Thursday, March 30, 2006

IFC Ya Later

Time Warner Cable has apparently decided to start making digital cable subscribers pay extra for the Independent Film Channel (IFC) by moving it from the standard digital tier to the “B-list premium” tier that includes Encore and Sundance. While it would only cost an extra $4 a month, that nickel and dime act doesn’t sit well with this subscriber, especially since Trio went dark at the end of 2005 (the former cable channel still exists in an emaciated online incarnation, though).

I swear one day I’m going to just yank all that shit out of the wall and quit cable for good. From wildly unrealistic expectations of sexual frolic fostered by repeated covert viewings of H.O.T.S. and The Beach Girls at age 13 to right this very minute, cable TV has always failed to deliver for me. Why do I keep torturing myself?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

There's a Midnight Post Office Run In My Future

Income taxes are kicking my ass this year. Between going from married to single (again), self-employment taxes, and losing most of the mortgage interest deduction by selling the marital residence, my effective tax rate has more than doubled from last year. I certainly haven't made that much more money.

Our government is no friend of divorced men with no property who can't be bothered to reproduce. It's a good thing they haven't started taxing cynicism or I'd really be screwed.

Here's a little life lesson I've learned the hard way so maybe you won't have to: if you ever have the misfortune of going through a divorce, don't forget to fill out new W-4 forms at work to increase your withholding as soon as you decide to leave your spouse (or vice-versa).

If your divorce becomes final on or before December 31, the IRS considers you single for the entire tax year. Unless you're strategically staying married on paper through the end of a calendar year just to preserve joint filing status, a delay in changing your withholding could lead to a very nasty April surprise.

By the way, I'm not schooled in tax law, accounting or personal finance - and I made a D in high school algebra - so don't take this like it's the burning bush.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Antacid Maker Creates World's Largest Buffet

German pharma giant Bayer AG must be very proud today after the makers of Alka-Seltzer set the record for world's largest buffet at the Las Vegas Hilton today in honor of the antacid's 75th anniversary.

Because this was a brand-new world record, officials at Guinness World Records required the buffet to feature at least 500 distinct dishes. Bayer weighed in with 510 dishes, including Mongolian chicken, salmon Wellington and apple pie. If America still has any fight left in her after getting served at the World Baseball Classic, expect to see this record broken within the year.

Coming soon: the world's largest class action lawsuit for food poisoning.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Going to the Go-Go's

I saw the Go-Go's last night at Stubb's. It was a fun show. This particular tour commemorates the 25th anniversary of Beauty and the Beat, so they played the album in its entirety from "Our Lips Are Sealed" to "Can't Stop the World." If I would've had a pile of Legos to play with, it would've been like listening to the record in my bedroom when I was growing up.

They also did the other hits like "Vacation," "Head Over Heels" and "Get Up and Go" before ending with a great cover of the Shangri-Las' "Remember (Walking in the Sand)." I've been getting into them a lot lately from watching video clips on Bedazzled. They were, as Belinda Carlisle put it, "original bad girls." I also just found out Shangri-Las' lead singer Mary Weiss is doing a new album on Norton Records with the Reigning Sound.

The opening act was some band called Stimulator. They did a disco version of Rush's "Tom Sawyer," which is all that needs to be said about them.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Doorway to 1,000 Churches Blocked

I was driving to practice this afternoon with my radio on scan when I came upon Mix 94.7 playing Peter Gabriel's 1986 hit, "In Your Eyes." You probably know this song from when John Cusack played it on his boombox outside Ione Skye's house in Say Anything.

Anyway, I'm singing along and playing authentic African polyrhythms on the steering wheel when I notice they've removed the lyric, "I see the doorway to a thousand churches." I damn near had a wreck when I realized what was going on.

Who could possibly be offended by something like that? Has the chilling effect of censorship gotten so extreme that commercial radio can't even play a love song that mentions churches anymore? Is Janet Jackson's titty that powerful?

Someone should enlist a army of "Lloyd Doblers" to stand outside Mix 94.7 and play "In Your Eyes" en toto on boomboxes. Such a protest would look great on TV and melt the hearts of thirtysomething women from Ben White to Braker Lane.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

99 Luftballons on the Wall

VH1 Classic will be showing nothing but Nena’s 1984 hit, “99 Luftballons” for an entire hour this Sunday at 1pm CST. And it's all Hurricane Katrina's fault.

Some anonymous joker apparently donated $35,000 to VH1 Classic's pay-for-play Katrina relief effort to make them play both German and English versions of the song over and over again for 60 minutes. I hope they show the “hairy armpit” version banned by MTV. Nena Kerner had the whole Buckwheat-in-a-headlock thing going back then.

I never really cared much for "99 Red Balloons" until I heard 7 Seconds do it on Walk Together, Rock Together. The anti-nuke anthem probably made even more sense to European audiences more familiar with Albert Lamorrisse's 1956 short, Le Ballon Rouge. That's French for "The Bulbous Ruse," by the way.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Charity Begins at Home

Mater horribilis Barbara Bush donated an unspecified amount of money to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund with the instructions that it be used to buy educational software produced by Ignite!, the Austin-based company owned by her son, Neil. How awfully generous of her to turn a gift to her son’s company into a tax-deductible donation to charity.

Interestingly, a healthy slice of Ignite’s capitalization came from investors in the United Arab Emirates, home to Dubai Ports World. Perhaps this partially explains why the Bush administration would risk its dwindling supply of political capital on the ports deal despite a perfect storm of opposition.

Of course, none of this was mentioned on NBC's Today a few weeks back when they allowed Neil's bedraggled-looking son Pierce to come on the show and defend the ports deal.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wallet Woes Wesolved

Here is a list of all of the places I went that didn't have replacement plastic trifold credit card holders for my wallet:

1. Target (2 locations)
2. Walgreen's (2 locations)
3. Dollar Tree
4. Ross Dress for Less
5. Beall's
6. Sears
7. Dillard's

And the place that finally did have replacement plastic trifold credit card holders for my wallet?

You guessed it - the soon-to-be-shuttered JCPenney in Highland Mall.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Random Closing Thoughts on SXSW 2006

Here are just a few odds and ends to close the book on Beetsolonely's award-winning coverage of SXSW:

On Friday night, I rode in an elevator with Patience Hodgson, singer of budding Brisbane, Australia indie-rock sensation The Grates and one of my many musical crushes at the moment. I complimented her on their day show at the Filter magazine party and we chatted a bit. She was friendly and ebullient in a manner that reflected her onstage persona. The Grates have the same guitar/drum/vocals makeup as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but Hodgson is sort of like the anti-Karen O. She gets crazy like Karen, but it’s a fun, good-natured kind of crazy. I can’t envision Hodgson singing, “As a fuck, son, you sucked.” If I was in an elevator with Karen O., I wouldn’t speak unless spoken to for fear of just such a soul-crushing retort.

I sure wish I’d known Honky was doing a set at the Crazy Lady on Saturday night. Going to gentlemen's clubs is a lot less unseemly when there’s a live band playing. I think there’s even a Bible verse about that.

What the hell was up with loudspeaker-equipped vans passing out samples of super-duper vitamin energy water around the convention center? You’d just be walking down the street minding your own beeswax when the amplified voice of a girl pretending to talk like a dumb guy boomed, “Dude, want some super-duper vitamin energy water?” over a subliminal bed of shitty techno music. Isn’t their some sort of law against that? And if not, what’s to stop someone from driving up and down Congress screaming out amplified diatribes against Christo-fascism over a subliminal bed of shitty techno music? Anyone wanna go in on that with me?

On the other hand, I have nothing but good things to say about the Capitol Records-sponsored ice cream truck handing out free frozen novelties in front of Stubb’s on Thursday night.

Just because someone hands you a flyer you don’t want doesn’t give you the right to throw it on the street. Quit making the Indian on the horse cry, you littering turdlets!

There sure are a lot of asshole drivers in downtown Austin. During the day, it was self-important, three-pieced jerk-offs in SUVs who made blind right turns with no regard for crosswalk pedestrians in their path with the right of way. At night, their excreted progeny assumed the mantle of regal inattention. I’m happy to report at least one fed-up female pedestrian hauled off and kicked the vehicle that cut her off. I dig your big balls, woman.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Little Things That Piss Me Off, Part 1,246

The North Loop day party I'd planned on going to Sunday got rained out, so I spent the afternoon writing post-SXSW reviews for the Chron and driving from store to store looking for a new plastic credit card holder for my wallet. I found myself muttering profanities under my breath as my frustration level grew at not being able to find this stupid little piece of 99-cent plastic. I just know they keep those things in short supply so exasperated guys will break down and buy a new wallet. That's how they get you - but they won't get me! At least not this time, you seedy corporate bastards!

Saturday Looked Good to Me

I finally left the duplex around 3pm on Saturday afternoon. The Pop Culture Press day party at Dog & Duck was in full swing under a huge tent. There were a lot more people there this year, too. Peter Case did a folk-rock set with a trio that included a swell version of the Plimsouls’ “Zero Hour” that almost made up for me having to miss their set Wednesday.

The afternoon’s biggest highlight was a barn-burning electric set by Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three. They lathered up the crowd with the six-minute fast lane driver, “Amphetamine,” then delivered a knockout punch in the form of Dream Syndicate’s “Tell Me When It’s Over.” I’d only dabbled in Dream Syndicate and Wynn’s subsequent solo work, but now I understand all the breathless critical raves.

After a long set change, the much-anticipated Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs arrived. Hoffs is still a total babe with an amazing voice, but her and Sweet’s set of Sixties covers like Mike Nesmith’s “Different Drum” and Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" left me a bit nonplussed following Wynn’s performance. Looking at the track list of their forthcoming Under the Covers album on Shout! Factory, I can at least vouch for their impeccable song choices.

After a quick barbecue break at Ruby’s, I went downtown to see Elephant 6 offshoot Great Lakes at the Hideout. Dan Donahue couldn't make the gig, but Ben Crum and his backing musicians put on a relaxingly good show. Because the Hideout doesn’t sell beer, representatives of Athens, Ga.’s Orange Twin collective passed out free Lone Stars and PBRs. That was a nice surprise.

My old Cheezus/Noodle bandmate Jonathan Toubin’s new band Cause for Applause was scheduled to play at the Velvet Spade at 11pm, but vocalist/bassist David Lloyd got stopped by police for a traffic violation and it came to light he didn’t have a driver’s license. Unfortunately, what he did have was a warrant.

The band told their stage manager who told SXSW who called APD who released Lloyd at the last minute. Their set was truncated, but at least they played. Lloyd sings like an even more gutteral version of Richard Hell. I always like to watch Jonathan play, and I think having another guitarist to play off of brings his style into focus. It was good stuff, especially coming from a band playing for the first time with a substitute drummer who hadn’t even rehearsed with them and a singer who’d just avoided a night in the pokey.

Working in the dual roles as guitarist and label head of New York Night Train, Jonathan was plenty stressed, but he kept his anxiety under wraps. He’s just cool that way. If I’d been in his shoes, I would’ve needed some new britches. And we can all be thankful that I wasn't and I didn't.

I wanted to drop by the Pretenders at Stubb’s on the way to see the High Dials at the Ritz, but the line was way too long. The High Dials made up for it with a good dose of psychedelic pop that ended with a spaced-out jam between them and Australia’s Morning After Girls. That was about all I could take for one day.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Here Come the Woggles

I'm trying to get myself together for some day parties, but the rain will probably put a damper on that action. Besides, I didn't get to bed until 5am. That's how long it took me to come down from seeing the Woggles. The venerable Georgia garage rock quartet really tore it up and I'm ashamed for not seeing them play live sooner.

Japanese Devo idolaters Polysics also sounded great. The retro-futurism thing might get tedious in the hands of lesser bands, but Polysics play it with the tight tenacity of prog-rock freaks. It was great big fun. Unfortunately, they played at Zero Degrees, which is typically only a live music venue during SXSW. They didn't have a stage, but the area immediately surrounding the band was raised, meaning you were stuck looking at a whole bunch of shoulders if you weren't close enough to step up.

One way non-locals can tell if a bar is only a live music venue when SXSW isn't happening is to order a Lone Star beer. If the bar charges you four bucks or more, they're probably faking it. Also, if there's a hot girl selling beer out of a metal tub right when you walk in, it's definitely not a real live music venue.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Emo's Day Shows, Beastie Boys, Etc.

I spent most of yesterday toggling back and forth between Emo's Jr. and Emo's IV for day shows. Several friends suggested I check out L.A.'s Dengue Fever and I was glad I did. Their hybrid of Cambodian music and Western pop would be interesting in any case, but they're all really astute musicians, too. Singer Ch’hom Nimol is currently tied with the Ark's Ola Salo for best vocalist I've seen all week.

Emo's IV is the room at the northeast corner of Sixth and Red River. Last time I was there, it was still one of those places where guys wearing backward Titleist caps try to score with girls who've had too many sweet drinks. It's a very loud room, especially without a bunch of people there to soak up the noise. Apparently, Emo's is going to use it as an adjunct bar after SXSW.

The Beastie Boys dropped in to do a set at Stubb's around 7pm. I don't think it was ever officially announced, but word got around pretty quick. The door guys at Stubb's kept telling non-badge folks they weren't getting in, but a fair amount of them did. I saw the Beastie Boys on 1998's Hello Nasty tour at San Antonio's Alamodome. Even though it was just them and Mix Master Mike at Stubb's, it was still more fun in a smaller venue. They did a short set of nothing but hits like "Brass Monkey," "Root Down" and "Body Movin'." Not a bad way to start the evening.

After that, I went to Club de Ville to see the Rogers Sisters. They sounded good, but the two sisters didn't appear to be having too good a time. Or maybe that's just how you're supposed to look if you're a celebrated indie rock band from Williamsburg these days. I couldn't tell.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Get on The Ark

I'm not used to being the writer everyone is waiting on to put the paper to bed, but that's what I was early this morning when I was spitting out my account of the Austin Music Awards for today's Chron daily. It was definitely a Maalox moment. And I totally missed the Plimsouls.

The awards show itself was pretty good. I never get tired of hearing Roky Erickson sing "You're Gonna Miss Me." It was nice to see Jon Dee Graham bring his son Willie onstage to sing. Watching amazingly tasteful L.A. session guitarist Jerry Cole play with 3 Balls of Fire was also a treat. Unlike today's televised awards shows, they actually give out a ton of awards, too. While the awards blocks break up the music most everyone is there to see, things move along at a reasonable enough clip. Besides, that's sort of the point of an awards show.

Earlier in the evening, I caught a day show by The Ark from Malmo, Sweden. They were kind of like a cross between the Darkness and Hedwig and the Angry Inch - only you could really shake your ass to them. Even if they're working in 30-year-old idioms, the Ark's abundance of energy and personality kept the whole thing poppin' fresh.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Wednesday's Plan of Attack

My orders have come in and I'll be covering the Austin Music Awards this evening. I haven't been to the awards in years, but with Roky Erickson and Kris Kristofferson (among others) on the bill, it should be a good show. It's nice to see Roky playing solid shows and getting his due.

After the awards show ends and I turn in my review of it, I'm going to try to get over to see the Plimsouls at Exodus at midnight since they're one of my all-time favorite bands. I'll have to write like the devil to make that happen, though.

I'm also covering a conference panel on the economics of touring this afternoon. Hopefully they'll address how road-intensive acts are handling the fact that fuel costs are rising a lot faster than door receipts. Whether drum kits and amplifiers get smaller, or more U.S. clubs install permanent backline like they have in Japan, the current "get in the van" model of touring for unknown bands isn't going to be feasible much longer without some serious tweaking.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Gotta Get My South By On

Compared to this time last year, I haven’t been doing many SXSW-related posts. That’s partially because I did a bunch of SXSW stuff for this week's Chron, including a healthy number of Picks and Sleepers for Wednesday as well as reviews of recent albums from the Gris Gris and Irving.

Doing the same sort of thing here would get mind-numbingly redundant. You can only write so many 65-word artist descriptions before the whole thing becomes a big blur. When people ask me what to see, I have to tell them to read what I wrote because I can't keep all the bands straight in my head. Having 1,600+ bands in town will do that to you.

In addition, there are several good blogs out there devoted to SXSW, such as See You In the Pit, Done Waiting and SXSW Baby. Between those and the official SXSW site, scouting bands has never been easier. Be sure to check the Austin Show List for a fairly comprehensive rundown of day parties, in-stores and other non-SXSW events you don’t need a wristband or badge for.

All that said, SXSW is probably all you'll be hearing about from me through at least Sunday - barring tornadoes, wildfires, suicide bombers, bird flu and the crabs.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Hyde Park Fries Syndrome

My guitar-playing pal David Wyatt entered his Jesus year on Saturday, so we went to the new Amy’s Ice Cream/Phil’s Ice House at the corner of Burnet and Northland. They’ve done a fine job of converting an old gas station/used car lot into a thriving community-oriented business complete with a “cowscape” for the kiddos. The property also houses Amy’s production and management offices.

As for the food, David said the sweet potato fries were good and my Allandale Burger was pretty good, too. It wasn’t spectacular, but the ingredients were super-fresh and the flaky sourdough buns were a nice touch. You can’t ask for much more than that in a hamburger. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to get any ice cream. What the hell kind of birthday deal is that? I owe ya one, David!

Most of Phil’s burgers are named after North Central Austin neighborhoods (Rosedale, Crestview, Brentwood, etc.). Which brings to mind a new axiom we'll call the Hyde Park Fries Syndrome: once a restaurant names a menu item after a neighborhood, you probably won’t be able to afford living there much longer.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Found Monty Python Interview on Dallas' KERA-TV

Public radio show The Sound of Young America found a really cool 14-minute snippet of Monty Python's Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and the late Graham Chapman being interviewed on Dallas PBS affiliate KERA during the station's 1975 pledge drive. You can view it here (via You Tube).

Believe it or not, KERA was the first PBS station with the huevos to air Monty Python's Flying Circus, so the troupe made it a point to drop by Dallas just after the L.A. premiere of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I was particularly interested in this clip because I was living in Dallas in 1975 and my parents were volunteers at KERA. Sometimes I got to hang out in station lobby and watch Sesame Street, Zoom and The Electric Company while they worked. I also remember walking through the studio where this clip was taped.

My parents answered phones during pledge drives on occasion, but I couldn't find them in this clip. They could've been there, though.

Friday, March 10, 2006

J.C. Penney to Close Highland Mall Store

J.C. Penney announced today that it is closing its Highland Mall store. The closing is part of a larger move toward stand-alone locations for the venerable department store. The Highland store closes September 30 and two new stores open at IH-35 and Parmer and IH-35 and Slaughter on October 6.

I've only recently started going to Penney's - as it was known when I was a wee lad - again. You can get pretty good deals there on no-nonsense items like linens and towels when they're on sale. Otherwise, I'm more likely to go down-market to Target or up-market to Foley's/Macy's. J.C. Penney is making strides toward climbing out of that retail twilight zone, but they've still got a long way to go.

The bigger question for Austin is what this closure will mean for Highland Mall. As the city's oldest fully-enclosed mall, Highland is an anachronism of the Seventies. It's a perfectly servicable facility for less-demanding shoppers, but if you're going to have to spend time in a mall, you might as well go to Barton Creek Square or Lakeline Mall where they have more stores. Highland isn't particularly well-suited toward being "turned out" like Westgate Mall was, either.

At some point in the not-too-distant future, Highland may well join Northcross in the unfortunate ranks of "dead malls" if they can't figure out how to stop hemmoraging shoppers to bigger malls and outlet centers.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Might Be a Father, Sure Ain't a Dad

The National Center for Men filed suit in Michigan today on behalf of a 25-year-old computer programmer ordered to pay child support for a daughter he sired against his will with an ex-girlfriend. They’re trying to say his constitutional right to equal protection under the law is being denied because he could not legally opt out of having a baby while she could have.

Putting aside for a moment the fact that this lawsuit will go nowhere, the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment applies to the law, not biology. When men grow uteri and start carrying children to term, then we’ll talk about equal protection. I suppose this guy thinks the state should support his offspring when he belatedly "declines" paternity, too.

Actually, men already do have ways to opt out of paternity. To start with, this guy could've (and probably should've) gotten a vasectomy. Barring that, he also had the option of not placing his penis into this woman's vagina.

It doesn’t matter if a woman tells you she can’t get pregnant, as the woman in this case allegedly did. It doesn’t matter if the condom breaks. It doesn’t matter if she thought she wanted an abortion and now she doesn't. It doesn’t matter if she thought she wanted a baby and now she doesn’t. Once she's pregnant, she's driving and you're along for the ride.

If a man can’t handle that, he should stay home and handle himself instead.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

"Sodomized As Bad As You Can Possibly Make It"

Amid all the hoopla surrounding South Dakota's ban on almost all abortions except to save the life of the mother, we have this little peek into the mindset of one of the key lawmakers behind this legislation.

South Dakota's abortion ban - which will only go into effect if it is upheld by the Supreme Court - does not allow exceptions for rape or incest. However, to his credit, Republican state senator Bill Napoli does envision a scenario under which certain classes of really raped women might be able to terminate a pregnancy.

"A real-life description to me would be a rape victim, brutally raped, savaged," Napoli said on Friday's edition of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. "The girl was a virgin. She was religious. She planned on saving her virginity until she was married. She was brutalized and raped, sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it, and is impregnated. I mean, that girl could be so messed up, physically and psychologically, that carrying that child could very well threaten her life."

Just how pristine will a woman have to be and just how brutally will she have to be raped for the state to allow her to have an abortion? I wonder if South Dakota's doctors and/or judges will be required to check the anuses and church attendance records of raped women who want abortions? A guy like Napoli has almost certainly thought this whole thing out. Many times, probably.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Good Time Charlie

Back in January I picked up a used copy of Charlie Rich: The Complete Smash Sessions (Mercury) for four bucks at an antique store in Georgetown. That certainly has turned out to be a fine deal. I've been listening to it constantly when I cook.

1965’s “Mohair Sam” was Rich’s only hit single on Smash, but in listening to the seamless way he mixes country, pop, rock, and R&B, you start to realize that this is where Elvis Presley got a lot of his ideas about reinventing himself as an adult pop star. Unlike Elvis, who was primarily a vocalist (albeit a brilliant one), Rich was also a formidable songwriter, pianist, and arranger. He went from proto-countrypolitan (“Something Just Came Over Me”) to blue-eyed soul (“Dance of Love") to harrowing torch songs (“The Best Years”) to cornpone novelty (“She’s A Yum Yum”) without missing a beat. Rich’s assimilation of so many genres surely contributed to his long commercial dry patch.

Rich finally broke through in his Forties with the Billy Sherrill-produced Behind Closed Doors in 1973. A couple of years after that, he upended the Country Music Awards by setting fire to the envelope announcing John Denver as Entertainer of the Year. While it is often assumed Rich did this because Denver wasn’t “country enough" (an odd position for a genre-crosser like Rich) Charlie Rich Jr. says it had more to do with his dad’s sense of humor along with some help from booze and painkillers.

Regardless of why he did it, it was pretty cool of the Silver Fox to set that envelope on fire. Nashville is forever asking for a good shit-shaking like that.

Charlie Rich died in 1995. To date, he still hasn’t been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Monday, March 06, 2006

No More Microwave Mishaps!

Faithful readers of this here blog will recall the burnt microwave popcorn mishap of April 2005.

On Saturday night, that same microwave oven briefly caught on fire. Fortunately, I was in the kitchen when it happened or the whole duplex could've gone up like a tinderbox and set off a miniature Chernobyl.

When an appliance catches on fire, the smart thing to do (after putting out the fire, of course) is to unplug it and throw it away. Thing is, I was midway through heating up a slice of pizza and it was still cold, so I finished heating it in three 10-second interludes with fire extinguisher at the ready. Although nothing happened, I don't recommend this to anyone.

I'm pretty cheap when it comes to replacing durable goods, but I went ahead and bought a new microwave today. I'm packing 1,300 watts of stainless steel power and inverter turbo defrost now, baby.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Tribute to Lendy's

Lendy's was a popular chain of drive-in/coffee shop restaurants in and around Roanoke, Virginia from the mid-Fifties through the mid-Seventies. They started out as a regional Big Boy franchise and later became the area's Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. In fact, late founder Leonard Goldstein is the guy who came up with the famous tilted rotating chicken bucket that topped KFC stores for many years.

I never went to Lendy's and have only passed through Roanoke, but as a fan of extinct restaurant chains, I found plenty to like about Twig Gravely's Lendy's tribute site. Be sure to check out the old radio and TV spots, especially "Peace, Love, and Strawberry Pie."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I Lent Myself

I'm not Catholic, but I like the idea of giving something up for Lent. It's a good way to show some self-restraint, which is something Americans aren't known for. So I'm giving up fast food.

Obviously, this includes Whataburger, Jack in the Box, Taco Bell, KFC, etc. I've maintained my vow never to eat at McDonald's again for more than two years, so that one's not a problem. I'm not sure if a place like Subway counts, though. I'll also allow myself to enjoy a hamburger at local, non-fast food places like Burger Tex.

It's a reasonable enough goal, and a beneficial one, too. I don't eat nearly as much fast food as I used to, but there's something about that horrible, wonderful grease smell that still sucks me in at times. Resisting the post-rock show temptation of Jack in the Box tacos at 2:30 in the morning is going to be the hardest part.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Joy of Empty Rooms

Despite not playing until 1:15am, I managed to have a pretty fun time at our Momo's gig early Tuesday morning. I'm pretty sure the only people left in the room by then were either performers or club employees.

No one likes to play to no one, but the upside is that whatever anxieties or expectations you may have had about performing are wiped out when the room is empty. You're like a bunch of kids tossing the football around for fun.

That's what this show felt like to me. No pressure at all. Just me and some pals doing the same thing I used to do with tennis racket guitars and hairbrush microphones when I was 10.

Fun as it was, I do hope we get a few more folks out for our show at the Ritz this Friday, March 3. The line-up is Oh, Beast! (1am), The Ron Titter Band (12mid), Many Birthdays (11pm), and Gretchen Phillips (10pm).

Cover for the Ritz show is just five bucks. Take it from a guy who reads the Albertson's circular every week - that's a deal.