Halloween Of Yesteryear, Hard To Top

Last year? Trapped in a Corn Maze, Seizure Baby and the ICP:


This year? I’m thinking I’ll find Elvis, eat three pounds of candy corn, and flying a broom to the moon.

Happy Halloween!


The Pie Place

You can get lost in a pigs belly of bad bar-b-q here in the south so it pays to do your research. Before we left for Hot Springs last week we consulted our road food experts of Here Comes Trouble fame, and also the website Roadfood. Both connoisseur resources insisted that we stop at Craigs BBQ in De Valls Bluff, a quaint little town near the White River in Arkansas.


Roadfood said the rib plate was the real hit, but they don’t live in Memphis so we went with the other advice to get the cheeseburger. Yes, The cheeseburger. We were not disappointed.


Slaw-on-burger. Just order it the way it comes.


The service was great and the clientele was nothing but camo and Carharts. Not too many people dined inside but we did because we had to stay put – our desert was waiting across the street.


We were told that we had to get pies from The Pie Lady, a kind older woman who runs a pie shop out of her house, after we ate at Craigs. As you can see, the home is clearly labeled.

Inside was a trove of magical light and buttery crusts.


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We ordered two apricot fried pies and ate them on the road. They tasted like homemade jam and dirty fruit. That is kind of what I call the decor of the place as well: Homemade Jam and Dirty Fruit – it is a distinct southern style. I’d go back for sure. Whole Pie style.



My Kind Of Gymnasium

The latest Vista Video taken inside the historic Fordyce Bath House in Hot Springs, AR shows the gym equipment of yesteryear:


Never Toss Your Go-To Material

I decided to get legit this month. Well, legit as far as becoming a proper Tennessee resident because I’ve pretty much decided to stay. This means getting a new license plate for my car. DONE. And a new drivers license. NOT DONE.

See, on my drive over to the DMV or DLS or XYZ of the great state of Tennessee, I started to feel a deep sadness about turning in my California ID. It isn’t due to expire for a good 4.8 years, but it is more than that that fed my resistance.

DL_CHEESE_HAIRMy hair and cheesy smile on that DL photo has consistently, and I mean 1 out of every 2 times I show the thing, gotten me attention. The kind of attention that makes TSA guards say I look like Linda Blair and waiters at Applebees say, “ha..nice smile.” It has become the only item in my comedy arsenal that produces such reliable results. I got the picture taken soon after I moved to Los Angeles and my hair was still growing out chemically induced curls from chemotherapy so I always looked like I had hot-rollered my hair. The photo quite possibly marks the greatest time of my life (minus the chemo, poverty, and 5am shift at Starbucks across from the Beverly Center).

So when I got to the Tennessee Licensing center and stood in the line behind twenty other people, I made up several excuses including the line being too long and the place smelling like wet diaper liner and I turned around and left, my Linda Blair ID still in my wallet.

My ID doesn’t identify me. Or maybe it does. It doesn’t matter. I don’t need to pin myself to the confines of state borders and boundaries.  After all, I am and always will be just a world resident, who just happens to hold an astounding, unparalleled piece of personal identification (that is valid for another 4.8 years).


Learned, Observed, and Celebrated

… at the Indie Memphis Film Festival

All In: The Poker Movie. I learned that poker is more part of America than the national parks or baseball and I think Ken Burns could do an 18 hours series on the card game. I also learned that once again it was my the technological champion, the camera, the kino-eye, that “let us in” and turned poker into a spectator sport of skill, luck, and psychological study. Thank you Henry Orenstein – the inventor of the Hole Card Camera and owner of large, handsome sunglasses.

Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo Tears and steers! Rodeos are cinematic, prisons are metaphorical, put the two together and you have the perfect ingredients for a movie.

Memphis Movement: Jookin’ The Urban Ballet And I thought that was breakdancing I saw the other night at the Best of The Flyer party. I’m so glad that film has the power to educate, I won’t make that mistake again. The people behind this production are genuinely rad people. I hope they get distribution. If not, I can post the video right here on this heavily trafficked site.

Ghost Bird On our way out to Little Rock to see the Bill Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, we passed a small town with a big billboard that said, “Brinkley: Home of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker.” and I thought to myself, I really should stop, that sounds rare and important. But the exit passed by and I missed my opportunity. I was thrilled when I found out Ghost Bird, a documentary that would explain it all, was screening at Indie Memphis. Some great footage in this -- particularly a short segment that show duck/geese (?) hunters preparing a field of decoys made from white trash bags and plastic ducks.


The Garden Lesson in filmmaking: An exhausting and spirited battle for public land compressed into a tightly edited (a perfect 80 minutes) documentary makes a riveting story, powerful political message, and a worthy historical document.

Getting Over The Hump

I consider myself middle-aged (for someone that lived in 1809) and I am happy that I found an instructional video that justifies my current state of retirement (more like deep R&D) as well as a nice essay written by a smart New Yorker that succinctly describes the effect that life-comparison has on our friendships.


Give Life to Little Things

You don’t have to give birth to get on the latest cultural bandwagon. Try non-committal windowsill gardening. That is what I do. Your best bet in those dollar bins near the entrance to your favorite Target store: Mini Grow Kits!


For a whole week, I thought I got a bunk batch of Black-Eyed Susans (BES) because they were really lagging behind the pot of gold, but this came up yesterday:


This makes me think I could have plant races. I could just watch these little pots for hours. Can’t wait to see BES shake off that dirt and flower up. It seems to be more productive than watching paint dry and gentler than watching water boil. Coming up next Lavender vs Forget-Me-Nots:



A Gesture Study

Mesmerizing hair handling and astounding perm spring-back from a local documentary about Elmwood Cemetery.

From my Historians Hair series.



Oh my gosh – Playgrounds from the 70s got me thinking about Monkey Bars and if we are allowed to use that term or equipment anymore. I’m allowed to say whatever I want of course but I just need to know should I get called in to substitute teach a recess of some kind. I was witness to a rather severe concussion in the fifth grade and I have vowed to never challenge a person to a gymnastic competition on metal bars ever again. Monkeys may not be the symbols of play that they used to be.

Be warned: If you search the internet for Monkey Bars you should be prepared to get a bunch of unsettling news about the popular piece of playground equipment.


A Life of Magical Thinking

I tested and tried and proved the tumblr voice recorder last night at the Shell. It works. I’m thinking street interviews, deep thoughts, and sing-a-longs in addition to the already fascinating traveler pics on my tumblr.

My Sunday life advice is:

When you are about to open your fortune cookie after eating a nice chinese-american meal at Pei Wei, don’t think in your head, “This fortune, no matter what will be the word map of my destiny and will determine the course of all my actions.” It is childish, magical thinking and you could also get a very lame fortune that will haunt you ‘till the end of your days.



Fun, But Why is it Called a SLAM?

I’m a fan of The Moth podcast and I just heard that there is now a Moth storySLAM in Detroit at Cliff Bell’s every month now. Who picked the venue? It is perfect.

Why does everything involving a mic and no accompaniment have to be a SLAM? Why can’t it be Story-aoke? If it is really going to be a slam, the people who stink should get physically slammed off the stage. I’ve been to overly-supportive readings and performances and such and they aren’t good for anyone's development.

It seems the art of storytelling is on the upward trend (and has been) It is often on the agenda in team building and corporate development programs.  Even The Moth has a corporate training section. It reminds me of sitting through some very rehearsed sales meetings, where the VP stands in front of the room and tried desperately to relay their chosen personal anecdote (hey, everyone has to reinforce a learning moment) in a naturally convincing way. Ooooh so painful. If The Moth doesn’t come to Memphis, I will just start a monthly Corporate Meeting Video Outtake SLAM for all to enjoy.