My Weekend

It started off poorly. Saturday morning the weather was terrible, and I dropped off Zoe at DeLaine’s house, unaware that she already had a total of three dogs in her house, one of which was a belligerent yappy little bastard who did not like the looks of Zoe. I drove from Little Rock to Russellville in an unrelenting torrential downpour. Around about Alma the sky cleared up and I drove up 540 to Fayetteville under sunshiney skies.

Arriving around noon, I wasn’t set to meet up with anyone until 3, so I did my usual stops: Blue Moon Music, Ben Jacks Music, Hastings, and Le Maison de Tartes. At Ben Jacks I received bewildered compliments for rocking out on a Fender Hello Kitty guitar. They’re awesome. Not many people pick them up and go bananas, apparently. At Hastings I was the beneficiary of some pricing errors: I got the Supreme Beings of Leisure‘s self-titled CD for $.02 and Neil Diamond’s Stones CD for $2.50. I also picked up some early Genesis, 12 Rods, Shane Theriot, and Prokofiev for $.99 each. After that I chilled out at Maison des Tartes with a sausage and egg tart and coffee.

At 3 I met up with Nica and her boyfriend Trey at Hugo’s. I haven’t seen her in I don’t know how long. We caught up for a few hours before they had to go. I went upstairs and checked out Sound Warehouse, which is a place that has a remarkable ability to show me things I didn’t know existed and must immediately buy. In this case it was the DJ Shadow/Cut Chemist Freeze DVD, and a live record from Praxis (featuring Mixmaster Mike, DJ Q-Bert and Shortkut). Life is good.

After that I was off to Margot‘s place, and we jetted out to La Hacienda for her birthday dinner with a largish group of people. Interestingly Margot’s boyfriend is also named Trey. Afterward the weather was getting weird so I opted to crash on Margot’s couch rather than go on over to Harrison, which turned out to be a very good choice, as Sunday morning was ecstatically beautiful weather for a country drive with the windows down. After breakfast at Arsaga’s (the newer one at Mission & Crossover), I set out east. The occupants of the car in front of me were apparently smoking weed because I smelled it for several miles. My soundtrack was the Hoops McCann Band Plays the Music of Steely Dan – all instrumental jazz arrangements of Steely Dan tunes. A fine way to spend a Sunday morning.

I made it into Harrison in time to have lunch with my mom and vist with my grandmother. She’s doing very well in her fight against cancer, I’m very happy to report. I brought her a lunch and we chatted and watched Come Blow Your Horn, an old Sinatra comedy/musical. After that I went over to dad’s and showed him the wonders of, which will definitely be a primary source for his research as he prepares for the Film Classics course he’s set to teach in the fall at the community college. We looked up Blade Runner and High Noon. Beyond that, he’s still thinking.

Heading back to Little Rock, the weather continued its excrutiatingly beautiful behavior. I nearly got a sunburn from driving with the windows down. The traffic was light, and much of my soundtrack was the 3-disc The Otis Redding Story I borrowed from dad. I let him borrow a CD of early Elvis tunes in exchange.

All things considered, it was as fine a weekend as could be had with little to no planning.

Turtle Doves: Nature’s Little Procrastinators

I’m endlessly amazed by the lackadaisical attitude of turtle doves. They appear to be smaller, less bright versions of pigeons, and yet they have a remarkable ability to get out of the way at the very last available second. On the one hand they appear to be too stupid to realize when danger is approaching, yet have the phsyical reflexes to preserve themselves.

On a completely unrelated note, the mystery jar is gone. For the last week or two, there has been a shopping cart in the parking lot next to my office. This shopping cart contains only one item: a jar. A jar of what I had no idea, until I decided to investigate Wednesday on my way out. It contained a thick red substance I could only presume to be barbecue sauce. I wasn’t about to open it just to satisfy my curiosity. That’s how cats across the world get killed. The lid of the jar said “Joe.” Well apparently Joe or perhaps one of his agents came for the jar because now it’s gone. We have an old guy who digs around the dumpster sometimes; maybe he took it, although I’m not sure why he waited so long. Perhaps out of respect for Joe, wherever and whomever he may be.

On a yet more unrelated note, Jamie (who has a new blog, by the way) posted this on myspace and I found it clever and “Magic 8 Ball” enough to present it for your amusement:

Rules: Turn on your media player of choice, turn on the SHUFFLE option. Answer these questions with the (RANDOM) song titles as they show up. I added the artists’ names because my collection is pretty obscure at times.

how does the world see me?
Glasses and Braces (The Semantics)

will i have a happy life?
Leave in Silence (Depeche Mode)

what do my friends really think of me?
Shh (Fleming and John)

do people secretly lust after me?
Okonkole Y Trompa (Jaco Pastorius)

how can i make myself happy?
Oh my Golly! (The Pixies)

what should i do with my life?
Texas Funeral (Jon Wayne)

why must life be so full of pain?
The 2nd Law (Michael Hedges)

will i ever have children?
Je T’Embrasse (Jan Cyrka, translates as “I Kiss You”)

will i die happy?
Presto Vivace and Reprise (U.K.)

what is some good advice for me?
Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell)

what is happiness?
My Blue Heaven (The Preservation Hall Jazz Band)

what’s my favorite fetish?
Castles Made of Sand (Jimi Hendrix)

how will i be remembered?
L.O.V.E. (the Soft.Lightes)

My favorite was “The 2nd Law” which is a great answer if one considers the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which is the law of entropy.

Retirement Dreams and Stranger Things

My dad has the best retirement gig around. He teaches at the community college in Harrison. He has taught Western Civilization, and I think another hstory class. Next fall he teaches a cinema class, “Great Films” or something like that. He’ll be busy all summer deciding what to show and what to say about each movie. And he’s not limited to older movies, either, nor is he restricted to some critical canon of motion pictures. Basically he’s free to teach whatever he wants (hello Young Farnkenstein). That would just be too much fun. We were debating options yesterday. I’ll let you know what he chooses.

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. When I was in junior high, I asked my mom, a former 9th Grade English teacher, what she thought of that and she promptly replied, “Nooooo” with Sigourney Weaver-esque vigor[1] that I could almost hear her say “there is no Dana, only Zuul.” What a sad state of affairs the world is in when a teacher does not recommend her vocation to others. I knew it would be hard work – I’d seen the Ralph Macchio/Nick Nolte movie Teachers and I knew the job was somewhat akin to going to war against stupidity. I knew the battleground was the hell of other people. What better war to fight, I figure? Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for, supposedly.

Nevertheless I got in through a side door by teaching guitar for several years in Maumelle. That was fun. I miss hanging around kids and showing them how to be creative, and reminding them that adolescence is, for the most part, a cyclone of irrelevant social pressures, needless anxiety, and relentless psychological abuse/marketing. I like to think I helped some people.

If I won the lottery and didn’t have to worry about money, I’d start a pop music school, something like School of Rock but with more emphasis on different styles. I’ve actually thought about this quite a bit. The atmosphere would be more social, like Banjo Center on Saturdays where kids are having a musical community despite the commercial nature of the venue. We’d have a digital library where kids could listen to a massive selection of music, stacks of music books, tablature folios, and instruments to play. Maybe a few rehearsal rooms for jamming and lessons. Basically a larger version of my house, open to the public, with maybe a coffee bar/soda fountain or something suitably snacky. I’ve wondered about how it might financially sustain itself – subscriptions? donations? tips? Fortunately most of the “stock” I already have. I’d just need to pay rent, which would be considerable given the needs of the facility. Anyway, just another thing I think about before I go to bed.

1.) Or maybe Bill Cosby’s wife in that “YOUUUU GAVE THEM CHOCOLATE CAAAKE” voice.


Anybody interested in working the Triple S Stage with me this year at Riverfest? I did it last year and it was a barrel of monkeys. This year we’ll be driving vans[1] and fetching snacks for the Neville Brothers, Mike Huckabee’s band, Del McCoury, and Pat Green. We’ll also get local luminaries the Boondogs, the Rockin’ Guys, Chris Denny and the amazing Ted Ludwig. Who wants in on hiding twinkies from Aaron Neville?

1.) And golf carts. Did I mention the golf carts? Free food, backstage hangouts, and golf carts are what God intended the Good Life for us to be.


21 years ago this week, Coca-Cola introduced New Coke. It burned down, fell over and then sank into the swamp, but might I suggest something to the good people at Lay’s Potato Chips? A slight name change for better, more accurate marketing:

New Crack™

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Seriously, Wesley Snipes could start a New Jack City empire on this sh*t. And apparently, for those who may live in the uncivilized wilds of Saskatchewan or Newton County, you can buy it on Amazon.

The Literary Festival of Arkansas

Ordinarily I’m not a huge fan of sitting still for hours at a time listening to people read and talk, but the Literary Festival was a great deal of fun. Good consumer that I am, I bought five books:

The Coast of Akron by Adrienne Miller
The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier
I’ll Take You There by Bill Friskics-Warren
These People Are Us by George Singleton

I attended discussions by each author, and found their presentations to be compelling enough to buy their books (and have them signed), so while I can’t say I recommend the books yet, I can at least say I found them to be interesting and entertaining people.

I’m also curious to know why I didn’t see any of my friends down there – where was everybody? Did y’all not hear about it? I guess I didn’t pester people enough.
Oh, I also had a private party gig with Amnesia Saturday night. We played much longer than usual and wore me out. And after getting up Sunday morning to do yardwork, I’m surprised I’m still awake right now. I had planned to go see John Corbett (actor/singer from Northern Exposure, Sex in the City, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding) tonight at Juanita’s but I’m too tired. Coincidentally I’m watching some episodes of Northern Exposure right now.

Powers of Two, or What I Think About Before I Go to Bed

This is the sort of thing I wonder about at night before I go to sleep. Some nights these things actually prevent me from sleeping. Like this one: consider the fact that, in order for you to be born, you had to have two parents, who also had to have two parents, and so on. Given that my grandparents were born in the early part of the 20th century, let’s say that there are about three generations in a family per century. So, since the year 1, about 60 generations (3 generations times 20 centuries).

So the math goes like this: 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents, 16 great-great-grandparents and so on to the 60th power.

2 to the 60th power = 1,152,921,504,606,846,976.

So 2,000 years ago I would have had about 1 quintillion great60 grandparents? That can’t be right. Somebody tell me why my math is faulty. My brain hurts.

Free Live Music Downloads

I keep forgetting to tell people about the Internet Archive and its enormous store of free live recordings. The list is huge and eccentric (and obscure), but if you take the time to skim down the list I’m sure you’ll find something you like. A lot of it comes from the ‘taper’ community, so there’s a ton of Grateful Dead and jam bands, but like I say there’s something for everyone. So far I see good stuff from: Alex Skolnick, Ari Hest, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Ben Lee, Ben Kweller, Buckethead, Charlie Hunter, David Gray, David Mead, Damian Rice, G. Love, Mogwai, Moe, Kaki King, Jump Little Children, Jack Johnson, Howie Day, Henry Kaiser, Guster, Robert Randolph, Spoon, The Argument, The Decemberists, The Samples, and Toad the Wet Sprocket.