"…and not for five minutes will I be distracted from the wonder…"

T-Shirts in the News

Uncategorized — d-ashes on September 27, 2003 at 12:15 pm

Larry Brown was in the store reading and signing last week and wowed us all with his ‘Squirrel, It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore’ t-shirt. A little investigation revealed they can be acquired here, from Squirrel Records. They’re only $10!

A Weekend in Tiger Land

Uncategorized — d-ashes on September 23, 2003 at 11:08 am

Aiyana was supposed to come visit this weekend, but Hurricane Isabel, which
closed BWI, laid waste to those plans. So I was stuck with a 3 day weekend and
nothing to do. LSU was playing Georgia in Baton Rouge, one of the premiere SEC games of the
year, and though I didn’t have a ticket I decided that I wanted to be as close
to the action as possible. So I woke up Saturday morning, grabbed a travel mug
of coffee and headed for Baton Rouge to tail gate with all the Red Stick crew.

Traffic began to slow on the interstate about a mile from College Drive, a
sure sign that this was going to be a big, crowded game. ESPN Game Day Live
was broadcasting from the LSU campus and there were probably over a hundred
thousand people in Baton Rouge to do nothing but party and try to see the game.
I found a parking place relatively close to where Michael, Steve, and Chuck
had their tailgate spot, so I took a nice leisurely stroll through campus in
to find them.

Every SEC football fan will tell you of the joys of tailgating at the college
of the team they hold dear, but it is important to note, that objectively speaking
(which is admittedly hard, I’m an LSU fan by way of my mother) that LSU fans
are some of the premiere tailgaters in the world. The only thing that LSU fans
take as or more seriously than LSU football is eating, and the Cajun spread
that you will find at any give tail gate party on any given Saturday is a sight
to behold and to taste. Whereas Ole Miss will do their best to accentuate their
tailgating with decorum (it is possible to find people eating off of china and
utilizing silver serving dishes at The Grove on many game days) Tiger fans go
with no such fluff. There will be a cauldron of gumbo bubbling over a gas range,
and they will use paper plates to both serve and eat on. But there will also
be a PA blasting booty-music and the ideal of partying will not be compromised
to any degree for the sake of civility or Southern manners. To that end, though,
you will find few belligerent Tiger fans when it comes to dealing with the opposing
teams fans. On my walks through campus I found both Georgia and LSU friends
making new friends with each other and sharing a meal, beer, and/or bottle of

This weekend, our friend Michael Sealing had parked the his Desert Storm-era
troop carrier (commonly referred to as a ‘Deuce’) just on the other side of
Alex Box Stadium by the rail road tracks, which made their spot pretty easy to
find. Few tailgaters have a 20 ft. long, 6 wheel, desert-khaki troop transport,
so when I saw it I knew I’d found my folks. Having found home base and said
my hellos, Chuck and I took a jaunt over to the RV parking lot to see Celynn
and Vaughn, our regular tailgating pals. Chuck couldn’t quite remember where
they were and it took a bit of wandering to find them (which was fine, the co-ed
scenery was phenomenal) but we finally did and had a short visit.

Heading back to the Deuce it was time for the rib contest. Chuck and Brocato
had both prepared their own sets of ribs to be consumed and judged by those
eating at the tailgate. Chuck narrowly edged out Brocato with his dark, sweet
ribs, versus Brocato’s light, spicy ones. Both were equally tasty (and messy,
they ruined my LSU 2001 SEC Championship shirt). By that time Otis and Neely
had showed up, and Parnell had swung by to say hello so we sat around arguing
about ribs and drinking frosty cold beer. Brocato had also smoked some dove
breasts wrapped in bacon which were incredibly tasty.

When game time rolled around all with tickets headed for the stadium and I
had to admit that I felt a bit left out. I’ve never been to LSU on a game day
and not walked with the thousands of drunk, rabid fans into the hallowed confines
of Death Valley.

Chuck was sweet enough to give his ticket to Steve to sell, and after helping
Brocato and Danielle break down the tail gate party, we went and got my car
and headed over to Kathleen’s apartment, just off campus, to watch the game.

Kathleen lives, quite literally, on the edge of campus in an old house converted
into apartments. All the apartments were open and the residents were throwing
a large house party, and my sulking about not going to the game was quickly
abated by 2 dozen LSU fans in the same boat. We at least took advantage of one
facet of our ticket-less fortune: unlike those poor rubes actually at the game
we could keep drinking beer without worrying about lack of quantity and getting
caught (there is no alcohol allowed in SEC games, though most find a way to
get at least a pint of bourbon in with some creative placement).

The game was an emotional roller coaster from which LSU emerged victorious.
As Steve and I later agreed, when you’re playing a big team you can’t expect
to just blow them out of the water the whole game, you have to play consistently
and make the big plays when the opportunity presents itself. LSU did just that.
Aside from a screen pass that went undetected and resulted in a 93 yard touch
down for Georgia, the LSU defense played solid. Our special teams stepped up
and got good yardage on kick off and punt returns. And the Georgia place kicker,
who was 1 for 4, helped us out a good bit too.

To avoid traffic Chuck and I headed to his house as the 4th quarter started.
I was in the kitchen buttering bread when Matt Mauck threw his incredible
50 yard TD pass while taking a vicious hit. I did get my bread buttered in time
to see the replay. I was in the middle of eating said toast when Webster interrupted
an impressive come-back drive by Georgia with his tip and interception which effectively
ended the game. And that was it. LSU, ranked #10 in the nation, defeated
Georgia, ranked #7. Baton Rouge was going to be a wild place Saturday evening.

As we collected everybody from the game we decided that we would head to George’s
for some dinner, only having snacked at the tail gate all day long. After a
big meal (I had an oyster po-boy and gumbo) our day began to catch up with us.
Worn out from a full day of partying and a game that was exhausting to watch
we sat around and rapped at George’s then headed back to Chuck’s and before
too long all were slumbering peacefully.

After watching the Saints play abysmally on Sunday, losing to the Titans, I
headed back to Brookhaven and spent a pleasant evening in front of the TV watching
the ESPN Sunday Night Game and a Clint Eastwood Western.

Check out Jim
Caple’s ESPN article
about his recent visit to LSU as part of his Mississippi
River Road Trip

The 930 Shake…

Uncategorized — d-ashes on September 19, 2003 at 12:10 pm

Oh man. The ole ears are still ringing from last night’s musical juggernaut.
It started at Hal &
with 2 sets of tight, blistering jazz from James McBride and his band.
We had a great crowd and the band was not only good musically, but also a group
of very personable people that were a pleasure to talk to. I didn’t run into
a single person at the show that was not having a blast.

Allison and Elizabeth came up to share in the fun and we had a good time sitting
around rapping. Allison ordered the meatless, blackbean tamales for dinner,
which I’d never tried. They were exceptionally tasty and I would highly recommend
them if you’re dining at Hal & Mals.

During the course of the show Allison introduced me to Susan Margaret and her
boyfriend, Scott. Scott is a highly accomplished harmonica player (check out
his website here)
that has just recently relocated to Jackson from Washington DC. He sat in on
harp for my favorite Jame’s McBride song ‘French Girls in New York’ which completely
blew away the crowd, largely due to the incredible calisthenics displayed by
the trombone player.

After the show I had a great talk with Scott on the music theory of harmonicas.
He teaches harmonica lessons when he can find students so he was able to dumb
it down for me very well. Once everything began winding down at Hal & Mals
everybody seemed to all be agreeing to head over to the 930
Blues Cafe
next. I ran into Hollie outside Martin’s and got her to come
with me.

930 was really hopping. The house band was tearing through some blues standards,
and was later joined by Jackson guitar legend King Edward for a couple of numbers.
Scott got up and played as well. Jackie Bell, the sultry, 6’2″ songstress
was in true form. Rail-thin and sporting a sheer, black, one piece body suit
she prowled the stage like a cat. It is incredible to hear such a petite frame
produce the thunderstorm that is her voice. As she went through her songs, including
a great version of ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ I could feel her voice reverberate all
the way down to the tips of my toes.

While at 930 I had the chance to meet T.C. Perkins, Jr. who has been photographing
in the Jackson area for the last 30 years. We didn’t get a chance to talk much
because the music was so loud, but he seems to have a strong focus in blues
photography and was going to Greenville this weekend to shoot the Delta Blues
Festival. We’re going to try to get together for the party at 930 celebrating
the release of PBS’s Blue’s series, which I’ll detail more about soon and every
blues fan in the Jackson area should try to attend.

The 930 band closed down with a stirring rendition of Hendrix’s ‘Voodoo Child’
at around 2 am. Elizabeth was nice enough to let me crash her couch and as I
lay there, unable to sleep because of the heavy ringing in my ears I had to
give Jackson mad props for providing such a great evening of conversation, new
friends, and wonderful music.

PS – I’ve got an evening’s worth of pictures that will be up soon.

Hello Everybody!

Uncategorized — d-ashes on September 15, 2003 at 2:27 pm

Just popping in after a nice relaxing weekend despite having
to work on Saturday. Jackson and Brookhaven are getting into those Indian Summer
days that, though still warm, are slightly breezy and where upon looking at
the shadows cast one can tell that the Earth and the Sun are at a different cant.

In other words, summer is almost done, and hopefully before too long we’ll
be getting some cool weather, which always has me salivating for a book, a fire,
and a glass of Chilean
red wine

I stayed at Bobby and Melissa’s last night, as we were writing the script for
the pilot of our on-line cartoon (more info on that to come) we are making.
I haven’t spent very many evenings in Jackson since Graham moved back to Winston-Salem
to go back to school, therefore losing my regular place to stay up here. It
was nice to be back in the city, even more exciting that it felt like being
in a city. I guess it takes spending a lot of time in little ol’ Brookhaven
to make Jackson feel like a burgeoning metropolis, but it was a nice feeling

There’s all sorts of fun stuff coming up to do in Jackson the next couple of
weeks. This Thursday night (9/18/03), James McBride will be playing and discussing
his books at Hal &
(read more about it here).
And the last week in September we are going to have a big event at the 930
Blues Cafe
involving some great authors and great blues bands, all filmed
for a special by ETV. Come out and enjoy the music and the fun!

A Highwayman Hits the Road

Uncategorized — d-ashes on September 12, 2003 at 2:34 pm

It’s hard to pay homage to someone you did not know personally. I’ve been mulling
what to say about Johnny Cash upon the event of his death. Newspapers, both online
and in print have done plenty of justice to the man’s career. I have no personal
reflections to fall back on that directly relate to Mr. Cash. I never met him
and only saw him play once, a short set during JubileeJam in Jackson, MS.

Jason, also a fan, who has made sure to play Johnny’s CD’s all day long in
the Fiction Room at the bookstore (including the Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson
VH1 Storytellers CD, which I had yet to hear and is very good) has a more personal
level to remember him by. Upon hearing of Johnny Cash’s death this morning he
picked up his guitar and played a couple of Johnny’s songs; about as close a
communion as one can achieve with a musician, I think. I can’t play music worth
a damn so that avenue isn’t open to me.

So what am I left with (and after all this, how can this post be more about
Johnny Cash than my inability to eulogize him)? Johnny Cash was one of the last
of the hard men, having found a niche that allowed him to exist and create outside
of what mainstream music considered nice and normal, yet he was still endeared
to those that weren’t afforded that luxury. Growing up poor in Depression-era
Arkansas he earned the right to sing about the hard, rabble-rousing life without
it seeming a record-selling gimmick. He was indeed, bigger than life. A legend,
and having had both the man and the legend alive at the same time it is hard
to imagine him gone until I realized that it is only the man that is gone,
and that the legend now is free to grow, eclipsing even the man himself.

And so I bid adieu to Mr. Johnny Cash. He was a great story-teller and a great
singer and song-writer. I have many memories of his music being the soundtrack
to late afternoon rides in rural Lincoln County. Though the man is gone it is
nice to know that the only way I ever really knew him, through his music, is
only a play button away.

So long Sally…

Uncategorized — d-ashes on September 6, 2003 at 9:56 am

A sad passing to note. Grayson’s little white dog, Sally, who was known amongst all of our friends, was hit and killed by a car Thursday night.

When Steve, Grayson, and Pace lived on Canton Club Circle I would crash their couch every now and again and Sally would always come see me in the morning and wake me up with a wet nose to the face. The last time I saw her we shared a bit of a bbq pork sandwich at the Gordon’s pig pickin’. She was a great dog and will be missed for sure.

The Time Traveler’s Wife

Uncategorized — d-ashes on September 4, 2003 at 3:00 pm

Just this last weekend I finished a book someone handed me at the Blue Moon II event. It’s called The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and it is an exceptional read.

Henry is a man with a rare chromosomal disease that makes him time travel randomly to moments in both his past and future. At the age of 28 he meets his wife to be, Clare. Clare, however, has known Henry since she was 6 years old, as he started visiting her in the past while in his mid-thirties (therefore after he’d already met her in her 20’s). Confused? It’s okay. This book isn’t a stumper. It will all make sense when you read it. At it’s heart it is a story of two people meant for each other having to battle time itself to stay together.

This is an exceptionally well written and engaging book that has already generated a huge buzz. The book is already going into it’s 2nd printing, making first editions very rare, and is expected to be chosen by the Today Show as its book of the month. Unconfirmed rumor has it that Brad Pitt has optioned it as a movie as well.

So go out, buy it, and read it. I personally guarantee you will enjoy it if you like to read contemporary fiction.