Tuesday, August 31, 2004


I don't know why but few things are cuter to me than my sleeping kitties.
Pop Music

After watching about an hour of the Republican convention last night and almost gagging on the simplistic jingoism and their abhorrent parading of a few 9/11 relatives I couldn't help but wonder how this administration is still so popular. Today I realized that they are popular for the same reason that most of the music you hear on the radio is popular: Not in spite of its banality but because of it. Their simple message of "Me America, you America, we good and strong. Them hate us and our freedoms. Them hate us only for that, nothing else. Nothing else, nothing else, nothing else. Them hate our freedoms. We are strong. Me America, you America, we good and strong." Who in the fuck can argue with that? Who in the hell can even think straight after three years of that?

Harry Potter

A small kid just walked by with a Harry Potter book in his hands. That damn tome was almost as big as his head. Funny thing about them Harry Potter books is that kids are completely unfazed by how big they are. Many times teenagers will come up to reference looking for books on their reading lists and when see how big a possible choice is they will blanch and ask for something smaller. A lot smaller, to be specific. Harry Potter books? Screw it, they don't care how big they are, they just grab the next one in line and take it home.

Monday, August 30, 2004

What is tonight's theme?

I think I am sensing a theme in tonight's Republican convention. I think, this is only an early impression and I may change my mind tomorrow but, I think it is 9/11.

Holy crap, former mayor Rudy just compared Bush to Churchill. I'll accept that when Bush writes a series of books called "History of the Bad English Grammar Speaking People."

I don't care what anybody says, that's a good joke.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

I gotta get me one of them

Last night I spent the evening hanging out with my redneck buddies. We assembled at friend's place in my complex to watch the annual night Bristol race. I only see these guys a couple of times a year and hanging out with them is always a blast and bad for my health. Jesus, those guys can put beers away. Since the party started about 7:15 I was in bed fairly early last night, if you know what I mean.

I always have mixed emotions when I hang out with those guys because one of them has an obvious drinking problem but, dang it, he's fun to drink with. He's witty and funny and keeps me and the room laughing all night. For me last night was a special party where I imbibed more than is my usual but I think I just participated in this guy's normal Saturday night. I also had to grimace inwardly through the occasional rascist comment. I like being around these guys because they are so different than any other group of people that I know and it's nice to be accpeted now and then into their inner circle since they are such a close-knit bunch. How often does a librarian get to hang with a bunch of damn-rowdy rednecks?

What I gotta get is the high definition television my friend that hosted the party owns. Holy cow, what a picture on that thing. When I got back home from his place on Friday after a preview my TV looked blurry to me for a few minutes and my TV is not a piece of crap. What I like most about his television, other than the lifelike picture, is how it doesn't burn a hole in your brain like a normal television does. It's very easy on the eyes.

Friday, August 27, 2004

The caption game

"You know, they say cops have all the best drugs. Do you suppose that goes for secret service agents also?"

Monday, August 23, 2004


Let me just say that, like Ann, I dig the Olympics also. What I most assuredly do not dig is the crappy coverage by NBC.

I have always been disappointed in how the primetime network broadcast completely short changes the field events. Why, oh why, do we have to endure every single motherfucking dive in the women's 30 meter platform finals and then get two or three five-minute-long summaries of the men's high jump? That's just last night's example. Pay attention as we go on. Every field event will be a five minute summary. For once why can't they show every jump? I understand editing for time but why do we only get to see the jumps that are crucial? Give us some sense of the flow of a field event, you bastards.

When I was driving back from Asheville Saturday I came to a stretch on I-26 where all of a sudden you go from rural scenery to something out of Davey Crockett. There is a huge gorge you span on the highway and all you can see is trees and the shapes of the mountains supporting those trees. Gouging it's way ever downward into the gorge is a river. You can't see it but you can tell by the pattern of the trees and the definite break them that there is a river down there. If it's cool out you can probably smell it and feel it, too.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Sonic Youth

I always uneasy when I attend a show for the first time by a band I have been listening to for a long time. What if they blow then what do I do?

No problems here. Sonic Youth blew the roof off the Orange Peel last night. Shit, they actually played the song %100.

They were fantastic. At one point Thurston Moore climbed up on the speakers on the right side of the stage in front of me and lifted his guitar and rubbed it up and down on the speakers hanging over the stage. It was incredible. I cursed myself for not bringing my camera. I missed a great shot. Dammit to hell.

I don't really know what to say other than they exceeded all my expectations. During the middel part of the show I know I had big stupid grin on my face. It was thrilling at various spots and never boring.

For the first half of the show there was this cute little hippy couple dancing right in front of me who were obviously on some kind of hallucinogen. A couple of times when the band went in full-on freakout mode I wondered how they kept from tearing their faces off.

The show ended with twenty full minutes of noise and feedback. It was wonderful. I thought it was smart to end the show with that. A lot of people left at that point but those of us that stayed were digging the hell out of it. It was like having three Jimmy Pages beating the crap out of their guitars.

My friend Ingrid drove up from Greenville and we went and got dinner at a real nice veghead restaurant before the show. It's called the Laughing Seed and my dinner was delicious. As were walking out Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon were standing outside contemplating their dinner options. I didn't know it was them until we walked past them and Ingrid said, "Did you see who that was?" I had no idea Thurston Moore was so tall. He's taller than me and I am six feet tall.

In my hotel room the television had all the cable channels I don't have at home. It was kinda fun to surf around on real cable again. I came across that celebrity poker stuff on, I think, Bravo. What's up with Kids in the Haller Dave's hair? I got sucked into the show because Wanda Sykes was on. She kills me. She and Travis Tritt had some great banter going.

Once again the city of Asheville was a great host. I enjoyed walking around yesterday three seperate times. They had some live after five thing going on yesterday up by the big obelisk and I saw a couple of Charlotte musicians playing on stage that I am familiar with, Woody Mitchell and Tom Kuhn. They were playing in a nice blues rock band that had a few people dancing. What a cool city.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Greetings from Asheville

Howdy, I am sitting in the lobby of the Downtown Days Inn here in Asheville. I am a bout a five minute walk from the big ole obelisk in the middle of town. I just woke up from a nap and I am going to go read for a few hours and kill time before I go to the Orange Peel and see Sonic Youth for the very first time. Kinda cool, eh? I think so.

I haven't heard from James so I guess he isn't going to make it. My crazy and still feverish roommate is going to work all day and then drive up here for the show. He has determined that he is not sick enough, I reckon. My friend Ingrid is driving up from the Spartanburg area to see the show also. She's a music nut. Sometimes she'll drive to Chicago for a week just to see Tortoise play three times in four days.

There sure are a lot of homeless bums in Asheville. There is a nice little park right down the street and I was going to eat my lunch there but the place was crawling with homeless. I prefer to eat without hungry people staring at me so just went back to my hotel and ate and took a nap which I just woke from. Mmmmm...vacation.
An old dude sounds off

What's your opninion on this mess, Mr. Vonnegut?

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

As I felt...

As I felt the blog community collapse around me the sound was like thunder and the crash was deafening, although not as deafening as, say, an artillery piece going off; it was, though, definately as deafening as a piece of advice from a friend that he reconsiders as he is speaking, his voice trailing off...his silence like...um...thunder.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The future is now, kinda

Remember that scene in Minority Report when Tom Cruise is on the run and he cuts through the subway station and his eyes are being scanned and 3-D advertisements are calling out to him with his name? There is a constant babble of intruding, realistic but lifeless voices babbling on about nothing. The next time you go to the Harris Teeter and you see that all the self checkout spots are being used go ahead and cruise through the middle of that section. Hearing the same voice from four different speakers pronouncing the same script at different points is more than a little weird.
Glad you're back

Ever come across an author whose writing style just seems to mesh well with your mind? It's happened a couple of times over my life. It happened first with Robert Heinlein. It's not something you can qualify it just is.

A few years ago it happened again. His name is Sean Stewart. I read a book by him called Resurrection Man several years ago and I knew right after starting the book that I was going to read whatever he put out and follow his career. He was about the same age as me and was a hell of a lot better writer than I would ever be.

Back in 2000 he published his last book. His website kinda died and then I found out he had worked on some internet project which I haven't looked into at all, honestly. Then I noticed just a few months ago that Small Beer Press, a newish small press, was putting a new book out by Sean Stewart. Cool, I thought, it's about dang time someone brought him back to the world of publishing.

Without getting too enthusiastic about this, I'll just say I am reading his new book called Perfect Circle and I am enjoying the hell out of it. It's about ghosts and family and your family's ghosts, I think. Something like that. I like books that are hard to describe yet make complete sense as you read them. Phillip K. Dick did that and so did Roger Zelazny.

I hope Sean and Small Beer Press have a friendly and rewarding relationship and a new book by him comes out once a year. Is that too much to ask? I think not. So I would like everyone that reads this to go to the Small Beer Press website and buy the book, please. That will help assure that they continue to put his books out. Do it for me, do it for yourself. If money is a problem there is a trade paperback version available. That's the one I bought. I thought printing a hardcover version and a trade paperback version simultaneously was a pretty smart strategy.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Beat 'im to the punch

Last night James and I went and saw a movie called Wattstax. It was presented jointly by the Light Factory and the Afro-American Culture Center. It was presented in the attic theater of the AA Culture Center. Before the movie started James went to the potty and I walked around and checked out the art hanging on the walls. Some of it was quite nice.

The movie was incredible. It featured interviews with residents of Watts that were funny, tragic, silly and serious. Interspersed throughout the film are informal interview segments with Richard Pryor. His appearances are stunning. This is Pryor at his strongest. He spends a lot of his screen time riffing on comedy bits that are now classics. Many of the routines were familiar but they were not mere repeats of what appears on albums. Pryor's contribution alone is reason enough to see this film.

Then there is the music: Albert King, the Bar Kays, Rufus Thomas(!) and Isaac Hayes were the highlights of the Wattstax music in the film. The band backing Hayes was spectacular. I could have listened to that band play the opening of the Shaft Theme song for 30 minutes. It was gorgeous.

An unexpected treat was a scene where religion was discussed. We got to see three women sing a rousing gospel song in a small church in Watts. They were beyond words. They had people crying, one woman was speaking in tongues and they turned that crummy little church into a golden chapel. It reminded me very much of that juke joint in Mississippi.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Reading unprinted stuff

I have a box with seven manuscripts sitting in my room. They are submissions for a local small press' constest. The people than run the press ask us readers to read at least fifty pages of each manuscript and recommend to them whether or not each novel is worthy of a more detailed reading by the staff. I have about two weeks to go and today I finished up the first one. I stopped at page fifty but I had desire to keep reading it. I guess that's a good sign. It's the story of a boy growing up in a mill town in South Carolina back in the fifties. The writer seems to be pulling from personal experience and it was a nice little journey. I can only hope that the rest of the manuscripts are just as good. I dread picking up a crappy one.

Being able to participate in something like this is another of those cool perks that comes with being a librarian. I was thrilled to be asked to do this. Heck, I am even going to get a small payment for doing it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Jesus, is that the best you can say?

Our vide prez campaigning today: "We don't want to turn that responsibility over to somebody who doesn't have deeply held convictions about right and wrong," Cheney said.

Right and wrong? Bush should be president because he can tell difference between right and wrong better than some other guy? What did they do, give him a test? Maybe they held up some flashcards of common acts and he responded. Boom! They hold up a flashcard of man shooting another man. Bush says, "Wrong." Boom! They hold up flashcard of different man shooting another man but this time the shooter is an American soldier. Bush says, "Right."

This is even better: "We need a commander in chief who is steady and steadfast." That is the same thing they used to say about Jesse Helms.

The president is full of shit

A quote from W's speech yesterday: "Now, almost two years after he voted for the war in Iraq, and almost 220 days after switching positions to declare himself the anti-war candidate, my opponent has found a new nuance," Bush said. "After months of questioning my motives and even my credibility, Sen. Kerry now agrees with me."

Dear Mr. President,

Mr. Kerry voted to give you the authority to invade if you deemed it necessary. I think we can all agree now that you were going to invade no matter what so you betrayed his vote and are now using it against him. Again, I repeat, he did not vote for the war. He voted to give you authority which you abused.

Also, he and others that voted to give you authority were pussies and now they are paying for it by having to confront comments like this from your Vietnam-dodging ass.

Your buddy,


Monday, August 09, 2004

A rooma zoom zoom

I gotta tell you, nothing makes you feel more alive that flying down I-77 in a 1989 Honda Civic at 70 mph in the middle of a ten-mile-long work zone. Lane shifts, tractor trailers and white knuckles. I thanked god at least ten times today that I don't have to use that Hell's Highway for my daily commute to work as I was heading to the North County branch to do a noon book talk.

Friday, August 06, 2004


This news story from CNN sounds like a script for a B movie where the president is a dink:

"Bush misspoke as he delivered a speech at the signing ceremony for a $417 billion defense spending bill.

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said.

"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

No one in Bush's audience of military brass or Pentagon chiefs reacted."

This scene would take place right before the misunderstood scientist saves the world like in Indpendence Day.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Dad again

My Dad was one of those guys that liked to play with kids. One of his favorite games was to have small children from his biceps. They would always be amazed that one arm could lift their whole body. Piggyback rides, swinging kids around by their arms and legs and spinning us on the carousel at the park at an unsafe velocity.

Whenever there would be a gathering at my grandmother's home I, my sister, step brother, step sister and various cousins would end up trying to take him down. We were all between the ages of five and twelve and he was a laborer so he would destroy us. One or two of us would get held down and tickled until the required "uncle" was cried. Another would get pushed on her butt once and walk away. His brother's daughters would climb on his back and he would pick one off at time and tickle her until each surrendered. My sister, though, would not stop. She would go all berserker on him and just wouldn't stop coming. Eventually he would say to her "If you don't stop one of us is going to get hurt and it ain't going to be me." That would only make her come at him with more ferocity.

My grandmother would say, "Julie, you know you can't win. Stop before you end up crying." Ignoring all warnings Julie would march toward my Dad with fists swinging. Eventually as the play got rougher she would get hurt. Nothing serious. She would fall too hard or he'd pinch her to make her stop. Then she would cry and it would be over.

These battles between my dad and us kids were always strange to me. No adult would step in. All the kids knew that when attacking my dad they were going to end up with a little bump or a bruise and all the parents knew that also. It was kind of like bear cubs or young chimps attacking an older critter just to learn how to fight and take a little pain. Call it kiddie bootcamp.
Seat back too far

Every now and then when I start my car I don't depress the clutch far enough to flick that switch that allows the engine to start. Up until I had that minor electrical problem it wasn't a concern. Now when it happens my brain fires off a panicked "fwiggin' car ain't fwiggin' starting" message to all recieving stations. It'll wake you up after a long day at work. Know that.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Bringing people together

Looks like vice-president Cheney's speech continues the administration's policy of uniting America by blaming everything that has gone wrong on the Democrats. Yeah, drilling for oil in Alaska is going to solve our energy problems for about two years. Good thinking, Dick. I don't suppose encouraging Americans to quit living like kings is a possibility, is it? How about alternative energy sources? Nah, fuck it, there's no money in solar power. Those fucking hippies are trying to destroy America.

You also gotta love how he tosses the word liberal around like a redneck says "homo." I see, also, that he continues a policy of this administration of appearing in front of hand-picked supporters. God forbid you should be forced to answer a difficult and unscripted question. That would just throw a wrench into the whole proceeding.

Of course it's hard to be too critical after watching a few hours of that choreographed Democratic handjob that they called a convention. When the party you support makes you gag I can't imagine the indigestion the Republican convention is going to cause me.

All of this reminds me of that Bill Hicks quote: "I believe the puppet on the right supports my ideals. Well, I believe the puppet on the left is more to my liking. Hey, the same hand is controlling both puppets!"

Just a couple of things

My special Larry King stream of consciousness post.

One of my favorite apsects of having a blog is being able to check Haloscan in order to see what kind of searches bring people to my site. Sometimes it's pretty damn funny.

I mentioned and linked to an artist I bought a couple of small items from at the Heroes convention a couple of months to go. I see she linked to my site. I'm a little embarrassed that I referred to her as a "daily crush." In her blog she mentioned she didn't break even by coming to the convention. Made me feel guilty I didn't buy more from her.

What is it about some people that they actually think you want to hear the minutiae of their daily life? Every person's life is prett much boring. What makes blogs fun for me is how each person has their own subjective view of the world. Rattling off your troubles to a captive audience is, like, the opposite of that, I reckon.

With that tropical depression turned hurricane that has been sitting off the Carolina coast for a few days we have seen some beautiful clouds here in Charlotte. Carolina blue skies and big puffy clouds. It's like the beach is thirty miles east of us. Nice illusion, God.

If you get a chance check out the book section in Today's online NY Times. There is a review of Penn Jillette's new novel by his partner, Teller. If Penn's book is as funny as Teller's review then I might have to give it a shot.

Two days until my next booktalk and I am sick of my topic. I think I am ready to go now.

A question I axed myself today

At what age will Troy's daughter say, "Daddy, if you take one more picture of me I am going to run off with a rock and roll band!"