Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday Tale

Honestly, it's kind of sad that I'm getting too old to remember certain things. It seems like only yesterday that I turned 21. But, actually, that was almost a decade ago. And today I'm not sure if it was seven or eight years ago that I experienced the poopshow that is Mardi Gras. The more I think about it, the more it had to be 2002, my first year in grad school. I wouldn't bet any money on that, though.

I didn't think about Mardi Gras today because of it being Fat Tuesday or anything, though; I started to think about my time in New Orleans when a King Cake (that's one above) appeared in the newsroom today, seemingly out of midair.

I can still remember being in the Big Easy, visiting one of my college friends - who at the time was at Tulane Medical - and him giving a bunch of us pieces of King Cake and talking about how there was a baby inside. I mean, I know I was drunk as crap at the time, but I thought this was the most random thing in the world, and certainly did not believe him.

But, gosh darn it, Dan Arnold was not lying, and, I think, my friend Jacqui ended up being the one who got the baby. Yep, I can remember who got the baby, but not what year this all happened.

I get the whole Christmas connection, but doesn't it seem odd as anything that we eat cakes with plastic babies in them to celebrate the beginning of Lent? And isn't it even more odd that these are popular during Mardi Gras, when the people eating them are bombed and really can't concentrate on whether they're about to choke on a plastic baby that happened to be inside their piece of delicious cake? This all makes sense. Totally. Why wouldn't a plastic baby be inside cake? I'm totally stupid for even asking the question.

I don't really remember much about my time at Mardi Gras. I know I drank a ton. I know I ate more oysters in one sitting than I have at any other time in my life, and I eat a lot of oysters. I know I enjoyed many a shrimp po' boy. I know I visited Cafe du Monde for beignets a couple times. Did I mention that I drank a lot? I also searched in vain for the Ignatius J. Reilly statue; I desperately wanted my picture taken next to the statue of my favorite literary character. I even collected beads at the ridiculous amounts of parades. And saw boobs at them. I remember feeling like the days were one long parade. I don't like parades. They make me bored. It takes me longer to get bored when boobs are involved, but I still got bored.

My friends Brandon and Shiloh Kinne are actually heading to New Orleans later this week, just in time to experience the remnants of Mardi Gras, which means loads of litter and streets with rivers of vomit, pee, poo and discarded hurricanes. I could only think of a few recommendations for them. The biggest one was to eat tons of oysters. Brandon and Shiloh won't have any problem doing that.

Anyway, that's all I really got for now about Mardi Gras. I don't think I'll ever go again. Oh, sure, I'd enjoy a trip back to the Big Easy, but Mardi Gras is something to do once. It's a drunken, disgusting and altogether forgettable experience. It's something everyone should do once, but not twice, unless you enjoy a week-long hangover and vague recollections of forcing cab drivers to pull over so you can pee and vomit on ATMs. Or unless you want to eat cakes with babies in them.

Even though New Orleans has a well-deserved reputation for wonderful music, sadly the first thing I always think about when the subject comes up is how Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner relocated to the Big Easy to record his only solo album, as of now, with local musicians. Here's a performance of a song from that record, which came out around the time I went to Mardi Gras (depending on what year I attended). I wish I could remember such things.


Here's the first video from Miles Kurosky's simply great record "The Desert of Shallow Effects":

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Ditties

As I sit here on my couch, watching the second half of this riveting NBA All-Star Game, I can't help but think about what somebody posted in the comments section of this ol' blog.

I cannot believe we live in a world where "Valentine's Day" makes more than $50 million in a weekend. I'm sorry if you watched it this weekend, I just can't get past the fact that enough people thought this sugary crapfest was worth shelling out some cash to see.

I mean, I know that critical opinion isn't everything, but the flick earned a whopping 16 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Sixteen percent! Seriously. That's horrid.

That site counts all those crappy Internet critics who give anything good reviews, and the movie still only earned 16 percent good reviews. That's pathetic. Awful. I bet I could have written that movie in a few hours. Yep. With that said, the Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke "Training Day" sequel looks even worse. Why? Because it's sole point isn't to just make 16- to 60-year-old women turn to cliche mush.

What else is going on? Well, here's a cool article that talks about '90s female rock. It caught my eye because it mentions Riot Grrrls and Liz Phair early on. When I was a kid, I tiny crush on Liz Phair. That's not true. I don't lie. It was a big crush.

We'll call it a night on a sad note. No, I'm not just going to mention that tomorrow's Monday. I like work. And, hey, I worked today.

No, the sad thing is that Knack singer Doug Fieger died today. People think of the band as a one-hit wonder with "My Sharona," and that's kind of off-base. I mean, I hear that tune and only think about Winona Ryder in "Reality Bites." That's quite possibly the finest performance ever put on film. But, seriously, the entirety of The Knack's debut, "Get the Knack," is a fantastic piece of music, a true power-pop treasure. And I hope that point isn't lost with Feiger's death in the news.

And, hey, that's it. I hope you had a good Hallmark Holiday.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter Wonderland Wednesday

I guess you could say this snowstorm has been a little bit of a letdown so far. I mean, listening to the newscasts, I thought we'd all be stuck in our homes for weeks on end. I even went to the grocery store yesterday and bought thousands of containers of water and canned goods. I'm prepared to be stuck in my apartment for the next three weeks.

Oh, I'm kidding. I just always find it funny how everyone over-reacts when snow's coming. And, you know, it's not like we're living in San Diego, a place people aren't used to the snow. We're coming off a year - winter 2008-2009 - that featured a big snowstorm every week or so, it seemed.

Besides the snow, though, we do have a big piece of news. Former Texas Rep. Charlie Wilson died. I can't really speak to the man's political career since I was a tiny little Patrick when he had his biggest impact, but I can speak to the underrated greatness of "Charlie Wilson's War," the 2007 comedy starring Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman (that's him above). I thought Hoffman deserved the best supporting actor Oscar that year over Javier Bardem, but, hey, what do I know? If Mr. Wilson's death does anything good, it's that people should go out and find this movie that too many folks overlooked around the 2007 holiday season.

Anything else going on? Well, yeah, actually. One of my favorite television shows, "Friday Night Lights," has announced that it will end after its fifth season, which will air at some point next year. NBC hasn't even begun to air the fourth season yet, but let me just say you will not find a better-acted or better-written show on television. Not one.

That's about it. I leave you with a video. I've been listening to some Refreshments lately. Here's "Down Together," a tune from, like, an eon ago.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

As I sit here on campus at Southern, waiting for the perfect time to leave my desk and visit my classroom, I feel like there are some things we can talk about. I mean, it'd be kind of odd for me to just sit here in an otherwise empty room and talk to myself. What if someone walks by? They might not let me believe the children are our future or teach them well so they can lead the way anymore.

Anyway, there are few things I don't want to talk about. I have no interest in rehashing anything about Brittany Murphy. The way idiots fall for the whole "she wasn't on drugs" thing is ridiculous. I've seen very few people who looked worse than her. She was barely older than me and could have passed for 50, or a diseased 12-year-old. I also don't want to talk about "Avatar" anymore. It makes my heart bleed to think about it.

What else? I could give a poop about "American Idol." Sorry. Ellen seems like a wonderful lady, but I'd be more likely to watch her talk show. Does she still have a talk show?

There are some things to talk about though. I mean, Lil Wayne! Come on, the dude doesn't have to go to jail because he's got a chipped tooth or something. So Plaxico Burress shoots himself and goes to jail for a long-ass time, while Lil Wayne is running around with a semi-automatic in the same city, but only gets eight months. And he can delay it for dental surgery. Heck, the guy belongs in jail simply for forcing me to listen to "Rebirth." Every critic in America was the victim of a felony assault by the guy for that piece of poop. I think a class-action lawsuit is in order. Who's with me?

What else? Shouldn't we be giving anybody who punches Perez Hilton a medal, not suing them and making them settle a civil lawsuit? I mean, I don't condone violence or anything, but ...

Speaking of courts, can't we just say the heck with Charlie Sheen at this point? The guy can't act for the life of him. That TV show he does is only funny if you were born before 1950, and he's never made a good movie ... unless you count the "Major League" series, but I give him no credit for that. But, seriously, the guy is a walking danger to women, but people still love him. I don't get it.

You want some great news? Jeff Probst has signed on for two more years of "Survivor" and - yes, and! - the new season of all-stars starts Thursday. As most of you know, I just love "Survivor." I don't watch much TV, but, for some reason, the show is like crack to me. Now, I've never actually had crack, but I assume, from public-service announcements and "Intervention," that it leaves you naked, sweaty and shaking, always needing more. That's me after a season of "Survivor" ends.

Want the Bonnaroo lineup?

I hope to one day marry Joanna Newsom. Here's her new record's tracklist and purchasing information. That's her in the photo above.

That's all I've got for now. It's time to prepare to show the children all the beauty they possess inside.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

And, It's February

So I woke up last Monday, and I just felt horrible. I was sick. I felt like poo. Heck, I felt like ass. It was no fun.

Honestly, I still feel kind of crappy, but I'm doing better. I'm not working at peak capacity, but close to it. I bet that makes you all feel happy. Also, keep in mind, I did not break my no-sick-time streak. I have never called in sick for work in my time as an adult.

Oh, I've dragged myself into work feeling awful and I've worked from home before, but never have I taken a sick day. I feel like this is like a conversation from "Seinfeld." Like when Jerry goes on and on about his no-vomiting streak. That's what I feel like right now. And I'll be just as depressed if I ever break my run.

In other news, this story on Gov. Mark Sanford makes me laugh. Look, no BS, I always feel bad for people who have been cheated on, especially in marriage. I would honestly never cheat on someone. Now, with that said, I no longer feel even a little bad for Sanford's wife. In fact, I think it's kind of great she got cheated on. I mean, he wants fidelity removed as a vow? To quote my colleague Jim Shelton, "That's not just a red flag, that's like having your other girlfriend wave the red flag."

This photo of Katy Perry is wonderful.

Now we know why Jay Reatard died. If you're surprised, I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you.

I've got nothing else right now. I just wanted to give quick hello and tell you all I'm getting better. You can look for a diary on the Grammys Friday in Weekend. Oh, and I hate "Avatar." That's it. Let's talk for real tomorrow.