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

Happy 100,00th Mileday Ahman!!

Uncategorized — d-ashes on December 31, 2003 at 10:08 am

At 9:09 am on I-55 N in Hinds County my Cherokee turned 100,000 miles. We celebrated with a honk of the horn and the expressed wish to have another 100,000 miles together. From the snow and mountains of New Mexico & Colorado and the deserts of Arizona to the muddy trails of Central Mississippi, Ahman and I have shared many adventures together. Here’s to further fun to come.

I never have named my Cherokee until it turned 100,000 miles. I started with Greenie, because it’s green, but that’s a pretty dumb name. So in honor of the Green Bay Packers, my favorite team after the Saints, and their star running back Ahman Green, I think I’m gonna call him Ahman. That’s a pretty suave name for a car and I think Ahman, the player’s, running style aptly describes the driving characteristics of a 4×4 Cherokee.

Happy New Years to all of you. Please come to the farm if you’re sitting around on this New Year’s Eve afternoon and haven’t decided what to do yet. It’s sure to be a real gone gasser! Email me if you need directions.

sunday in the city

Uncategorized — d-ashes on December 22, 2003 at 11:53 am

yesterday was my only day off before christmas and while all i really wanted to do was lie around in brookhaven and help the family decorate the tree i resolved to get most of my shopping done…so i headed to jackson at 10 am trying to decide how to get excited about spending most of a beautiful sunday in stores while also missing a lot of big football games…

i stopped by lemuria and made my battle plan…the attack was to move from the north to the south, starting in madison and ending back at the bookstore…i also decided that i needed to establish a reward for myself, as unsavory tasks are usually much easier to accomplish with some type of compensation at their completion, so i decided i’d hold off on lunch until i was done shopping and have a leisurely late afternoon meal at BRAVO

the first stop was the madison wal-mart and all went off there without a hitch…i noticed that just like casino slot machines, wal-mart’s point of sale systems are keyed to middle C, which has been proven to be the most calming note in the register…after wal-mart was finished it was off to pickenpaugh pottery…mr. robert was open on sunday, and it was a nice change from wal-mart to putter about in his little store…so there’s another way to make shopping more bearable…alternate between large and small stores so you aren’t dealing with crowds the whole time…i had a nice chat with mr. robert and mrs. merry about peyton’s adventures overseas then headed down to county line…luckily i did not have to go to the mall, just bestbuy…it wasn’t too crowded but the girl at the counter had to validate my check 2 or 3 times because she couldn’t quite remember how to do it…i guess many people don’t shop with checks anymore :)…

after bestbuy i was pretty much whooped even though i’d only been at it for 2 hours, so i headed to BRAVO for lunch…sitting at the bar, dining on tomato basil soup and the seared ahi salad while enjoying a sierra nevada i crossed out many of the ‘to gets’ on my shopping list and was fairly pleased with myself…i decided to hit one more store before going over to the pink palace to watch some football with canada…i headed for the habana smoke shop and it proved to be a fortuitous decision, as i saw the last 2:11 seconds of the saints/jaguars game…the last play of that game was a microcosm of saints history…i won’t even dignify it with discussion any further, just read the article…

i was supposed to go to the BRAVO christmas party at banner hall and was feeling completely worn out, so i didn’t see much football at canada’s due to some heavy napping…i did watch donovan mcnabb put in a sub par performance which guaranteed my third place spot in one of my fantasy football leagues…i advanced to the championship game in my other one, facing off against chuck…

i headed back up to BRAVO to meet up with the posse i was going to hit the party with…chris, alison, sonya, robert, val and i had a fine time sampling some tasty wines and talking books and happenings, though we did have to detail the saints loss twice for people who hadn’t seen it yet…i got a surprise phone call from tim and suzi, who were in town for one night of visiting…i did my best to convince them to come crash the party…we headed over to banner hall for the party-proper…i got to visit with seth, rachel, hollie and brian, plus watch jeff good do karaoke, which was hilarious…tim and suzi actually showed up and it made the evening to get to share part of it with them…with the spectre of three days of holiday work looming and the weight of a day of shopping on my shoulders, i gave my adieus and headed for brookhaven, where it took no time to hit the sack…

all and all it was the most eventful sunday i’ve had in a long time…i’m enjoying the feeling of having most of my shopping done and think that i actually did fairly well picking out gifts considering i’m not that hot at it…and i think i got a bit of christmas spirit from having a good evening out with some friends…this is probably my last post before christmas so i hope you all have happy holidays!!!

sigh…

Uncategorized — d-ashes on December 21, 2003 at 11:00 pm

i don’t know brett favre, but a note is warranted here…i guess it is no coincidence with the MS connection that i consider him, along with steve mcnair, one of the best qb’s i’ve ever had the chance to see play in my lifetime…the news of his dad’s death is shocking and sad…

SNOOP UP SIDE YOUR HEAD

Uncategorized — d-ashes on December 20, 2003 at 11:13 am

any of you in the jackson area probably have heard this by now, but i’m gonna post it anyways and laud it for all of you out of towners…seems that snoop dogg has scheduled a performance at hal & mals for january 5th…the chance to see the dogg in a venue this small doesn’t come very often for many people, much less those of us slogging in out in j-town…this is another must do event i have to fit into a week that starts with the saints game on sunday in NO, new year’s eve at the farm, and then back to NO again for the sugar bowl on the 4th…i’m already exhausted…

christmas comes early for file traders…

Uncategorized — d-ashes on December 19, 2003 at 3:31 pm

Hell yes. File traders, p2p software devs, and ISPs won huge court battles today in two unrelated cases. The RIAA finally got put in their place over their subpoenas of user IDs from ISPs, and an Amsterdam judge ruled that Kazaa isn’t responsible for how their software is used. The war ain’t over but a few key battles have been won. VIVA LA INFORMACION!!!

good tidings and cheer

Uncategorized — d-ashes on December 16, 2003 at 10:52 am

howdy all…hope every one is keeping their head above the holiday waters…i’m doing my best to do the same…having a profound sense of detachment always helps…but then i look up and it’s 12/24 and i have to scramble to get gifts…i’ve done a little bit better on that accord this year, having already acquired a few presents, but it’s time to really get after it…

any of you that know me are aware of how i really detest shopping…i reconfirmed this last week with an attempt to go to the mall with the conviction to walk out with at least one gift…it didn’t happen…i’m one of those people that walks into a store knowing what i want and walks out as soon as i find it…i don’t know how to browse, for myself, or for anyone else…i just can’t look at a material object and connect the dots to the person on my list that might like it…i don’t think my bookstore salary budget will allow me to pay a personal shopper, but if anyone wants to offer their services pro bono i’ll find some way to reciprocate… 🙂

my grumblings about our great retail-overridden holiday and my inability to gel with it aside, it’s been a good week…two authors (one an old favorite and one a new favorite) have been into the store to sign…clyde edgerton, one of the south’s best contemporary authors, was in on wednesday…clyde taught me creative writing while i was at millsaps and we had a good time catching up…he’s also an accomplished guitar player and has written some companion songs to his new book that he played for us…i got great audio of the whole thing and will put it up on lemuriabooks.com sometime soon…on saturday, audrey niffennegger, author of the time traveler’s wife was in the store…this was one of my surprise favorite books of the year and audrey was very nice to talk to…the time traveler’s wife is her first book and between touring she’s already at work on her next which is set largely in london’s highgate cemetery, the final resting place of karl marx…

and that’s about all i’ve got time for now…the anti-retail pleadings about christmas have almost become cliche, but as with most cliches, that usually means that there’s more than a shred of truth in them…take the time to enjoy the intangible gifts that the holidays can bring, like time with friends and family with good food and drink (which includes one of my favorite holiday snacks: high life and vienna sausage)…appreciate the fact that you have friends and/or family to share such times with, and if you don’t don’t find someone else who doesn’t either and share some of the holiday with them…make a couple of gifts for some of the people on your list, there is nothing that can be given so truly from the heart than that which is made with the hands…sermon over…happy holidays to all of you!!!

The Tip Is In!

Uncategorized — d-ashes on December 15, 2003 at 8:24 am

It’s been a long time since author Steve Almond, a big friend of Lemuria, sent out his always informative and entertaining record review email, The Tip. I woke up this morning, hit Send/Receive and lo and behold there it was, just in time for the holidays. And here it is for all of you!

The Tip
Sweet 16
Snowed in, 2003

The other day, Paris and I were sitting around at the condo in Vail and I said to her, “Honeypetal, do you think maybe if people had better art to consume, like something deeper to connect to, they might not spend half their lives scouring the web for our Super Juicy Hardcore Sex Video?” Paris grunted. She was working on a tricky cuticle situation. “You know,” I said, “Like if we could put together some kind of special holiday list, of cool albums or whatever.” The TV was on and something came on about Tara Reid’s new piercing. My sweetie didn’t look too happy about it. “See, they could buy these discs and the music would sort of keep them company. And if they liked one, they could buy extra copies as Xmas gifts, like, you know, for the Special Hardcore Video Sex partners in their lives. Or even just, like, their super glamorous celebrity friends. Wouldn’t that be sort of cool?” Paris put down her tiny scissors and looked at me in that hot, emaciated way she has. “Shut up and cut me another me line,” she said. And I said, “Yes, master.”

  1. Hem
    Rabbit Songs

    (Dreamworks, 2002)
    Every once in a great while, you hear a singer and think: Yes! Yes! At long last: the truth! The deep, shivering yesness of it all! Ladies and gennemen, Sally Ellyson and her amber waves of piano, her haunted fiddle. God touched this woman, very softly, right on the throat.
  2. Stereophonics
    You Gotta Go There to Come Back

    (V2, 2003)
    Yeah you do. Kelly Jones is a stone-cold whomp machine. The dude writes sultry R&B, sings like Rod Stewart on a Nyquil bender, and provides the odd clavinet solo. Don’t get spooked by the hard stuff; the ballads on this disc will make you gooey.
  3. Marisa Monte Memorias
    Cronicas e Declaracones de Amor

    (EMI 2000)
    Samba samba to a whole new level. The songs here are languorous, beguiling, highly suitable for the soft crash of human love. Her funked up cover of Jorge Ben’s “15 Minutes” sounds like Lady Marmelade in space. Yum. (Big ups to Kirkus McGirkus, South American corresponsal del Tip, for the pimp.)
  4. Guest Tip from Downtown Julie Hill Barton
    Teitur
    Poetry & Aeroplanes

    (Universal Records, 2003)
    Teitur is a guy, age 25, from Denmark’s Faroe Islands. His first album is acoustic guitar with this textured fusion of violin and piano, not to mention Teitur’s incredible, part soul/part Nick Drake/part out-of-nowhere voice. And the intimate lyrics earn the album’s title. Listen to someone other than Steve for once and get this album.
  5. Boris McCutcheon
    Mother Ditch
    (Cactusman, 2001)
    You know something’s up when The Tip goes two in a row. Yuh-huh. The ten tracks on this debut are utterly sure of their mood and vision. It’s a bit like picking up one of Dylan’s early albums, back before the deviated septum. Boris turns “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” into a folklorico epiphany. Go to www.borismccutcheon.com for the love.
  6. Phil Cody
    Big Slow Mover
    (Tiny Head Records, 2000)
    Cody’s put more groove in his lube on this one and the results are drop dead: roots music with a languid, waltzy low-end. “Opposition Radio” is straight from the Warren Zevon playbook, and “Standing Invitation” is a registered melody bomb. Guest Tip from the incomparably guilt-ridden Stephen Duesner The Drive-By Truckers Decoration Day (New West, 2002) Critics love ’em, but don’t let that fool you: their fifth album is full of songs so intuitively lyrical and unfailingly candid that the last decade’s worth of alt-country (that never-ending search for indie authenticity) sounds like a not-very-funny joke. The highlight here is Jason Isbell’s ballad “Outfit,” in which his daddy advises: “Don’t call what you’re wearing an outfit/Don’t ever say your car is broke/Don’t sing with a fake British accent/Don’t act like your family’s a joke.”
  7. Medusa
    Annie Lennox (1995)

    So I’m going soft in my dotage. Big shocker. This disc is nothing but lush arrangements of soul and pop standards, with a few delicious ringers. Lennox turns “Train in Vain” into a gospel lament, and manages to make “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” appropriate for necking. Bless her.
  8. Smoking Popes
    A Tribute to Various Artists

    (Double Zero, 2003)
    None of you punks listened when I told you about these guys way back when (#2) so I’m gonna try again: the Popes were the first, best, and maybe only true emo-punk outfit on earth. These covers come from obscure Chicago area punk bands, who manage to capture the crystalline beauty of the originals. They ain’t dead till we say so.
  9. Bob Schneider
    The Galaxy Kings

    (Shockorama, 2002)
    Nobody’s making as much sonic joy per annum as Schneider. This one is full of big, luscious keyboard fills and gratuitous references to candy. Soul music for the sugar obsessed.
  10. Double-dip guest tip from Keith Morris, author of the The Greyhound God, a new novel you should buy, at once:
    My Morning Jacket
    At Dawn

    Thanks to their recent major label release, the My Morning Jacket bandwagon is filling up fast. But their best is At Dawn, on independent label Darla. This is forlorn stuff–think clinking whiskey bottle, a whiff of cannabis, and Kentucky boys howling at the moon. What Jay Farrar would be up to if he still resembled Jay Farrar.
  11. Destroyer
    Thief

    Frontman Daniel Bejar is best known for his ensemble work with New Pornographers, but Destroyer is the better band. Listen to the first five tracks on Thief and you’ll think you’ve discovered the missing link between David Bowie’s Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust albums. This guy just hears the world better than the rest of us do. Streethawks is also well worth your time.
  12. Jimmy LaFave
    Texoma

    (Bohemia Beat, 2001)
    Jimmy’s new one has all the necessary mojo: odes to red dirt and Woody, scorching solos, Texas swang, the necessary Godfunk, and that dark edge that makes Toby Keith sound so much like a wind-up toy. “Love Will Find Its Own Way” is a masterpiece in three minutes flat.
  13. Madison Smart Bell & Wyn Cooper
    Forty Words For Fear

    (Gaff, 2003)
    Bell’s got a mordant, quavering voice. Cooper provides the darker lyrical shadings. Mitch Easter plays guitar. Don Dixon rides the boards. Plus: accordion, ukulele, a tuba solo. “Blue Nun” sounds like the Everly Brothers with a giant, thoughtful hangover.

Afterwords:
*Please forward the Tip to anyone who might give a damn.
*Do your sonic duty: send Steve Guest Tips.
*For back issues of The Tip, check www.stevenalmond.com.

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