Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fry' 'Em Up!

The Ramp Festival is always a lot of fun, and ramps themselves rock. Just ask Chris James, who recently devoted a week's worth of really great posts to the wild delicacy.

But everyone knows that it's adults who dig ramps the most, for the nostalgia as much as for the taste. Kids I know-- particularly teens who are of dating age-- don't often eat ramps because of the unpleasant odor that permeates every pore of one's being.

Which leads me to what I'm certain Ramp Festival Queen Caitlin Sharpe is thinking as this picture is being shot:

"Take the pic already, willya? This is as close to my mouth as it's gonna get!"

Friday, April 24, 2009

Wild, Wonderful Whites Of West Virginia: The Trailer's Jackass Meets Jesco White and Family.

See it here.

I'm not sure what to think...

But, be warned: it's R-rated material.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

High School Quotes I Remember: Quote # 12

(I make no judgements about content. I'm simply purging some of the clutter that's been inside my head since 1983.)

"Why do you think I sat you beside Dianne in the first place?"
~ Ms. Lilly, the student teacher in Accounting class, several months after leaving the school

I was an under-achiever in high school.

I was in the top 3rd of my class, but I could have done much better. My mid-range "B" average was accomplished with almost no direction; I can't recall ever doing homework, studying for an exam or truly challenging myself to perform better in academics. I was content that decent grades just came sort of naturally.

Except for that goddamned Accounting class.

It was my junior year, I think, and I found myself in an Accounting class. The teacher seemed to presume we students had (1) some interest in keeping a financial ledger, and (2) some ability to think like future captains of industry. Maybe some did, I dunno.

But I didn't, and still don't.

Mid-way through the semester, I was struggling. Hard. I didn't understand the most basic aspects of the process and covered up my insecurities by being the class clown. The new student teacher, Ms. Lilly, had enough one day when she called on me to answer a question and I smarted her off.

I didn't know the answer, and she knew it. She saw right through me.

"Come up front, and sit beside Dianne," she said. Dianne Johnson was one of my best friends, and the smartest student in that class. I happily obliged, then cheated off Dianne for the rest of the term. I passed with a less than stellar grade, but I passed.

Months later--well after Ms. Lilly left the school--I ran into her at a basketball game. Ever the smart-ass, I brought up her idea to seat me up front, beside Dianne.

"I cheated on every test we had," I boasted, like a goof.

It was then she made the comment referenced above: "Why do you think I sat you beside Dianne in the first place?"

She knew. It was her plan, all along.

I like to think she saw something in me that lead her to cut me a break. During the conversation she made a couple of comments that suggested as much. I do know that every time--and I mean every time--I balance my checkbook or create a budget at work I think of Ms. Lilly.

And I smile.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nesmith? That Guy From The Monkees?

If you haven't yet checked out The Paul And Spike Show, click the link and give it a try. The podcast is smart and funny, and fortified with 8 essential vitamins and iron!

Spike Nesmith and Paul Higginbotham were, several years ago, the best talk team in Charleston's radio scene. They're reaching their stride again with this weekly podcast on Radio Six International.

When Nesmith's dad, Old Spike, stops by with a bottle of spirits, the trio really rock.

Spike and Paul have changed the title of the podcast a couple or more times this year, which is evidence enough for me to know they need my help! So, here is: My Top 5: Show Titles Paul And Spike Should Consider:

1. "Paul, Spike & Old Spike: The Sound You Hear Is Ice Clanking In My Bourbon, But Don't Call Me Shirley."

2. "The Paul & Spike Show: It's Not An AA Meeting...Yet!"

3. "The Paul & Some Guy Pretending To Be Scottish Show"

4. "Paul & Spike: We Don't Need No Stinkin' Scripts!"

5. "Paul & Spike: Radio Six International Never Met 'Em Before The Hire."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monsters Vs. Aliens

Watching the theater version of the first computer animated movie produced in stereoscopic 3-D format:

Way cool.

Watching closely to catch the old-school sci-fi flicks to which Monsters
Vs. Aliens pays homage:

Lots of fun.

Agreeing with my kids, who say: "That was awesome!" as we toss our 3-D glasses into the recycling bin on the way out of the theater:


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Eagle Eye

It would be easy to dismiss the plot of Eagle Eye as ridiculous. After all, the movie owes part of it's heritage to Issac Asimov's short sci-fi story, All The Trouble In The World, first published in the late 1950s. The period of time between that story and this movie is the equivalent of several lifetimes, in terms of technological advancement. The modern flick lifts ideas from several movies, like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Phone Booth and I, Robot. It's difficult, then, to buy into the central theme of director D.J. Caruso's work.

It's implausible, right?

Until you see reports like this, (and this) which tell us the federal government now has the technical ability to listen in on our conversations through the mic in our cell phone. Even. When. The. Phone. Is. Turned. Off. Suddenly, Eagle Eye ain't too far-fetched any more.

(By the way: where were the tea bag parties after that little revelation?!?)

Shia LeBeouf and Michelle Monoghan are fine in this political thriller, which follows the desperate couple as they are forced to carry out a plan of cyber madness. And Billy Bob Thornton delivers his usual best as the FBI agent trying to catch up the the conspiracy. The movie is slick, fast-paced and sometimes silly.

But, we can't say any longer that the plot's not possible.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Still Runnin'

Twice this calendar year I've stumbled upon my former car, the Ford Tauras I owned for years, then traded several months ago. This time, while walking downtown, I paused to reflect.

I still miss her.

But, I see from the bumper sticker (thats been added since we parted), she's in good hands.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It Must Have Been The Peeps

Alright, forget I said that. It was too creepy.

Must have been the candy...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He Is Risen (And His Feet Are So Clean!)

I've mentioned before, I gave up on faith many years ago. But still, I enjoy the rituals.

Some are peaceful (like the ritual of prayer, which I liken to meditation), while others allow a time for reflection. Some of the most genuine moments of introspection in my life came during communion, for example.

I don't think one has to believe in a god to participate in religious rituals; one simply must have a desire for spirituality.

It's been decades since I last participated in one of my favorite rituals: feet washing. While a kid--between 10 and 17 years of age--the church I attended weekly washed feet every fourth Sunday as part of communion services.

Washing feet was a demonstration of humility, something bible stories tell us was done to Jesus, and to others by Jesus as a sign of fellowship and love.

Even during those years I was seriously debating God's existence, I enjoyed the ritual of feet washing. As strange a practice as it is--and it does seem quite strange, looking back-- there was something about it that created a unique, intimate relationship with others. With or without God as part of the mix, the act brought a sense of humility, fellowship and love to the congregation.

We need more of that in today's world.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Mirrors is one of those movies where, while watching, I begin to re-write the script in my head. The ending of this Kiefer Sutherland movie, in particular, was one I hoped would turn out like this:

Sutherland's character, psychologically-unstable-yet-devoted-dad Ben Carson, is being kept from his children by his estranged ex-wife. In my ending, Carson would die, then become part of the mirror-ghost world he's encountered, and spend years watching and interacting with his kids through mirrors. With his ex wife never the wiser.

The last scene in my scenario would have Carson sitting across from his son, both cross-legged and talking to each other in hushed tones. But, Carson is in the mirror.

But, the movie went a different route.

Which is too bad for the audience.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


“No man has ever risen to the real stature of spiritual manhood until he has found that it is finer to serve somebody else than it is to serve himself."
~ former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson

Too bad Dan White never figured out what Harvey Milk seemed to understand very naturally.

Twinkie Defense, indeed.