It's Ice Here in Louisville

This Hampton Inn is indeed downtown, it's near a peep show, a hospital with well-lit windows (I can see they have therapeutic florescent lights -- and apparently late visiting hours), and an adult book store. It makes me think of Emmers and that snooty "I won't stay at a hotel within 25 miles of an adult entertainment complex" look she gives near Super 8's and Fort Wayne on road trips.

The best part about being a professional tourist is that you can roll up into a town, ANY town, and inform people, natives, locals, etc as to what they are really seeing. As a person of the creative class and citizen of gen X and owner of a digital camera, I am able to see things that mere mortals cannot. Like for example when I arrived at this Hampton Inn in downtown Louisville, I let all the hotel staff and the other tired travelers waiting to check in, know that I thought all the ice was just beautiful. Oh look how it hangs off the trees and gives weight and light and majesty and glistening holiness and celestial meaning to everyday structures.

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And then as if on queue, the elevator door opens and a family of - I don't know - ten-to-twenty small children pile out of the elevator holding each other and pillows and pajama pants, they walk past us through the lobby. Probably going to split a tiny bag of gardettos or cut up a Twix from the vending machine. The one front desk girl with what I thought was some seriously unprofessional greasy hair turns to the other front desk girl (a hefty broad with a spunky short hair red dye jobbie) and says something about how their power is still out. And everything makes sense. All of these ragamuffin families and greasy haired workers and paper plates in the hotel bar! This isn't a family place. This city is (half) out of power. It is a good thing I came to tell them about the ice. They say it's been here since Tuesday but honey, I just arrived. This is the first I've heard of any storm. I'll let you know how long it's going to be around.

I'd been on the road for hours and didn't feel like waiting in the peep-show bar to get a cheeseburger so I got a pizza at a Papa John's and a glass (a smudgy glass) of wine from the hotel bar. The security guard, who looked like an anorexic face-lifted Dennis Leary and who shoulda been out guarding my car because I had to leave half of my worldly possessions in there (ten bags by BB's count), is at the bar and tells me that he heard red wine is healthy, that its good for you. I ask him if he has been reading Prevention Magazine from 1998. No I didn't but I did see the Pistons lose to the Celtics and I did hear the security guard tell me that he hadn't had a drink in ten years and - a look at the watch - two weeks, six days and eight hours and he still missed it. Sobriety is a conversation killer in every venue and circumstance 'cept talk shows and meetings. I wanted to talk about the ice or Corvette Museum or just eat pizza by myself. I made sure my second glass was a heavier pour because the bar was closing and I had to take it on the run and BeTnE* was calling and I had to whisper to her that I was and am drunk in the hallways of the Hampton Inn alone.

Last Looks

Like a fool, I left BB and Memphis today!

Look at this really nice church across from Schnucks:


And this souvenir shop in Cedar Grove off the ol Music Highway (I-40 TN):


And the Noveltyies merch:



Your Water

I'm really going to miss this place for the next coupla months.

And by this place I mean Memphis and B's place and not just the Peabody. Ducks.


Metal Rocks

Yesterday I visited Jeannie T in the blacksmithing studio at The Metal Museum. She makes some cool and slightly creepy, (just because some pieces included cast doll faces) stuff. I'm generally impressed by folk that can manipulate metal (or the human mind). She showed me around the studio and explained some of the more basic parts of the craft. I may have to go back so I can see some molten metal because really, that is all anyone wants to see in their lifetime (that and a giant metal daffodil). I was really interested in the World Championship BBQ trophies that they make:

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That's the trophy on the left with the giant cleaver. The other thing on the right is a special cooker for melting metal.

It's been good weather for multiple visits to that riverside drive part of town because it has been foggy just like the inside of a metal-melting-furnace but cold, cold like STEEL. So I went back today to check out the actual museum collection. Again it was the trophies/Wallys that made the biggest impression on me:


Must have something to do with my obsession with being praised and recognized. Really though, even if I don't have distinguished metal art taste (yet) there is one strong take-away message from the Metal Museum;  Metalsmithing and Blacksmithing is not just for trophies.


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Interpreting Oxford




It's All About Direction, Coaching

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Waiting for a table outside the Big Bad Breakfast in Oxford, MS.

I have a way with talent. This lil' fella saw what I was going for and moved from passive to aggressive, from slow to go, gloom to zoom, first mate to captain, pup to pop, within seconds.


Dead History

I'm not goth, not that goth. I do know that if you make a wish and walk around a grave twelve times backwards at midnight under a full moon, whatever you wish for will come true. But does that make me superstitious? Just because I know factual true facts?

The audio tour CD for the Elmwood Cemetery is stuck in my car stereo. I lost my antenna in a carwash accident some time ago so my only driving entertainment options as of yesterday are either; listen to my "workout mix" or RadioLab on my iPod or relive the historical account of some of Memphis' most notorious dead people on my auto CD playa.  The upside is that I can charge people up to five dollars to ride in my car as long as I drive 5mph through a certain local cemetery.

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Only ten short months ago, when I bought Ol Bess/Great White, a Korn CD was stuck in there and I got that out like the bad demon it was (insde of three months). This should be no problem.


These Colors Don't Run

Tonight B and I saw Notorious. It was like my mother, whose favorite movies, as most of you know, are: Patch Adams and Happy Feet, directed it under the executive consulting of Puffy Combs, 2008. I really don’t know how else they could have made hip-hop so unsexy. It was a good night though. We had dins at an Italian place and I ordered chicken just because it was baked under a brick. I love anything that has a golly-gee hook like that (we shave the meat at your table just like they do in the Brazilian jungle, I’ll write my name on the table cloth, watch me hand mix PF Chang hot sauce, or smash a brownie into a cup of chocolate ice cream with a misshapen spoon)

I stayed up reading an interview with Gore Vidal in one of B's bigpage/hardpaper magazines. Is it not time that we demand modern media stop printing anything that involves a discussion about how “Americans are so this and so that and like bad food and are rude and uneducated and blahdittyblah blah”? Is there anything more annoying than someone who thinks that they are the truth seer and the rest of the population is just drinking the koolAid? ( Or someone who says "god, I just tell everyone I'm from CANADA when I travel"? If you are good looking enough, like me and Emma, people automatically think you are from The Peoples Republic of Fashion so you wouldn't have that problem, but I digress...)  Only countries with either a) a very small land mass or b)a massive population problem or c)a dictator, should be mentioned in the “Such and Such country is SO blahdity blah” conversation.

Generalizing for the sake of dramatic impact and stringent word-count requirements is one thing, but is there a grosser generalization than lumping some 300 million people from the great melting pot, into one giant festering couch potato cliche just because one happened to have experienced public transportation in France? We know Cheney’s a creep, dude. We all saw him in the wheelchair and we are properly scared, we just don't consider it particularly unique insight.

Most likely, people have a deep fear of their own greed and they blame it on America. If this were not true we wouldn't get email-FWDs from our grandparents about how much illegal immigrants are costing taxpayers. America is a perfectly chaotic unresolved mess of everything you ever wanted, the Waffle House version of chopped and screwed, smothered, covered, and lovered.  Americans are SO everything - so absolutely inventive, imaginative, entitled, lazy, groomed, so good at sports, so-so at driving, so into Bono, SO everything I tell you. So much so that your pompous ass, Gore Vidal, is allowed to not only exist without a daily face egging, but talentless sycophants are actually paid good money to print your irritating drivel, and some of people from this uneducated mass of bad taste actually consume and consider all of it. Like me, for example.

But really now, if America wasn’t full of hillbillies to make fun of and self-loathing cynics who need their hate talk delivered with a bit of false prestige just to validate their own fearful existence, GV would be out a job. He and all the rest of the Eurobators who haven’t a clue that there are nearly 46 states, populated with all kinds of people, covering the over three million square miles packed in between Los Angeles and New York City, should thank their lucky stars we Americans can only read American. Otherwise I would have spent my evening reading TVyNovelas and maybe even the Karan or Ana Karenina in the pure form, and not some self-righteous culture rag that only perpetuates the vicious lazy hate cycle that makes it ok to rip on everything and be responsible for nothing truly creative. But what do I know? I’m just a true patriot and I enjoy sitting around and talking with people that agree with me. I don’t know why I have to hate on Gore Vidal. It’s just late and cold here and he’s just a squirrel trying to get a nut. Ok, I’m sorry about that. Wait for the DVD of Notorious.


This is a Music Town

Rent here reminds me of the rock-bottom rent deals of the dirty D but it still isn't cheap enough for downward spiraling musicians to ante up for headphones, let alone a propa practice space. The jerk downstairs has been working on the same arab-strap-brokeback-c-clamp-burgundy-romance tune, I mean TunePortion, since I have been here. Last night B had a chat with him but not before I recorded this for posterity.

This is for you B (and my other B in LaLa since I've been telling you about it):

I will miss you mr. downstairs and the space rock sounds of your mental demise. Take it from all the rest of the great crazies: Keep it to yourself until you are ready to bring it or end it.


Be Like A Mini Digcam; Formless.

Emma sent me a lil something from Detroit yesterday:  some vintage writing papes and a mini spy cam. It takes killer vid. Makes everything look like Max Headroom. The camera will be useful for my PI business. Email me if you want (or need) me to investigate anything.

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Good Lookin Out

I really like the pic from SFTM yesterday.

I like this building because it reminds me of my ol elementary school but it's what my elementary school would look like if it were a layer cake (over a car port).



Memphis Continues To...

Starting to come slightly unhinged. Forming a semibrainspherical schizophrenic delusion that the south has become unfriendly and that this particular land and all the foliage, housing, and small dogs on lawn-leashes have been permanently transfixed in a sort of moist autumn light. I've taken to making friends with cake donuts, seven year olds, and library security guards. Where is Lil Kim? Here are some grainy phone pics.

Physical manifestation of my wildest dreams:


How much the average Mississippi visitor tips at three am:


(that's seventy-five cents for those of you that can't read it - Michigan visitors tip in gold bullion - you aren't allowed to photograph gold B in Tennessee so...)

Why you don't mind the lack of mid-cen-mod at the thrift stores:


RIP Grover.

PILL-ars of the community:



Drugs were around before the model T, the prohibition, the white coats, but not before Champions.

A deep fryer:



Celebrating moments of truth sponsored by the unexpected messenger.

1) Craps table at The Venetian, past midnight but well before big mistake time, 88%-unwelcome man hand around waist, a bit o cheddar on the pass line, three hundred on hard eight, one eye on the table other on my younger sister and chachi in a euro-fit button-up, and he says, the guy with the old school moves, "Movies, I love movies. If it weren't for movies and sports, I wouldn't have a personality." Proved moments later, waist freed for the moment of an across-the-table fist-bump with Chach, watching three more bills cave into the dealers table with the push of a tiny plexiglass slab, "shake and bake baby, shake and bake..." Ahahahahah. Do I know where that is from? I want my money back.

2) Industrial park office meeting room. Eight chairs, six white boards, and a particle board table. One minute after contractor, a fifty-fiftysomething grandaddy sales guy, wearing wrinkles, several divorces, three downsizes, and a dated suit, has just left. Free starbucks (melty vanilla bean frappuccinos separating into milky water and house brews nin drip-stained cups), some product samples, me and my sales manager remain. The manager smirks at me, "You see that guy? He used to work for me - about three years ago when I first came to Southern Cal. I'd go on ride-alongs with him and before each call he'd make us sit in the parking lot and listen to the craziest death metal music, like an entire song, he'd bang his head and hit the dashboard with his fists and everything. And afterwards he'd turn the car stereo off and look at me and say, That just gets me so pumped up to sell."

3) Nat and I checking out "I Brake for Quail" bumper stickers at a cash-only gas station and souvenir shop off the I-40 in AZ. The other three customers in the place know the motormouth cashier, billybob jebadiaha or  jacob or eziekel with a watermelon stomach (and maybe the goodhandwriting for all the personalized sales and haveapennyleaveapenny signs placed all over the joint). They are talking, they are smelling like three cases of cheetos, Beam, and Bud. "Jesus Hank, you into it already today?" "Yeah, wha else I goh? I got furrred yesterday." "Oh sorry to hear that. I thought things were going well." "I guess the guy with the F250, the red one, came back bitching about how I fuhed up his breaks." "Didja?" "I dunno, nah way of knowing, they wouldn't even listen to my side of the story...yeah the brakes didn't work when he came back..buh the guy was a real muther fuher man." "Hey, Hank, you wacha the...lang" "Surry man.." "Where were you at again, at the Mobil?" "Nah, I was wurking at Brake Masters."



It was seventy degrees just the other day, forty, maybe twenty degrees -if you remove the deceptive spaces between the clouds and raindrops and nice men holding doors open - today. I was in my non-running car for nearly an hour in the super fat super freezing southstyle rain trying out JG's jimmyjam ignitiontrick (a combo of pat your head/rub your stomach and simultaneous counter clockwise molestation of key hole) on my locked steering column for a good 55 minutes.  The tips of my fingers turned white and lost all feeling. JG's JJIT is focused mostly on a special wrist technique so I didn't need the front phalanges after all and eventually got my car started but I'm glad to have that as a fallback reason in case it's been too long to answer the question, Can I still throw a few words together? No? Well don't blame me, it's a physical thing: bum frostbite fingers, formed in Memphis.

The only place to start in with a story when you haven't told one in a while is to start with something uncomfortable, something that reminds you of something else, something that is gone and rested in the past, something original, mind-blowingly brilliant, sexy, fresh, hilarious, referential, post-modern, formalist, deconstructed, and leaves your regular brunch date out of it all.

That brings me to a late dinner after the last day of the 2007 Diabetic Foot Conference at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa. These late dinners are the last obligatory step in the twelve hour day of a corporate sales professional (when working a conference that is, my usual working day was exactly 1.5 hours and that includes a two hour three-martini lunch, you figure it out). Usually you grab a doctor (aka: Key Decision Maker) and his huss (aka: Highlights) and round up the two highest ranking people from your company like say a VP (Aka: Successory) or a Marketing Exec (Aka: The Creative Aka: Can Hold Liquor) or Corp Contract Nerd (Aka: Just Read Who Moved My Cheese or SPIN Selling) and then throw in one tolerable coworker (Aka: I Know What You Put On Your Expense Report Last Month) then one that you can't stand (Aka: Will Talk Business at Dinner) that just happened to overhear your dinner plans. So my set up on this particular night was the Vice Pres of Marketing and Sales, um we will call him Ted and we will know him as a six-foot prematurely balding prematurely graying prematurely maturing forty three year old annoyingly enthusiastic company man with a German like fondness for talk proximity that borders on frotting. I figure him and the lame coworker who we will call um, Mindy, can sit together and talk about business in the way only people who truly fear losing their job (in  a way that I can only compare with what it must feel like to be responsible to keep a person with a head injury awake, of course the kind of head injury where they will die if they fall asleep. YOU MUST KEEP TALKING about anything or they will die. Or you both will cease to exist... that's the vibe I get anyway).  And then we have a slickster Corporate Contract exec who was ushered in to the position by his BFF, the CEO. Top bald and front fat, this guy has been gaming for so long it's not such a shock to his set-up as it is with our VP. He wears it all like, "you heard me, I'm the fat bald bad ass, your Company's Dennis Franz, now how about that Italian Butter..." I figure if I sit him, from now on known as Dennis, next to the doctor's Huss we could have a nice shake-up after the second round of cocktails.

And cocktails, as you may guess are an essential part of all of this. They start on the way to the table and while looking over the menu and ordering and waiting for the food. If, like in this instance, there is a physician with a genuine cultured background (as opposed to the cultural contributions  of the business and communication degrees and poorly connected corporate middlemen seated around me) things usually switch to wine with dinner.

By the time the wine came the Foot Doctor's Highlighted Huss had brought the already sinking conversation around to "Dancing With the Stars". And that's when my usually tolerable coworker reveals that she watches the show religiously and Mindy, the wretch with the wrenchy voice, tries to work the conversation back into a sales opportunity, "...and that's why Company X's products actually HELP people.. learn to dance..." Ted throws in some numbers and ranking stats (along with a spit shower to the unfortunate two sitting next to him) to support Mindy's pitch or the celebrity judges decision from the last DWTS episode. I wouldn't know, I'm whiskey. The Foot Doctor (Aka: Podiatrist), a proud Baylor graduate doesn't have a thing to say about it but mentions that the wine is not nearly as good as something else he has had before. He's been to brazil many times also, it's winter there when it's summer here.

"Anyone watch Deadwood?" I ask.

"Do they use our products?" Mindy says, drinking her wine with a straw. Ted beams with pride, some sale or another is getting closed tonight and the Footman grabs Highlight's thigh under the table and I see Dennis Franz looking on and then up.

He hits Ted in the chest. "You know what I watch?"

Pause. Pause.


And Ted. Ted nearly takes off his jacket and shirt at the mere mention of this show. Huss and Mindy perk in their seats.

"Yeah. GOD! You know. I watch that show. GOD. My wife hates that show." Ted's wife is unnaturally good looking. I can imagine her hating the show because people bathe less than every six hours.

"I know, I have to watch it in my game room." I can see Dennis, his bald spot lit from a neon beer sign above his plaid game room couch.

Ted hits Dennis on the arm. Foot Doctor checks the wine label for the tenth time using both hands, freeing Huss. I can see them together for another hour.

"I just watch it and it makes me feel like GOD. Like rargh! Like... ahhhh. Rargh... like..."

"Like FUCKING something."

"Yeah, it's really something else."

Heads nod in agreement across four sixths of the table and the entree comes and then the bill but not after a bit more whiskey. I wish I hadn't heard any of this. But it is on my expense report.