their name tag on. Must of been free drinks or something because every lightning bug and his brother was out there. It was as bright and sparkling as the 4th of July, as glittering as Macy's Christmas window, and I was entranced. Watching the light show I felt peace and serenity wrapped around me like a blanket. Whatever else was going on in the world, I was exactly where I was supposed to be and doing what I was supposed to be doing and it was all right and good.

Sat there and watched the show for a long long time. When I finally got up and went to bed I looked out the window and lightning bug love was still happening outside in grand display.

I hope they all got what they came after and achieved their firefly destinies. Like moths, lightning bugs wad their life up into one little roll and then shoot the roll. Perhaps like moths they believe that's what life is for. Thanks for the show, boys.