Sunday, December 27, 2009

Kicked Up Cookies

Hey kids, I'm back and it has been way too long.

Dabney and I had to bring dessert for Christmas. We brought some cheesecake bars and chocolate chip cookies. I have been reading Cooks Illustrated but while I have several issues, I have not made many recipes from it. The chocolate chip cookie recipe is from Cooks Illustrated and what they did was take the traditional Tollhouse Cookie recipe and made some modifications. It uses melted butter, more brown sugar, and extra egg yolk. Also it has you mix together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and egg, then you whisk the mixture and then rest three times. The whisking and resting helped make a very smooth batter because the sugars broke down. We also added some craisins to the recipe, which we thought would add to the holiday feel of the recipe. It was interesting doing a variation on a recipe that made with my Mom when I was a kid. The cookies and cheesecake bars were very good and were a big hit at the dinner.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Part 2 The Food

Dabney and I had an interesting weekend in food. A lot of people grilled out Monday, but Dabney and I grilled out on Saturday. We made all kinds of foods on sticks. We some spam, pineapple and cherries. That was the starter and was very tasty. The main course was beef and chicken shish kabobs. I used a jerk sauce for the beef and made an Asian style citrus and garlic marinade for the chicken. We made up several skewers of the meat plus several skewers was tomatos, onions, peppers, and mushrooms. I also some made andouille sausage to be used later. Obviously that was a ton of food for the two of us and we had a lot of leftovers.

Sunday we had brunch at the Blue Monkey and then crepes and some sushi downtown at the Music fest. Which brings us to Monday leftover day. We had sausage, peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Dabney came up with the idea of sausage and grits. I made the grits with cheddar, Velveeta, butter,and heavy cream. Of course that combo of things could make just about anything taste good. I cooked the sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and some bacon together and then served that on top of the cheese grits. It was incredibly good if I do say so myself.

I really did not try any new recipes this weekend, but I do feel like I was creative this weekend. I tried to do something different than the same ole, same ole. Now I need to figure out what I want to try this week.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Part 1 Music

There were two themes in my Labor Day Weekend, music and food. Let's start with the music first. On Friday we went to Swanky's Tacos to see The Papa Top's West Coast Turn Around. It was a bit of weird night, because there was a not a lot of people there. Even though it was the not the usual crowd the Papa Top's were good form. They went through their usual selection of Honky Tonk favorites Dabney and I had a really good time.

The next musical day was the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival on Sunday.

The first band we saw Sunday afternoon was Two Way Radio. I have liked them ever since I saw them in Five Dollar Cover. They have a very unique sound that is a lot of fun. The singer and also keyboard Kate Crowder has a lot of energy and her positive vibe seems to be the driving force behind the bands powerful sound.

The next band we saw was Sonny Burgess & the Pacers. They were original rockabilly band that still tears it up on stage. It looks like they have been doing with this for awhile, but they had a good time playing and had receptive crowd including a few people dancing. They did the most up beat and peppy version of Folsome Prison Blues which I never really considered it a peppy song. Other than than that one slightly odd version of song they played a really good set.

After a sushi and Saki break the next band we saw Fitz's Ultimate Cooking Hookers. They are unique band that combines cooking and music. While the band plays a guy up at the front cooks up some great food that he gives out for tips. The cook maybe an Asian style chicken and rice. This being right in Dabney's wheel house she got some. Food and music combined in a great way.

Next was the second Papa Top's show we saw over the weekend. They opened with the regular non-peppy version Folsome Prison Blues which Chris always does well. This time had Chris Davis' twins dancing in front of the stage while the band played. The dancing was especially fun when the twins enacted the song Tiger by the Tail . It was kind of interesting seeing the Papa Top's in twice in one weekend.
The last act we saw was watching Jason D. Williams tear it up. It was a fairly short set but he scorched his way through an amazing selection of songs. He played with a great amount intensity and passion. The band had to really stay on top of things because they would start a song and would play bits and pieces of other songs and then come back to the original song. I had never seen Jason play before and was really impressed. All in all it was awesome day of music, food, and fun.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Memphis Mayoral Debate

I have read a few things on a few blogs and on the Commercial appeal & Memphis Flyer sites about the debate and there seems to be a general opinion with some variation.

Current mayors Lowery and A C Wharton did the best. Maybe Lowery did better overall because A C played it a little too safe. Both men answered the questions smoothly and tried to make their case for mayor based on experience.

I guess of the people who actually have a legitimate claim to the job Carol Chumney had the worst night. A couple of people noted the sniping at Wharton. In general with these kinds of debates the person that goes out their way to take shots at other people never looks good.

Opinion on Jerry Lawler were kind of all over the place probably the more Republican leaning you are the more you liked him. He kept saying he was not a politician. Most of his answers seemed to come from the Republicans running for office handbook. Answers short on actual substance but a kind of gritty with a positive frame that with his help that better days are ahead for Memphis.

Charles Carpenter did fairly good job of separating himself from his connections to Herenton, but did little else that was of note. Although the funniest comment I saw on Twitter was that Carpenter sounded like Cleveland from the Family Guy.

Rev. Kenneth Whalum Jr. got some good notices but for the most part was unimpressive.
The one thing that many people noted was his refusal to address the incident where two lesbians were asked to leave his church. I guess it is not a good sign when your shiny black suit is more interesting than anything you actually say.

Councilwoman Wanda Halbert was able to answer the questions but the quality of her answers were in great dispute. I saw a few positive things about her but most of them were that she was not polished enough. When she answered her questions she looked into the camera and had this stiff robotic sounding voice. Like she had memorized her answers and was doing her best to get it all in.

Which brings us to Mongo and school board member Sharon Webb.

Mongo is well Mongo and was mostly comic relief. Although for his crazy talk and weird way of answering questions he does make a few points about the nature of the way the city of Memphis is run.

The response Sharon Webb was either the kind pity your "special" cousin gets or out and out mockery. It's really kind of sad that she actually thinks she could become mayor.
In the big picture though the only difference between Halbert and Webb is that Halbert was at least she able to answer most of the questions, but whether or not she actually understood all the words coming out her mouth was debatable. Sharon Webb makes me wonder how hard it is to get on the school board.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Compound Honey Butter

I am going to try and do a weekly column where I try a new recipe each week. The first recipe was something pretty simple but very tasty. I have always been interested in compound butter and decided to try it. I used Alton Brown's recipe on the Food Network web site. His recipe called for a pound of butter cinnamon and vanilla. I did not want to make that much so I only used 1 stick of butter. I combined the butter, vanilla, and cinnamon in the food processor, mixed it up. and wrapped it up it the parchment paper. After that I put it back in the the refrigerator and let it harden up. The question was what did I do with this yummy honey butter. It was Sunday morning and we had decided to stay in and not go to brunch, so I made french toast and bacon. I happy to report that honey butter was a smashing success and made for some very tasty french toast. I am not sure if I am going to be able to try something new the rest of the week, but will try and do something next week.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dabney's Birthday Weekend

The weekend started on Friday the actual day of her birthday. That morning I gave Dabney her presents, which was a blue ring from Etsy and the game Bejeweled for her computer. She liked them both. We both worked all day, but I left work early and picked up some flowers from her. We had a nice dinner at the Majestic Grille. She did not know it but I had arranged for Noelle's brother Carter to give us a carriage ride. I called him while we were finishing eating and set it up. We ran into Pam and Rebbecca outside and talked with them a few minutes but there was still no Carter. Dabney suggested we go onto a carriage and said no. She then figured Carter was coming to pick us up. Carter showed and gave us a great carriage. Even though the surprise was spoiled a bit, we still had a great ride and night overall.

Saturday Dabney got her hair and nails done. We had some sandwiches from Heavenly Hoagie. We had some friends over burgers and brats. It was an awesome group of people and we had night of food and fun with a ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. We also shot fireworks off that Syd brought. I must a few too many Coronas Saturday because I felt like ass most of the day Sunday. Dabney got brunch from the Blue Monkey and had an fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. She said it was awesome and was nice enough to get me one when I was feeling more human. Chinese food from Atan's ended the birthday weekend. We still have Bill, her Dad, and Mom to celebrate with. Her Dad will probably be some time this week, and her Mom is coming into town week. So there is still a little more Dabney 2009 Birthday Festival to experience.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


One of the struggles that I usually have with my personal blog is that the minute life gets busy, I forget to blog, and then I have to catch everything up.

Glen and I went to Birmingham. I got to meet some people who knew him long before I did. It was fun to hear some of the old stories. It was also really nice to spend some time with his Mom.

I drove to Nashville and back in a day. I had a Junior League meeting, but needed to get back to Memphis for the Blondie / Pat Benatar concert. I am working on an interesting project this year with the League. Part of it has to do with educating people on online predators and bullying to protect our kids. The other part is education and advocacy with the Memphis Junior League Members to let them know what is going on in all levels of government that affect us, while staying non-partisan.

The Blondie / Pat Benatar concert was awesome. Both ladies, along with their bands, rocked the Mud Island Amphitheater. I heard all of the songs that I wanted to hear, and it the rain held off until the very end of the show.

I turned a year older this week. Due to the wonder that is Facebook, I realized that four other people I know have the same birthday that I do. One of those people was born the exact same year I was, the others just share the day with me.

Glen was awesome. He surprised me with the perfect date night on my actual birthday, and then we had a couple of friends come over last night for dinner. I have always been a proponent of celebrating multiple days, and Glen hasn't batted an eye.

We haven't really made any progress on the wedding lately. We aren't at a point where decision need to be a daily thing, except of course the stress of paying for it. It is unbelievable to me how expensive even the smallest thing can be in a wedding. It adds up so quickly, and is, frankly, overwhelming. I know it seems like we should just elope or something, but the idea of not having my friends and family there to celebrate with us is something I can't imagine.

The health care debate is raging around us. I don't understand the people who are going around the country only to disrupt citizens learning from their Representatives. I don't understand the fear of changing something that just doesn't seem to be working. As someone who is worried about my own insurance situation, I hope that we get a good plan, including a public option.

So, now you are caught up with me. I promise I will be back sooner, rather than later.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crazy Uncle Pat

For some reason MSNBC feels the need to keep Pat Buchanan around as a political analyst. When he is on he is usually the curmudgeony old uncle that the rest of the people have to shake their heads at times but for the most part get along with. However since the rise of Obama and his recent selection of Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee we have seen the darker side of Uncle Pat come out more. You know the family member that is fine until they get that third or fourth scotch in them and feel more free to tell you exactly what is on their mind. Buchanan has been on a tirade every since the Sotomayor pick has been announced.

Rachel Maddow got into a fierce discussion with him on her show Thursday night. Pat seemed to wax nostalgically about the good ole days in 1960 when the country was 90% white and 10% black and everything thing was just dandy. Since that time the Uncle Pats of the world have watched in horror as the power base of the country become more diverse, but to him it is not because the various minority groups deserved anything but that they used affirmative action to take things from deserving white people. Like his fellow cable talking heads Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity Buchanan only seems to see discrimination against the poor oppressed white man. In a piece he wrote for Human Events magazine Buchanan not only says that Sotomayor is a an affirmative action pick and deserves no respect from the Republicans on the committee. Of the thousands of cases Sotomayor has been a part of Uncle Pat and the Republican Senators only noticed the case where the white men lost out. In the same article also takes a broader view on race and says the Republican party on the whole should not worry about the Hispanic vote. That John McCain simply did not win enough of the white vote. This is a stunningly myopic and short sighted view of things, and while he may be right to a degree about the math in 2008 it will become harder and harder for Republicans to win with just white people especially in states like Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Heck even W saw that the GOP needed in the Hispanic vote in the future, but lost out when the hard liners won on immigration.

Buchanan and Maddow have been oddly tied together on MSNBC. According to Rachel it was his fire and brimstone speech at the 1992 Republican Convention that got her interested in politics in the first place. Before she got her own show Pat and Rachel were often put together on panel discussions and had several dust ups during the 2008 primaries. My favorite moment is when on panel with Rachel, Norah O' Donnell and Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post that the various movements and radical actions of the sixties accomplished nothing only to have Maddow point out that he was on a panel with with two women and a black man. Then again unlike somebody Chris Matthews, Maddow has no problem strongly disagreeing with Buchanan. When her show first started Rachel had Pat on several times but has not had him on as much recently. It was largely because of his piece in Human Events magazine that motivated her to have him saying she wanted to hear his side.

I started out with for some reason MSNBC continues to have Buchanan on the various shows. I think most people at MSNBC like Pat on a personal level and for the most part appears to be a nice guy. It is just at time likes this when that nasty racist bully streak comes out you wonder is really worth it to keep him around much longer.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What's Been Going On

Now, we all know what can happen if you blog about your job. You can get fired or Dooced.

So, I am not going to do that. I will tell you that I have survived the first four days of working as a temp, even though my new bosses are requiring that I come in at 7:30 in the morning. If you know me well, you will know exactly how hard that is for me. So far all is good, and I am looking forward to going back next week.

Tomorrow, Glen and I are heading to Birmingham for the weekend. Some of Glen's friends from college are having a mini-reunion of sorts, and so we are heading down for that. I think it is always fun to meet people who knew your significant other before you met, and I look forward to hearing some new stories about Glen.

I turned in this quarter's disclosure this week. It was a very good quarter, and I hope we will build on it.

The wedding plans are picking up steam. We have a date and a location. We know that we are going to have cupcakes instead of a wedding cake. We also talked to a friend about making something special for the wedding. We will be making a lot more decisions over the next few months, which is exciting to think about.

In an awesome turn of events, my brother got engaged recently, and so I think it will be fun to compare notes and see the differences in our styles.

Everyone have a good weekend, and I will see you on the flip side.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

John Edwards In Retrospect.

In 2007 I decided to support John Edwards for president in 2008. I did some local volunteer work for the campaign mostly for when he came to Memphis and gave a speech at MIFA. I was very excited about the prospect of Edwards running. He was young looking with an attractive family and compelling life story. He was Southern which seemed to be a good thing because the last three Democratic presidents had been from the South. He had a good message and thought he had a good chance as anybody. The Edwards campaign never gained the traction it needed and like the rest of the field he dropped out by Super Tuesday. It was down to Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama and in the end Obama won the nomination and was able to flip the script, create a new electoral map and win the White House in November 2008. Obama beat all the odds against the Clinton juggernaut, and then the Republican candidate John McCain and the support of the right wing noise machine. Obama put the plan together and was able to survive the ups and downs of a very long campaign.

I am not upset that Edwards did not win the nomination. Given the affair story that recently came out which means the if he had won the nomination chances for disaster would have been very high. How Edwards thought that the news of the affair would not get out remains a mystery. Maybe it was simply ego and the idea he was working for the greater good and that would overcome any tabloid type stories. Of course this is the opposite of reality because it did become a tabloid story even though he came nowhere near the nomination. The story is not over because there are still bits and pieces of the affair details and what happened during the campaign that have not come out yet. In fact one of his former aides, Sara Nelson, is shopping a tell all book deal. It is so sad because he such a promising future, but barring a miracle of some kind it looks like John Edwards political career is over.

After the debacle of the Kerry/Edwards campaign there was the idea floating around that it would not have been so bad if Howard Dean had gone up against Bush in the general election. Dean probably would have lost too but there would been far less painful moments like seeing Kerry all decked out in hunting clothes or the windsurfing incident that made it laughable easy for the Republicans to make a campaign ad. There are no such regrets about Edwards 2008. This goes beyond the fact that Obama won. Barak Obama created a new coalition of voters that may help the Democrats control the next several cycles and create a generation of voters like Reagan did in the 80s. Even if John Edwards could have somehow become president, he would not have been able to create the realignment that Obama did.

There is one side note that brings me back to the beginning of the post. As part of my efforts to get the word about John Edwards I decided to visit a group called Drinking Liberally. There were a great group of people and I continued meeting with them. It was because of that I met Dabney who became my girlfriend and now fiance. So say what you will about the 08 Edwards campaign I did manage to get the love of my life because of him.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Witty Title Here

A week has gone by since my last post, and not that much has changed. I am still trying hard to find a job. I am still getting distracted by all things wedding. I am still missing seeing people on a regular basis.

The other day Glen and I were talking about whether or not to attend the weekly Drinking Liberally at RP Billiards, and I told Glen that if we didn't go, I wouldn't see another person besides him until Friday. So, we went. Of course, today I ended up spending about 6 hours with my Dad and tomorrow, I am going to lunch with my former boss, so I will be seeing other people after all. I am still glad we went.

Drinking Liberally is a great thing. Not only is it where I met Glen, but it is a great place to go and talk to people who have similar political beliefs. Last night, we talked about everything from Iran to Cohen vs. Herenton to the email issues in Nashville. The Memphis chapter of DL has a lot of dips and peaks in the number of people who attend, and I am hoping now that summer is here, some of our former regulars will return.

For those of you looking for a little something different to do tomorrow night, Running Gag Improv is having its third anniversary show tomorrow night. It will be a good show, and is definitely worth the $5 admission.

I hope to see you soon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


One of the hardest things about not having a job is all of the time I spend alone. From the time Glen goes to work until the time Glen comes home, I am basically alone. I occasionally go to lunch or on an interview, but for the most part - I am alone.

I am not necessarily good at being by myself. I am not saying I need constant contact with people, but given several hours a day of time alone, I tend to go a little crazy. I think of things that can go wrong or I think of things that Glen and I need to do, and I start to panic a little. My mind races with thoughts and I don't have an outlet for all of those thoughts. When I am at work, my mind has to slow down in order to accomplish my tasks. I also am able to stop thinking by reading a book, but I won't find a job if I am sitting around reading a book all day.

Even the job searching is solitary. Most jobs you apply for are online. You submit your resume, and, in most cases, are rejected without ever even talking to a real person. There is no one to call and follow up with, there is only a random email address.

If you know me well, don't worry. This isn't a request to give me a call or anything. You all are doing your jobs just fine. It is just something I am thinking about today, while I am sitting on the couch with my cat, looking for a job.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Star Trek: Her Side

The only Star Trek anything that I had seen before seeing Star Trek was a partial episode of the original tv show where Spock and Kirk had a fight ("Amok Time"). I saw that episode because Ben Stiller referenced the episode during some behind the scenes stuff for The Cable Guy, and then I happened upon it one day. I also follow Wil Wheaton on Twitter. So, I guess you could say I am not exactly the target demographic that this movie was aiming for.

However, Glen and I have a deal. I will go see movies that he wants to see, and, in exchange, he will see movies that I want to see. So, for every Star Trek, there is also a Sandra Bullock movie. It works for us. I saw the previews for the movie, and I thought it looked pretty good, so we went to see it last Friday night.

My overall reaction was that, while there were probably a few inside jokes or plot points that I missed; overall, the movie was a lot of fun. It was visually stunning, the plot moved along at a good pace, and all of the people were very pretty. The cast was strong. It ranged from relative newcomer Chris Pine as Capt. James T. Kirk to Winona Ryder as Spock’s Mom. The casting was right on target, including, but not limited to, Shaun of the Dead’s Simon Pegg as Scotty.

This is a good date movie for couples who are tired of the usual romantic comedies. I think all but the true hard core Trekkie will appreciate the movie. If there are sequels (ha), I think I would probably go see them, but it doesn’t make me want to get all of the old Star Trek movies out and watch them in order or anything.

Star Trek: His Side

Dabney and I went to see the new Star Trek movie this past Friday and we both liked it. This is my view of the movie. As someone who has seen most of the orginal series and all the movies I was very familiar with the characters and major plots points. JJ Abrams managed to use the known world of Star Trek and re-invent some parts and add a few new elements.

As with the original it is all about Kirk. Chris Pine brought an energy and excitement to the role without doing a William Shatner imitation. In fact the whole cast brings a certain freshness to the roles such as Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Chekov, and Uhura. Zachary Quinto from the tv show Hereos did an excellent job playing Spock. In fact the movie has Nimoy playing old Spock and you have duelling Spocks. I also enjoyed Simon Pegg from Shaun of the Dead as Scotty. Overall they do a good job of using various catch phrases such as "I'm a doctor not a ______" and "I'm given you all I got Captn" without making the characters two dimensional imitations.

The story moves at a good clip, the movie starts off with a bang and utilizes the action well through the rest of the movie and as I said before it does a really good job of fusing the old and the new. By utilizing a time twist into the story it allows to use the same characters but to take them in different directions from the original source material in future sequels.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thanks 5 Dollar Cover

I would love to see Five Dollar Cover make the Memphis bands involved big stars, but I don't think that will happen. However, there is hopefully one major effect and it has happened to me personally. Dabney and I went to see Two Way Radio and Muck Sticky at the Hi-Tone Thursday night and are going to the Muck Sticky show in early June. This is probably something we would not have done before seeing Five Dollar Cover if for no other reason we did not know who these bands were. Other than seeing the Papa Tops a few times we have not really gone out to see bands in the time we have been together, but I feel like have I rediscovered the Memphis music scene. Within a short drive or walk of my house there are several venues that are featured in Five Dollar Cover and doing what they can to promote and support Memphis music. Thanks to Craig's efforts other people can see what is going here in Memphis, and I think this is as important for the people living here as well as other places in the country. It's easy to say Memphis sucks because there nothing to do here, but I think that is just laziness. In addition to bands and things like roller derby shown in Five Dollar Cover there is improv comedy, open mike comedy, trivia, karaoke, poetry slams, Indie Memphis movies, plays and tons of other things. Pick up a Memphis Flyer or Friday Playbook you may be surprised by what you find is going on.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Can't Quit You

When you make a commitment to watch a show there always seems to be a point where you are forced to ask the question "Why I am I still watching this show?". Currently the show I am asking that question is Heroes. It is show that started off great but as the series has progressed it has become bloated, confusing, and at times downright tiring. So as we approach a new season next Fall I am tempted to ask the question so what, but in the end I will probably end up watching the new season.

There have been two shows that I can think of where I have asked that question. Alias that had several major changes in plot and direction and for the most part got sillier and sillier as it progressed. Yet I ended up watching from start to finish. On the other hand I watched X-Files through all the twists and turns until I simply could not take it any more, and just stopped watching the show. However X-Files is the exception to the rule, usually I will stay with a show until the bitter end. The question is why do I do that, why is so hard to say this show is terrible and I can't take it any more.

I guess deep down in the end you come to like or love a show because of some combination of story, characters, or premise. However as the show changes a lot of times they change the factors that originally drew you to the show and in some case multiple changes. The logic side tells you this is pointless and time to stop watching, but the romantic side still remembers that love and somehow hopes it can return to the salad days of the first couple of seasons. So next year we will face new Heroes, the last season of Lost, and maybe another season of Fringe and Dollhouse. While I think Heroes is close to being a lost cause, but I have hope for the other three.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I went to a party/memorial for a friend this past weekend called Kiahpalooza and it was kind of a hippy version of the Irish Wake. In Spring of 2008 my friend Kiah Pickering got sick and after a lot of testing it was found out he had cancer. He was going to try and fight it but within a couple of months of that he was gone. The progression from seemingly healthy to dead was very disturbing to a lot of us. The funereal service was very nice but was not the way we wanted to say goodbye. Getting all dressed up and being in a church was not Kiah. We had talked amongst ourselves and decided a big party was the best way way to see Kiah off.

The name Kiahpalooza was decided on almost from the start because he had a party of the same name years ago. After some searching they found a place to have the party. It was in a small town east of Memphis in a town called Saulsbury, TN in a big open field. Many of Kiah's closest friends were there to enjoy a day of music, food, booze, and good times, and was the perfect way to memorialize him because he loved to travel and camp to see music. Most people seemed to have a good time and it did not get overly sentimental or sad. It was just a group of friends saying goodbye to someone they missed. The weather co-operated because it rained Friday and Sunday but the rain stayed away most of Saturday. Central BBQ donated some food and Saturday Dabney and I packed up the car, picked up the bbq and headed out to the event. To get to the place where the party was we had to drive on this long and very muddy dirt road. At one point we thought we become the victims of some elaborate prank but we reached the place where the party was being held. People were milling about and chatting, it mostly the people they had come Friday night to set things up. After we got settled a bit we set up our tent. The bands started playing late in the afternoon. We hung out, ate food, listened to music, and just enjoyed the scene. After the bands they had a girl twirling fire which was pretty interesting. They set a big sheet and showed one of Kiah's favorite movies The Big Lebowski but Dabney and I went to bed before they showed the movie. The morning we woke up and it was raining. From the looks of things a lot of people left over the course of the night. We drove back into Memphis and had breakfast with Austin, Ted, and Jode. We went home bathed all the field muck off and took a nice long nap.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Specter Spectacle

So first, Arlen Specter wants to be a Democrat, but not a loyal Democrat.

Now, he is just waiting for his good buddy Coleman to rejoin him in the Senate.

The Democrats need to run someone against him in the Primary. I don't care what the promise was. Specter has not done one thing to help the party at this point. He doesn't even really get us to the Magic number of 60, because I guarantee for every issue that Specter votes with the D's on, there will be one of our Democratic Senators who crosses the aisle to support the R's.

This is like one of those high school chick flicks, that I love and Glen hates. At this point in time, the Democrats are acting like the shy girl who is asked to the prom by the quarterback, only to find out later that he only asked so that we would do his biology homework for him. Just because he asked us to prom, it doesn't mean we have to sleep with him later. But, if we do, and he then shows up drunk and will only honk the car horn from the driveway it is time to get rid of him.

If Specter is so fond of fair elections, then he shouldn't mind having to run in the primary. No one is asking him to tattoo a donkey on his forehead and only vote the party line, but we are telling him that if he can't stand with us, we can elect someone who will.

We don't need another Lieberman. We already have one too many.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Interesting Week

The past week has had a quite varied set of activities and for the most part of have been a lot of fun.

It started Tuesday when I did trivia with Dabney and our team won again and getting ready to take on the best in the city for prizes and cool stuff. I think our team has a pretty good chance because we have a lot of areas covered with different people in the group. We play trivia at Tug’s on Mud Island and on five game winning streak, when you win you get a $50 gift card which makes for a pretty inexpensive night out.

On Wednesday Dabney and I went to Drinking Liberally and there was lots of talk about Arlen Spector becoming a Democrat, Al Franken trying to become a Senator, Tenn State Democratic politics and variety of other topics. For the most part it was the usual gang at DL, and we had a good time talking about this and that.

Thursday The Paridiso had a preview of the new Craig Brewer project Five Dollar Cover. It is a series of 15 5-7 minute videos that are about several Memphis musicians. We saw all the segments shown back to back and it was excellent. The project is all local with the crew, actors, and musicians all having local ties. In addition performing several of the musicians such Al Kapone, Amy LaVene, Valerie June and Muck Sticky play fictionalized versions of themselves. I would assume of the story draws from their real lives, but some is completely made up. I was very excited about this project. It does a really good job of showcasing the local Memphis music talent and the various venues in mostly midtown and downtown. I will be very curious to see how Five Dollar Cover will be received outside of Memphis. They will be showing it on MTV in 30 minutes blocks and will have web site with additional information and music from the performers. All indications are if this goes well it will be a template for other cities.

Friday I went with my friend Jubal downtown to see what turned out to be the only dry of Beale Street Music Festival. Dabney did not want to go downtown, which why Jubal got her ticket in the first place. Dabney is not into big crowds and something like music fest is a nightmare scenario for her. I have mixed feelings about big shows like that, they can be a lot of fun but they can be a big pain in the butt too. Jubal and I saw most of the set of Medeski, Martin, and Wood and a good bit of The Cult and G Love & Special Sauce. We decided not to stay for any of the later acts like Ben Harper or Steve Miller Band. For the most part of that group MMW was the group I wanted to see the most and since they were one of the first bands to play the crowd was pretty small. They are kind of jazzy jam band and were good for me because it is band I can listen to with my jam band friends without getting the urge to shove things in my ears like I do sometimes with the Grateful Dead or Widespread Panic. The Cult was interesting too even though it was pretty much setting the wayback machine for 1985 when The Cult was at the top of their game. I think a few hours without rain and a couple of bands that I wanted to see was about all the music fest I needed.

Saturday night Dabney and I met with Jubal, Elisa, and few others at the Young Ave Deli for dinner and beverages. The important thing to remember about going to the Deli is do not get in hurry because they are going to be slow if it’s packed or empty. A couple of the people complained and did not seem to get it when we said they were slow. All in all it was a good evening for me. I got to catch up with a couple of friends and also got to see game 7 of the Bulls/Celtics series (Celtics won BOO). There was some conversation but it got tricky at some points because it does not take much for Deli to get very loud.

Sunday was a pretty full day for me. Dabney and I met our friend Katie at the Hi Tone for Sunday brunch. If you are in midtown and looking for a good brunch place I would consider the Hi Tone. They have good food and reasonable prices and a bonus is the two times we have gone there have not been big crowds. So we ended up staying a couple of hours talking about this and that. That afternoon I had a Running Gag rehearsal and we had the second part of auditions we were having to get one or two more new members. I thought the people trying out did a really good job and I will be curious to see what the other guys think about how they did. I think we have a good chance to bring some exciting new blood into Running Gag. The day ended with our friend Liz Ricon throwing us a wedding shower at her apartment. Dabney knows Liz because they both worked on the 2006 Cohen campaign and I met her through Drinking Liberally. It was a bit odd because many of our political friends were out of town at Tennessee State Democratic retreat, but we still had a good time and it was very nice of her to throw us a party like that.

This coming weekend we are having a memorial party/ camping trip for Kiah, Kiahpallooza. All of us will be getting together on this big plot of land in Salisbury, TN. According to Kattie there is going to be at least 100 people showing up for this, and really I can’t think of a better way to say goodbye to our friend.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Endgame for Coleman

My Dad lives in Minnesota and I have been a fan of Al Franken since his SNL days. So the ongoing Minnesota Senate battle has held my interest since Franken first declared he was going to run. Franken was trying to take the seat back from Norm Coleman who used the tragic death of Paul Wellstone to win the seat in the first place. The race has gone from a narrow Coleman lead to a narrow Franken lead. Coleman challenged the court ruling in Minnesota Supreme Court. The Coleman camp is claiming that civil liberties of Minnesota voters have been violated in re-count process. I can understand that thinking to a certain degree, but you look at the numbers which Nate Silver did (538 Coleman/Franken article), the math is not on Coleman's side. Unless something very strange happens Al Franken should be the next Senator from Minnesota. That leads me to the question what is Coleman looking to gain by the Minnesota and possible US Supreme Court challenge of election results.

Despite Coleman's claim of a higher purpose for his staying in the fight to the bitter end, this seems to be more about keeping Franken out of the Senate than the freedom and civil liberties of Minnesota voters. With Franken not being able to vote it becomes a defacto Republican vote, so that Coleman does actually to have to be in office. This may make a hero with the GOP and in certain conservative circles but is really the best strategy for keeping a long term political career alive. In the future will Coleman be seen as champion of a cause or just a sore loser who refused to let go or maybe it's just the simple fact that Coleman has no future and has no other choice but go all in on a long shot.

At this point it's just more of the waiting game. Al Franken tries to do as much as he can to be a Senator Elect. Coleman and his team keep making the claims of honoring the voters of Minnesota while pursuing their own goals. Gov Time Pawlenty is sitting on his hands instead of doing the right thing. Lastly the right wing noise machine keeps bitching whining and complaining about the scary notion of Senator Franken. It's insane but I guess if nothing else Al Franken as a great start to his next book.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Life in 24 World

The conservative blogger Lorie Byrd has a post that like many other conservatives tries to justify that we tortured people in the name of safety.

The Handcuffs We Willingly Wear

In the posting is the usual justifications of Bush kept us safe after 9-ll, liberals don't get it, the Democrats in Congress knew what was happening and so on and so on. There was one passage that did catch my eye and I think really gets the heart on where the left and right disagree on the torture issue.

"Some Democrats, including the President, currently succumbing to the howls from their rabid base, may want to remember that even in a country that now takes its safety somewhat for granted, Jack Bauer is the hero of the television show “24,” not the villain."

Jack Bauer is the hero of "24". To most of the right the world is a big and scary like on "24" where the clock is always ticking and we are hours away from our doom, but thanks to big bad Jack doing what needs to be done we are safe from peril.

This overlooks that "24" was created by a conservative who believes in that style of aggressive foreign policy, and is based on the ticking bomb justification for torture that very rarely actually happens in real life. It also does not deal with two sticky points that the right overlooks or just dismisses. One we agreed as a country that would not use such techniques. Two torture is simply not the most effective method of getting information. You can not depend on this intel because it may be true or may simply be a way for the tortured person to stop what was causing pain.

So to all conservatives out there please put the dvds of "24" and join us back in the real world where America is the shining beckon of behavior again. Besides all the twisting yourself into knots to morally justify torture can't be good for your back.

Time to Shame Hannity

Last week while interviewing Charles Grodin Sean Hannity of Fox News said he would be waterboarded for charity News Hounds Story and video. Keith Olbermann has offered $1000 a minute for each minute Hannity lasts being waterboarded Link.

This would be perfect because you would get all the right wingers who love Hannity and the people on the left that think he is a bloated windbag. We need to call Hannity on his bluff. If you look at the video you can tell his has no intention of actually going through with this. Hannity is a bully and blowhard, the only way we can get him to possibly go through with is if he is embarrassed into doing it. Stand up to Hannity and make him live up to his word. I would say this is a win win. Not only will some charity get money but all the people that don't like Hannity will gladly pay money to see that idiot get waterboarded and have to eat his words for change.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Perfect Party

Yesterday, Glen and I went to one of those perfect parties. It was a crawfish boil that the hosts throw once a year. It had all of the perfect party elements - good food, cold beer, great music, and I was surrounded by friends.

As Glen and I were walking back to my car, I told Glen that the feeling at that party was the same feeling I wanted for our wedding. I want people to walk away saying that it was a great party. That alone will make me happy.

It is so easy these days to get caught up in the details of a wedding. The dress, the flowers, the band - it all gets so messy and competitive. Does it really matter in the end if your wedding costs $100 or $10,000? I hope not.

To bring the entry back to the party, it was so fun to see people I have met in so many different places gather in one place. From the people I have known for years to people I just met recently, it was a great mix of people. If you ever get an invitation to Regina's crawfish boil, I hope to see you there.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Guess Whose DVR

There is a house in midtown that has two tvs and two dvrs, each one in a separate room.

Room A's DVR has the following shows:
1. Fringe
2. Bones
3. Good Eats
4. The Tin Man movie
5. Battlestar Gallactica
6. Dr. Who

Room B's DVR has the following shows:
1. Grey's Anatomy
2. Private Practice
3. The Office
4. My Fake Fiance movie
5. The Hills
6. Greek

Guess who owns which DVR.

When it comes to politics, Glen and I are on the same page. We vote, usually for the same people. We tend to like most of the same food - although he doesn't understand my aversion to fish or chicken pot pies. Neither one of us are overly neat or messy. He cleans the kitchen and I do the laundry. We see eye to eye on almost everything.

However, if you compare our music, our movies, and our tv shows - you would say we are never going to make it. You can go through our dvd collection and pick out the owner pretty quickly. I prefer ABBA and 80s Pop to Glen's Punk Metal and Industrial (I don't know what that means).

I am not sure there is a point to all of this, except to say one minute you know exactly what you are looking for, and the next minute an industrial listening, sci-fi watching chicken pot pie eating boy comes into your life and everything changes.

Commercial Appeal sounds like The Onion


You know it's getting bad out there for newspapers when a story from the CA sounds more like satire from The Onion. I first heard about this story listening to the Chris Vernon radio show Tuesday.

This particular passage is very funny and yet a bit sad when you think where this is printed.

"Namely, smoke weed, play hacky sack, throw the Frisbee, dance badly and say "dude" a lot.
Then get the munchies."

What the hell is going on down on Union.
Anyway check out the article it's pretty short.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In Limbo

Some time in February, I was told by my current employer that my job was being eliminated. It was nothing personal, they said, it was due to the economy.

It may not have been personal to my employer, but it was very personal to me. I had been working for this company for over 8 years, first as a temp, then as a full time employee. It wasn't a job I loved, but it was a job, and in this economy, that is saying something.

This should be the happiest time of my life. I should be trying on dresses and dreaming of flowers and centerpieces. I should be able to give an answer to the very simple question on everyone's mind: have you set a date? The answer is no. I haven't set a date because I don't have a job. I am not capable of job hunting and wedding planning at the same time. The wedding would be a shiny key distraction that I don't need.

But, it sucks. Oh, how it sucks. I am still currently "working" at my soon-to-be former job. None of my customers know, and so they keep telling me their future plans to keep me busy. They compliment me on my work, and all I want to tell them is that nothing I do for them matters. No matter how well I do my job on a daily basis, the end result is still the same. On May 1, I join the ranks of the unemployed.

So, I am currently in limbo. I have to show up for work everyday. I have to do the best that I can, and I have to keep searching for a job. A job that will pay me close to what I am earning now. I will have to endure the wedding shower that my colleagues want to throw me next week, because I won't be there to celebrate when the wedding is actually scheduled. Just know that every time I click on or, I am longing for the day, when I do the majority of my web surfing here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I want to be Anthony Bourdain

I did a top 5 on Facebook this morning and it was the 5 things I want to be when I grow up. I had National Geographic Photographer, Comedy Actor, Chef, and Cultural Anthropology for the first four. With that celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain popped into my head as a natural 5th. Bourdain became famous for writing books about the seedy underbelly of the New York resaurant scene. This lead to a show on the Food Network and then the Travel Channel called No Reservations, where he travels around to various places around the world sampling various cuisines. To me this would be perfect because he covers everything from to the fanciest uber chic places to food served off a cart or tiny back alley places. Bourdain combines a wicked sense of humor with a thirst for new and different experiences to make a very entertaining show.

Bourdain is a classically trained professional chef and it was his work as a chef that made the rest of his career possible. I have never seriously thought about being a chef but I do love cooking. I seem to have a natural instinct when it comes to cooking and do a lot of cooking by feel as opposed to a always using a specific recipe. I love combining flavors, textures, and different kinds of food. There is something very satisfying about cooking for others and they really like what you make. I can't imagine my life if I could not cook. However having said all of that working in a restaurant kitchen is a lot different than cooking in your own kitchen. If nothing else I would like to take some cooking classes so that I can add to the variety of dishes that I make.

While Bourdain himself is not a photographer his shows captures amazing images from all kinds of exotic from around the world. I have a feeling if I fortunate enough to be in a similar position there is no way I would not take a camera along with me. I do that now when I travel and it gives me a chance to capture moments of my trips. While I do no think I will ever be a professional photographer it will be something that continue to do and enjoy the rest of my life.

While Bourdain is more of performer being himself on his show as opposed to being an actor he uses his personality and humor to make the show watchable and entertaining. I have been taking classes and studying acting since college. I think in the past few years I have really grown as actor. I did some work with local indie movie makers and perform with Running Gag Improv. I really like performing and making people laugh. There is nothing better than finishing a show and knowing that you really nailed it that night. It can be a very tricky balance if you are not focused or into your performance can be off but if you are thinking too much and in your head your performance can be stiff and unnatural. At this point I am still working on my acting and doing improv. I do think there are some opportunities there to pursue this further but if nothing else it is something I enjoy doing as a hobby.

Last we have Cultural Anthropology. In fact I had settle on Cultural Anthropology because I wanted Food Anthropology in other words how and why people eat certain things. I think this is really fascinating and you look at shows like No Reservations you can see how the Spanish, French, English, and Americans going to other countries for various reasons have influenced their cooking. Such the influence of French cooking on various Asian countries during colonial times. Also it works both ways with Indian food becoming a staple in England for instance. I think it would be an incredible experience to travel outside of the states so I could try other kinds cuisines. However I want to travel anyway to be able to experience different cultures all around. I think No Reservations does this as well even though it is a food oriented show it not just Bourdain going to restaurants but he looks why people eat certain things and how food fits into their lives. How food unites people and that often food is a shared and communal experience. Someday maybe I will be will to travel like that and see something besides my little slice of the world.

Monday, April 20, 2009

That's What He Said

From the moment Glen and I started dating, he has wanted to share a blog with me. Now that we have been living together for 10 months and we are officially engaged, we decided the time was finally right. Those of you who know us from our political blogs may be surprised to learn that we have non-political interests, but we do.

We are going to talk about a little bit of everything: politics, pop culture, television, and occasional wedding talk. I guarantee we will find ourselves funnier and more interesting than you will think we are, but I hope you leave a little more entertained than you were when you got to our corner of the tubes.

Together again for the first time

Dabney and I have started a blog together. At first I was just going to add her to my blog, Leaning Left But Thinking Right. However I had been thinking I wanted to go in a different direction with my blog. In addition to politics I wanted to cover pop culture, fan boy topics, and just the shiznit that goes on in my day to day life. So together we will take on the world at least our little corner of it here in Midtown Memphis.