Tuesday, September 29, 2009


The Easter ham was still cooking and I was trying to be polite at the family get-together when I asked my sister-in-law's new boyfriend, Rick, what he did for a living.

"I'm the Rover at Camden Park," he said.

I figured out the Camden Park part quick enough, but I'd never heard of an occupation titled "Rover." So, I took a sip of Folgers and settled in.

"What does a Rover do?" I asked. And for the next 15 minutes I listened to Rick explain how there is one guy--and one guy only--each season at Camden Park who is given the responsibility of learning to run all the rides, bark all the games and carry out a good bit of maintenance if needed. The Rover.

And for that summer, Rick was The Man.

I couldn't help but be a bit envious. I'd often wished I was brave enough to live the carny lifestyle, so I asked Rick to tell me more. The problem was, there wasn't more to tell. Despite the status the Rover has each season at Camden Park, there really wasn't that much to do at the small amusement park west of Huntington. After a revelation of how the Spider is unsafe, a gross story about a kid puking on the Big Dipper and some under-the-breath boy's talk about chicks wearing tank tops and Daisy Dukes on hot summer days, I realized there wasn't much more to being the Rover than long hours and low pay.

But still, Rick's stories were more entertaining than Adventureland.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


During the summer of 1988, before in-home pay-per-view boxing was the norm, fight fans had to plunk down cash money at local pubs or arenas to watch important heavy-weight boxing matches. Attending Mike Tyson vs. Michael Spinks at the Huntington Civic Center cost me $20 for 91 seconds of boxing.

And it remains the best $20 bucks I've ever spent on a sporting event.

The drama of this particular fight was high. Tyson was at the pinnacle of his career, and was so good he frightened other fighters. Spinks was scared; the audience could see it when he met Tyson in the middle of the ring for pre-bout rules. Spinks was scared to death, and he knew he was gonna lose. Tyson was ferocious, and fought like a monster. 91 seconds after the bell sounded, Tyson was the winner. Spinks never fought again.

That is what I think of when I think of Mike Tyson.

Tyson, written and directed by James Toback, gives an older, broken Mike Tyson the opportunity to reflect on his life and explain his decisions, and his actions. "Iron Mike" gives great detail about his childhood and those years he spent around trainer and father figure Cus D'Amato. Hearing Tyson explain the importance of D'Amato in his life is riviting, and emotionally moving. It's clear D'Amato was more than a boxing coach to Tyson, who grew up fearful and distrustful of everyone in his life. D'Amato helped Tyson learn to trust others, and develop some confidence in himself.

And then D'Amato died.

Tyson has difficulty describing his life after the death of D'Amato. Events happened in a whirlwind; he chose women, money, drugs, power and fame too often, and his career suffered for it. D'Amato, who seemed to serve as Tyson's focus, was gone. Without that focus, Tyson was lost.

And from comments made in the documentary, he still is.

The audience doesn't learn much new information from watching Tyson. Fans already knew he was a fat kid with a lisp who led a criminal lifestyle and was imprisoned by age 12. Fans knew of the troublesome marriage to Robin Givens, and the rape charge for which Tyson served jail time. Fans knew Iron Mike's career went to hell after his loss to Buster Douglas, and that he bit off part of Evander Holyfield's ear. What we didn't know was if Mike Tyson realized how much he let slip through his fingers, and whether or not he had regrets.

Toback's film answers that for us. The Tyson of today seems broken, and emotionally battered. And he's in stark contrast to the Iron Mike Tyson I plunked down twenty bucks to see back in the day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Moment Of Silence

It's with great sadness that I mention my long-time friend, Elvis Drinkmo, has passed on. Urban legend has it, and the DC Comictician On Star Trekiology has reported, that Elvis beamed aboard the Star Trek's Enterprise (the Picard-lead one) and flew off into some far away sector.

I dunno...all's I know is, I'm gonna miss him.

But, a new blog titled "F**cked Up World", authored by Wade D. Drasch, has recently started. I suppose it'll fill the void left by the death of Elvis.

Nah, I'm certain it will.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Jacknut Chronicles' Sunday Edition: Livin' The Jailhouse Blues

I don't mind bein' in jail, but I got to stay there so long, so long,
I don't mind bein' in jail, but I got to stay there so long, so long,
When every friend I have is done shook hands and gone
~ "Jailhouse Blues"

My friend Stanton [click the link to read the awesome WV Hot Dog Blog] heard da news, and stopped by tuh visit. He's a good friend like dat; my man Stanton cares.

Stanton: "How are you holding up, DTB? The news you were denied parole must upset you a great deal."

DTB: "You hittin' the nail on duh head, my man. When I got my 10 year sentence just a year ago, I sorta kinda figured I'd get me a parole after a year in duh joint. So, dis news hits hard. "

Stanton: "How is your health? Are you eating well?"

DTB: "Oh, hell yeah! Three squares, baby. Three! Dat's one of duh things I worried 'bout when I thought I'd get me a parole: where else am I gonna get my three squares? But after dis news, I gots no worries about that now."

Stanton: "Well, I'm glad you are eating well. Do they ever serve you hot dogs in jail?"

DTB: "A couple times a week, either for lunch or for dinner. Why"

Stanton: "Bandit--and I'm sorry to ask such a sensitive question at such an emotional time--what counts as "everything" on a hot dog here in prison?"

DTB: " Just duh usual, man. I load up with some mustard, onions, chili, slaw and catsup."

Stanton [wiping a small tear from his eye]: "I'm so sorry that you have to live this way, Bandit. So sorry you have to live with such undignified conditions."

DTB: "I feel ya, man, tanks for duh support. But I'm gonna be alright. I got plenty of time to put down some new beats and write down some rhymes that'll drop big when I get outta duh pokey. Take a listen."

Friday, September 18, 2009

State Of Play

Russell Crowe and Ben Affleck play off each other nicely in the political-themed drama, State Of Play.

The movie has been called a "political thriller," but I'm unsure that "thriller" is appropriate: the pace of State Of Play is plodding, the ending is predictable and the drama is decidedly low key.

But Russell Crowe continues his string of impressive performances, even with less-than-impressive material.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Flashback! Bad Movies That Haunt Me: Supergirl

Short skirt and blonde hair
And her super powers, too
Caused me such a thrill.

Then I watched it. Sigh...
A movie with less drama
Than the Super Friends.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Jacknut Chronicles' Special Football Edition: The Fan I Don't Want To Hang With

Ricky loves him some Alabama football! All that Ricky doesn't love, however, is vented out during a three minute tantrum after a referee's call leaves his team hurtin'.

Roll Tide! (I suppose.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Patrick Swayze


Roadhouse was cheesy and built around a goofy story, but it held one truth with which I agree:

"It'll get worse before it gets better."

Thanks for the fun popcorn and date movies, Mr. Swayze. I hope, for you, things are better.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Taking On Bullies

In 11th grade, during Business Law class, the guy sitting behind me thumped me on the head with his class ring. We'd gotten the rings the day before, and the guy thought it was funny to turn the setting portion of the ring so it rested in his palm, then thump me on top of the head.

It hurt like hell.

I leaned back, and told him if he did that again I'd punch him in the face. He laughed, and did it again almost as soon as I turned around. So during the lecture I stood up, stepped beside his desk and hit him in the mouth with my fist.

I freakin' hate bullies.

I wish Taylor Swift had kicked Kayne in the balls at last night's VMAs. He's a punk, and the worst kind of punk at that: one who bullies those more vulnerable than him, and those he knows won't fight back.

Photo by Jason DeCrow

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pass The Sugar

Tired of watching me stir my tea each morning with an envelope opener, a co-worker surprised me with a gift of drink stirrers. I've had the stirrers for nearly a week now, and continue to use the same yellow one I first used when I opened the box.

They're indestructible! I can't figure out when to transition to the next one.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Paul & Spike Show Talks Movie Bad Guys (And Gals)

I was able to hang out with my friends Spike Nesmith and Paul Higginbotham, talking movies and movie bad guys on their Paul & Spike Show.

Listen in here (if the player doesn't work, click the link above):

When you stop by, be sure and leave your thoughts on the best bad guys (and gals) in movies!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Top 5: Move Bad Guys & Gals

Bad guys (and gals) are a dime a dozen in movies, especially when one factors villains from the comic book genre, torture porn flick freaks and Michael Myers from the Halloween series and remakes.

Hell, there must be nearly a dozen or so versions of Myers alone these days.

But a great movie bad-guy -- or bad-gal -- is a treasure to watch; in fact, it's often the villain's work that makes the flick so enjoyable.

Excluding those characters with super-powers, supernatural mojo and those from flicks that could be described as snuff films, this is:

My Top 5: Movie Bad Guys & Gals

Blake, Glengarry Glen Ross (Alec Baldwin): You think I'm fuckin' with you? I am not fuckin' with you. Blake came from downtown on a mission of mercy to grab the attention of the salesmen, and to make sure they knew that coffee was only for closers. See the scene here.

John Doe, Se7en (Kevin Spacey): When Brad Pitt emptied his gun into the body if serial killer John Doe, I cheered. Spacey's calm embrace of evil made Doe one helluva scary bad guy. See the scene here.

Alex Forrest, Fatal Attraction (Glenn Close): She wasn't going to let Dan get away with it. And for the first time I can remember, a cheating husband was the good guy in the movie. See the trailer here.

Hannibal Lecter, Silence Of The Lambs (Anthony Hopkins): Lecter's taste for human flesh wasn't the worst part of this character, in my opinion. What made Lecter such a monster was his ability to see deep into the core of a person, then use that information to manipulate them. See the scene here.

Anton Chigurh, No Country For Old Men (Javier Bardem): Perhaps the most bad-ass of all the bad-guys, Bardem's Chigurh was both compelling and frightening. His coin flip scene is one of the most tense film scenes I've seen in years. See the abbreviated coin flip scene here.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Elephant In The Room: Part 3

Glenn Beck and others who make their living trafficking in fear, racism and race baiting might have a different perspective on the world if a U.S. President had given this speech to schoolchildren during their formative years.

My favorite part of the speech:

That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book. Maybe you’ll decide to get involved in an extracurricular activity, or volunteer in your community. Maybe you’ll decide to stand up for kids who are being teased or bullied because of who they are or how they look, because you believe, like I do, that all kids deserve a safe environment to study and learn.

UPDATE: Only 12 of the 25 children in my daughter's third grade class attended today. For the record, she thought the speech was awesome, and it made her even more excited to learn.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Half-Assin' It

"Do you think I'm lazy?"

We'd been talking about a friend of a friend we both think is unmotivated, and I became suddenly curious of what she thought of my work ethic. I'd never asked her, and she'd never offered her opinion. And since I value what she thinks, I asked.

"Lazy? Not at all. You work really hard," she replied. I turned away, feeling satisfied with the response, when she said it.

"I think that sometimes you half-ass things. But you work really, really hard."

I stopped, caught my breath and began to form my argument. And then I remembered:

During the summer of 1980, when I was 15, I was given the responsibility of weeding the strawberry patch that was planted near our garden. It was a medium sized patch, and it took a lot of time to maintain. At 15, I didn't have a lot of time to weed; I was too busy running here and there, and talking to him and her.

I let the strawberry patch be taken over by weeds.

One Saturday morning, as my dad was preparing to go to work, he instructed me to have the strawberry patch weeded by the time he returned.

He was tired of my ignoring it, and wanted it done quickly.

I had other things in mind.

So, I did those other things until 3pm, about an hour before my dad was due to return home. At 3pm I pulled out the lawnmower, filled it with gas and headed toward the garden. I passed my grandma along the way.

"Why are you taking the lawnmower to the garden?" she asked.

"Dad told me to weed the strawberry patch," was my answer. I cranked up the mower, and mulched the patch up. Real good. Weeds, strawberries and all.

Dad arrived home after a long day in the coal mines, and was not amused. For several weeks, I was forced to work off that mistake with sweat equity.

"I think that sometimes you half-ass things," she said.

Maybe she has a point.