History-Tourist Break: GWTW

On this day in 1936, according to The Writers Almanac, Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone With The Wind was published for the very first time.  Apparently she wrote it in a tiny, cramped, trashy, stinky apartment while she was bedridden from repeated self-injury (check the facts elsewhere).

I’ve never actually read the book but thanks to David O. Selznick, I got the gist of it: civil war, ripped bodices, bloody soldiers, home-birthing of babies, tara.


The last remaining location from Gone With the Wind (the film) is in North Little Rock but we didn’t have time to see it on this trip.

The Old Mill.


You can also check out Mitchell’s stinky tiny apartment in Atlanta at The Margaret Mitchell House – it’s being re-opened to the public this holiday weekend.  No mention of fireworks on the website.



Birth of The Road

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of my favorite American innovation: The Interstate!

You can find out all about it and read a fun “Interstate Fact of the Day” HERE.


(Taken Saturday on the way home from Little Rock)

I know that the current trend is toward saving resources and using less gas and stay-cationing and walking to the grocer and breathing 10% less air and carpooling to work while Al Gore, and movie stars, and state governors take private planes to go to work or visit their lovers and get special cappuccinos BUT lets not forget that it was the automobile and the open road that gave the working class mobility and freedom. 

Let’s not live in a prison of (corporate sponsored) green guilt while the Detroit City Council takes kick-backs from letting corporations dump whoknowswhat in the once-glorious Motor City. You want to drive to The UP? Go on and get yourself a pasty. You want to drive from NYC to LA? It’s your god given birthright and duty as an American. Remember women can’t even drive in Saudi Arabia (and a few other places)– proving just how powerful the act of driving really is – shall we say; driving is the new press? Get to it.

Oh - and read The Autonomist Manifesto published in the New York Times Magazine in September of 2004.

1945HIGWAY 1945bHIGWAYcity

Paintings by Carl Rakeman -- check him out he looks a bit angry but maybe he just doesn’t like having his picture taken – maybe he’s rather be painting or driving.

Lucky Eleven… Days Until My Birthday

Let the wish lists start (of course you can also review any of my registries on the websites of Northwest Airlines, Amazon, Sephora, or Ford or Autotrader at any time).

Featured items:

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Neck cooling bands.


yogaswing Yoga Swing.


Sunday Style Section

Today I will feature Arkansas.  (More on our trip later when I am not bogged down with work work work.)

Pile Style:


Cute Shirts & Cute Couples:


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Southern Snack Trio:


Ok, like the Banana Planks, I am saving the rest for tomorrow.

Happy Sunday!


Yes List

It’s been a month since I packed up all of my worldly possessions and moved to Memphis. These are things I like about this place:

  • WEVL The Volunteer Radio Station
  • WPLY The Public Library Station
  • ChickFilA (given)
  • Proximity to Mississippi River
  • Proximity to “The Firm” filming locations

peabodyDUCKSpostcard gracelandPOSTCARD


I Liked Him Best When He Was Shopping In Vegas


Derek Erdman’s painting says “Goodbye” and I say hello to a whole new round of “but I was a real fan” nostalgia wars.

Tennessee Style Thursdays

Sensible Vanity Plates:




Back window says: “I wanna be like Barbie – That b*tch has everything.”  (IMHO, not really – she can’t wear flats)


Gross! Children are watching.

One of my ol’ LA people has been collecting vanity plate pics for some time. Check it out.


Cooped Up

I always thought it was couped up. TGFSP! Couped up is when you are all intertwined in plots to kill political leaders or take over CEO’s of companies while they are having liver transplants.

This is what I finished alone outside of our place tonight:


Naw – that was just the pre-party leftovers from a show at the Hi Tone on Friday. It was 110 degrees so I don’t remember what it was. 110 outside and 120 inside! Hotter than arm wrastlin’ in a pizza oven. Hotter than road burn on a baby! I have started to carry a kerchief for my sweat. I wish I could find those “coolie band” things that all the Germans wear when they tour the Grand Canyon.

I did find THIS COOL DISTANCE CALCULATOR from a UK site. I used it and found that Little Rock is really not so far away. I am going to take a Bill Clinton walking tour tomorrow as soon as I have some coffee.

Other things my restlessness is making me realize:

  • I wish I was a KID IN VANCOUVER.
  • I want to DO THIS the next time I am in LA.
  • There are a lot of “True Blood” fans in Memphis.
  • You should be careful if you want to quote HL Mencken even if he says sick true stuff like, "It is hard to believe a man is telling you the truth when you know you would lie if you were in his place."
  • On Questioning humanity: I was researching my particular migraine/stroke issue and I came across this awesome message board where people with medical problems swap totally unreliable and unsolicited medical advice. Everybody’s MB signature has a list of their “diagnoses” and medications. For example: 


    DX: Wegener's Disease, Migraines, Diabetese Type II, PCOS, Lactose Intolerant, Benign Heart Murmer, Depression, Asthma, Asperger's Syndrome, Necrotizing Gramultous Inflamation in eye, A.D.D., Acid Reflux

    Medications: CellCept, Prednisone, Tri Nessa, Percocet, Metformin, Prilosec, Protonix, Zantac, Advair, Cingulair, Albuterol, Calcium + Vitamin D

     (taken from real message board contributor)

Sorry but – how many parties can that guy get invited to? Whoa. Well with the pharmies he might have a chance…

Anyway. Please come visit. It isn’t nearly as hot as I have been complaining about (bald faced lie) and I feel that I am experiencing a complaint backlash. Come on down or out – we’ll go Southern Gothic.



DX: Bipolar, ChocoANDshoeAholic!!, adrenaline junkie, late sleeper, coffee snob, carpal tunnel, farsighted, celebrity workout addict, migraines, compulsive driver, bitchslapper.

Medications: Baby asprin, almond stuffed olives, synthroid


Thought Clearinghouse of Southern Encounters these Past Weeks

Nashville Style Sightings:

  • Flip-flops & skinny jeans (on mens)
  • Pigtails on grown women (mostly braided)
  • Gladiator sandals & short shorts on women (seen across US, really)
  • Chewing tobacco – spit in tall bottles (much like Fowlerville circa 1992)
  • Jager shots. Ice cold.

Best Overheard Fast-Food Patron Confrontation/Instructions:

I was inside a Chik-Fil-A on a weekday evening last week. There were four customers  - two dining-in and two, including me,  in line - in the store and five workers running themselves peanut-greased-haggard to fill the orders from the 6,000 people in the drive-through. And you know people unwilling to get out of their cars at 8:45pm on a Thursday evening are either; wearing stanky stanky PJ’s, harboring a refugee or kidnapped child, or starting on second supper. Either way, it’s not your hello, good-morning breakfast biscuit crowd.

I could tell my cashier gal was already having a rough shift when a big ol hungry mamma (in group three of the above mentioned possibilities) comes busting through the door holding a crumpled take-out bag in one hand and a XL box of ChikFilA waffle fries. She shoves the box of fries past the face of an innocent woman trying to place an order, until it reaches just under the nose of the other friendly ChickFilA cashier on duty.

“Y’all put cold fries in my bag.” It already sounds threatening-- like maybe somebody is already kilt somebody’s cousin. The cashier doesn’t say anything but grabs another box from under the heat lamp and gives it over to Two-Dinner Twanda.

“Awwww naw.” Twanda hits the new fries, “Naw, these are cold too.” She looks over at me. I try to concentrate on my Coke Zero and hope that I will sill get my extra pickles in spite of all the mayhem.

“Naw, these are COLD TOO. I know y’all got some hot fries back derre.”

Now all of us, including the backstage workers, are nervous. I’m nervous because I hope they have enough waffle fries to fill my order and they are nervous because there are strict regulations about how hot you can serve food (– and probably how forcefully you can restrain a customer) .

The red light finally comes up near the fryer and a new red box of XL Waffle Fries is produced and placed in Twanda’s hands.

She smiles. Holds the box in her left hand and slaps the other side with her right. I hope a golden waffle doesn’t fall out. I don’t want this to get obscene.

“That’s what um sayin’” She says. Slap. Slap. “Hot thru the BOX!”

We all look over at her. All of us from the fryer to the dryer.

“Hot thru THE BOX!!” She says again and hugs her crumpled drive-through bag and leaves ten percent slower than she came in.

The cashier that had given her the fries looks at my cashier and says, “My pleasure.”

I get my food and wait until I get in the car to feel the side of my fry box and they are, indeed, Hot right thru da BOX!


**Check out THIS ARTICLE on “The Cult of Chik-Fil-A”

Cultural/Arts Conversations Lost in Translation:

  • Musm = Museum
  • Dult = Adult
  • TheeeYAYter = Theater
  • Sack = Bag (leanrt from cute old lady buying her teen grandkid a stack of “Twilight” books “I don’t need a sack.”)

Randomly and Additionally:


Complaint Installment 2 of 1,000 in Reference to Southern Weather

First, a drive-by sighting of another great hair salon:


I don’t think Hair Efects is affiliated with the Detroit salon, Incisions.

And an exclusive feature of Memphis strip malls:


How cute! I know what goes in the blue boxes – but what or who is in the little space pod?

So, I am not used to this weather (yet). It is, as a few natives have told me, a bit hotter than usual, but it’s making my brain melt (current Memphis migraine count: two). I think it has to do with the strong upper level ridge of high pressure that weather.com has warned us about.


MemphisHOTweather P1180280   Weather by Memphis                         Straw sculpture by B. Mehr

I wish more people found it interesting to talk about the weather. I would make friends way faster here. As of right now, I know a sweaty lady from Arkansas and a teen at the Tiger Mart.


Hawthorne Logs


Aftermath of the downed killer tree. Chunks bigger than a small car. I think they shipped the midsection to the Log Ride (for Husky and Pretty Plus Riders) at a local amusement park.


We Are Back in Business

Our power was restored just moments after I sent a stern email to the mayor of Memphis! Coincidence? Hardly. It was Civic Power!!

Now I can get back to writing about my interesting life and ranting about quirky indie stuff and I can finally get down to business doing what I came here to do: complain about humidity.

Here is a photo of some flowers I saw today at The Dixon Gardens:


Admire them.


Blame It On The Rain

I have provided for you, dear reader, some video of possibly the exact moment when our power exploded. Don’t think for a second that it just went out. It exploded.

The sound got a lil wacked in the final cut but we can chalk it up to the bad storm or even the worthless quicktime 7.02.01 update:


I Would Wish This on My Worst Enemy for Sure.

B just asked me where I was and I responded with “at the end of my wits.” I meant to say “at the end of my rope” because my wits just never end. But on day four of this power outage, and two weeks into this new city, in this minibooth at Panera bread, I am indeed at the end of my rope. I’ve spent today going from one annoying place to another just to stay away from the sauna that was once known as our apartment. It is now owned by a pack of rotting bananas.

I stopped by today to try the light switches in case we just hadn’t been using them right. I pressed harder. I flipped them up and then down and then tried the “toggle” method I use sometimes when my ipod is f-ed up. Definitely no lights or power or anything that could make a fan or a fly move. So I sat at our little round table and addressed one envelope for something that I had meant to send out on Friday (before THE STORM) and removed the wrapper from one Band-Aid (name brand). Those two activities, plus flipping the light switches in the hallway, had generated so much sweat I had to change my shirt.

Our place is almost exactly human body temperature, but moister. It is like the inside of the Jade Steam Room at The Olympic Spa but without the naked ladies practicing yoga on slabs of therapeutic jade tile. None of that glamour - our windows have been painted shut and I left all of my hand fans at home. I have some great hand fans and I didn’t bring them when I moved to the south. I just wasn’t thinking. I wasn’t thinking then anyway. I’m thinking of a lot of stuff now.

Of course, things could always be worse. I’m just saying I don’t want to test that tiger, ya know.


Land of the Lost (Power)




Oh good. It will cool off to 95 by Tuesday.

Power Out, Sweatbox City

Hundred thousand people without power from a crazed storm on Friday night, including us – I mean – especially us. Golf outings were postponed. People provided pictures of storm damage. Some via god himself. These are from me and my internet connection is from the local DoubleTree Hotel. I cannot live without fans.

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One Dollar Into Five

Mid-week summary: Nashville, scratch-offs, dead lawn empty stadium push-ups with no shirt, and a record store bathroom.




And one dum migraine.



I slept in until noon. Nothing good happens before noon anyway.

That is a little play on what my dad used to say about my curfew --“Nothing good happens after midnight – you don’t need to be out with the riff-raff.” He was so wrong. Do you know how many “buyers” don’t get out of their dishwashing jobs until after midnight? Do you know how many fistfights I got to see after midnight (slightly more than I saw in daylight)? If I hadn’t been practicing my rebellion, I wouldn’t have seen D___ J____ punch out S____ H____n’s windshield in front of M___ H_______ house on that warm august evening in ‘91. Valuable lesson learned: you may not remember the reason for the fight but you always remember the damage.

I’m organizing a fist-fight story zine – to commemorate the last, great generation of young people (mine) so holler at me. Things today aren’t nearly as exciting – maybe nothing good happens after 2012

Last week the LA Times posted an article about the new trend in young, unemployed singles; enjoyment. Seems it’s blowing people’s mind that young people gladly take their unemployment checks and go golfing. Somewhere in the article they say it is part of the “entitlement” generation. I think they are misusing the term. When it comes to current issues of entitlement I think more of – AIG & Countrywide (and some of the banks that took a chunk of a trillion dollar bailout) and not so much some poor schmuks that got liberal arts degrees and are now only qualified to use Twitter. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy their unemployment?


French Cooking

I hope that I won’t have to post any more food rants (we all know what a telling sign of mental desperation they can be). I fear the last one might have isolated a few of my many readers. I think I was inspired by the preview for that Julia Childs/cooking blog movie that I saw before “Angels & Demons”. What happens when all new movies are unwatchable? Is it the end of cinema? Do people care? What will happen to us? Can you really write a script about a blogger chef? Did anyone see “No Reservations”?


Underwater and Undercooked Rant

I DECLARE: As of last night, I have eaten at my very last sushi restaurant. I don’t eat sushi. I don’t like the taste of almost all fish. It is gag-a-rif-ic to me for three major reasons: temperature, texture, and the haunting scent/taste of sea murder. It reminds me of being nearly drowned to death and emotionally abused at the Grosse Ile Yacht Club and also I am severely allergic. A few of these things are true. It doesn’t matter. I hate seaweed just as much. I can’t even smell the side of a toy boat without yacking and I don’t understand ingesting something that smells like the main ingredient of  phrase spoken when things turn bad (something is fishy here).

I have several friends that hate red meat and a couple that claim to have caught gluten intolerance in the past food-allergy-centric decade. Fine, fine. Different strokes. They too have a few blacklisted menu items, but I am certain that they don’t have to deal with the cultural backlash and social awkwardness that comes from not eating sushi. People (a term I use to cover – um – people of the eastern and western and southern United States) simply cannot get over it. I don’t know if it is their own self-doubt or WWII/Internment camp guilt (second mention this week) or what, but I have had an easier time smoking a cigarette outside of a Gilda’s club (true) than I have just ordering some soup at a Japanese restaurant while they order up their overpriced and undercooked chunks of shit-swimming fish flesh.

In the past I have gone along with my friends to sushi places because they were visiting from out-of-town or severely craving sushi or whatever, and I have said “I don’t eat sushi, I’ll just get soup or beer or some other kind of belly wash – you just enjoy yourself.” But it’s not going to happen anymore because the enjoyment never happens – it is certain that, after being seated, the topic of how I don’t eat sushi will be brought up – not by me, but by the sushi eater. And all it ever does is highlight our differences in taste and it makes everything suspect and unfun.

I can eat pepperoni pizza in front of a vegetarian, what is so hard about enjoying sushi without me eating it? I personally don’t wonder about things like, “how can you NOT like this?!!” (a common statement made by diners choking on seaweed). I know that like snowflakes and thumbprints, we all are different. And just like the fact that I can eat brussel sprouts and olives while you gag, I don’t eat or enjoy the same raw sea beasts that brighten your day. More importantly, I don’t equate your lack of taste for red meat with the typical self-loathing of guilty over-educated Americans (ok, maybe I do…)

What IS this thing about equating cuisine taste with culture? Why do we only selectively insist on false authenticity? If you can eat with chopsticks are you cultured? I remember a story about a friend of a friend that was appalled that a certain Thai restaurant didn’t provide chopsticks (even though forks are totally a-ok in Thailand). Last night I heard the table of polo-shirted southern men joke with the asian waitress (at the sushi restaurant) about how they were just going to order chicken fingers and honey mustard sauce – signifying that they were not typical low-brow uncultured customers. Later when the check came they joked with her that they would be paying with food stamps. How hilarious. I’ll take a quiet alcoholic or near-dead anorexic over an outspoken sushi eater* any day.

* Tested truth: Soy Chai Latte drinkers are actually the most obnoxious people in the western hemisphere. I worked at starbucks. I can confirm this. People that like caramel are generally nice.

Powdery Magnolias

Enjoyed today:

  • Moist, grey movable pre-storm Tennessee sky
  • Plastic-like magnolia blossoms
  • Yoga instructions given by instructor with southern accent, “dawn dawg”
  • Fight about Tarantino
  • La Croix canned water and two cans of canned sparkling wine
  • Pear shaped kitchen timer



The Longest Yard

Favorite ruinenlust sighting yesterday was at Shelby Farms Lucius Burch Jr National Area:



A special place in my heart is reserved for dusty, abandoned, or overgrown ball fields and decaying stands. My old favorite is at Manzanar (visited 06-2006):


Zombieball later?



Memphis so far:

  • Pork eaten:  (est.) 4oz.
  • Giant slabs of wood from ill-constructed new table dropped on feet:  (est.) 1 – not my feet though
  • Boxes emptied: 2
  • Space Bags that re-inflated within 24 hours: 3 (of 5)
  • Italian festivals: 1
  • Text messages asking “How’s Memphis?!”: 20
  • Cheery responses given: 10


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These are a few things that would make my life easier in the coming weeks:

  1. More hangers
  2. A little less humidity on the uptake – outside
  3. Have the Lakers win the NBA Championship (not because I am really rooting for them but because the aliens will then leave my new home and life can get back to business)
  4. A debutant ball so I could be introduced to southern society and maybe be lucky enough to get featured here
  5. A job producing the “Quit Your Job Advice Show