Tuesday, December 30, 2008

3-D battle for No. 1

Here's a novel way to watch the BCS National Championship game between No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 Florida on Jan. 8.

Carmike Cinemas will be showing the game in many of its digital-capable theaters live in 3-D. I didn't even know you could show any live events in 3-D. In Georgia, Carmike will be showing it at theaters in Savannah, Conyers and at Columbus' Carmike 15. You can also catch it in Fernandina Beach, Fla., Bradenton, Fla., and Mobile, Ala., among other places nationwide.

I, however, think they need to show the game in 4-D, you know, like they have in some theme parks where the seats move and other things make it seem even more real than 3-D.

They could spray water at you when the Gators' defense knocks the sweat off Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford and they could shake your seat when Florida quarterback Tim Tebow barrels his way through the line of scrimmage. And since the game is in Miami, they could make the theater a little warmer and more muggy than usual.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Return to the chicken house

We returned to an abandoned chicken house in Macon County on Saturday night to get down and dirty with old friends from back home. OK, I didn't get down too much because I was the designated driver, but we had a great time. Glad guitar prodigy Lance Price was able to make it down to join Gravel Road for a few songs, too. I'll probably write more about the experience in Sunday's newspaper because that red dirt from back home sure sticks with you for a while. Thank goodness. This just might become an annual thing.

Pictured below are the entertaining R&B act Hillmon (including the bass barrel drummer) and Southern rockers Gravel Road.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Year in Preview

I don't know how many years I've been doing this, but my annual Year in Preview is now online ... in case you were wondering what all is gonna happen in 2009. You can read it here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

So this is Christmas

For all that's bad about this economy, there are silver linings. Gas prices are down, people can make a fortune with the right buys in the stock market now, and people are a little more appreciative of what really matters in life instead of 54-inch televisions and expensive cars and mansions. I rather like that this Christmas seemed a little less materialistic than, well, most Christmases since the early 1980s.

I'm OK with that. Of course, I have simple tastes. Give me a couple of palm trees, a hammock, a loyal dog, a pair of flip-flops, fun friends, good family and some spare change at the end of the week, and I don't need much else.

So, I can go ahead and declare this Best Christmas Ever on my end. My son didn't ask for much at all and got more than he asked for. He agrees it's the Best Christmas Ever.

And, quite frankly, that's about all that matters to me at the end of the day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


For anyone who may be confused at work, when the headphones are on, it doesn't mean I want to be closer to my music. I want to be left alone. So I can work. Believe it or not, I do that sometimes.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bluetooth bozo update!

Annoying Bluetooth bozo was at the gym again tonight, and, again, talked constantly. This would be the night the battery gives out on my MP3 player and I have to hear his hourlong conversation. And what's he talking about? Working out. He talks about working on his chest and his shoulders. He talks about how this and that tighten your abs. He suggests the idiot on the other end of the conversation get some Creatine like he does. He counts reps. All this over the phone. I swear I've seen this guy only twice in my life, on back-to-back nights. I believe the God of Annoyance is angry with me.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bluetooth bozo

I find Bluetooths annoying. Really, how constantly attached to other people do you have to be to endure having a phone attached to your ear just in case you're lucky enough to get a call from another human? Oh joy! So, if you own one, sorry.

But I'm sure you can't possibly be as annoying as the Bluetooth-wearing goofball at the gym tonight who talked off and on throughout his workout. It was almost midnight when I got to the 24-hour gym, so I was hoping to have the place to myself. I was disappointed enough to find another guy there, but then the guy had to make it worse by talking constantly. It was a half hour before I figured out he wasn't insane and talking to himself. Instead, he was merely annoying. He even counted his reps to the person on the other end, who must be the most bored human on the planet.

It reminded me of a scene from Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." It's the kind of thing I would do. Check it out below (The clip does have typical "Curb" R-rated language):

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Coke is relieving the economic pressures of the nation by offering the best diet drink ever, Coke Zero, for just 99 cents. Sounds like a great deal until you see the bottle is a measly 16 ounces. Granted, our grandparents could get through a whole day with an 8-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, but we're the Big Gulp generation. We super-size our fries and at the movies we buy tubs of popcorn that we could live in should we become homeless.

I can't find a dadgum 20-ounce bottle of Coke Zero now to save my life. Give a caffeine addict a break! I'm stuck with nasty Diet Pepsi or Pepsi One. And by the way, Coke Zero has zero calories and Pepsi One has one calorie. Come on, PepsiCo, step it up and knock out that last calorie! You can do it!

I've never understood soda economics. You go into a convenience store (oxymoron alert) and they've got a 20-ounce for $1.35, a 16-ounce for 99 cents or a 2-liter for $1.19. Who else prices like that?

"Yeah, we've got the '74 Pinto for $10,000, the '94 Cavalier for $20,000 and the brand new Porsche for $2,500. What's it gonna be?"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Satanic/Islamic dolls??

I was forwarded an e-mail yesterday from one of my right-wing acquaintances here in Columbus (everyone I know, it seems, is on the left or right ... not in the lonely middle with me.) She's on a lot of TV and radio commercials that start with "Hi, y'all!"

Basically its an e-mail making the conservative rounds about how this cooing, giggling doll sounds like it says "Islam is the light" at some point and later says "Satan is king" or something like that. I, however, think it's a case of hearing what you want to hear or seeing what you want to see. People hear dirty words in "Louie, Louie," hear Satanic messages in Beatles records played backward and see the Virgin Mary in cupcakes. If you're looking for problems, controversies and things to get worked up about, you'll find them. And the e-mail points out that while the Snopes Web site discredited this story, Snopes is run by two people who are "Jewish -- very Democratic (party) and extremely liberal." Oh my God! Jews are on the Web now! First Hollywood, now the Internet!

And these right-wingers are mad about this doll. Never mind that Muslims don't exactly praise Satan. In fact, their version of hell is gruesomely and repeatedly depicted in the Koran, much worse than the description of Jesus' descent into hell in the Christian book of Nicodemus that they edited out of the modern Christian Bible. So if this doll is praising Satan and Islam, it's probably gonna need therapy when it grows up. Or it'll get beheaded by the Taliban or something. I don't believe all religions are created equal and some are more evil than others, but a doll is a doll is a doll. Unless they're inflatable.

As for the doll, I'm going to keep playing with mine despite its efforts to convert me to Islam and Satanism at the same time. I once had a Godzilla "action figure" and I somehow managed to resist its urging me to crush cardboard Japanese villages. And my Darth Vader "action figure" could not lure me to the dark side of the force. However, my Jimmy Buffett "action figure" did manage to talk me into a frozen margarita or two.

Judge for yourself in the video at the top of this post. I once sat through a 15-minute videotape when I worked at the Americus paper in which a reader kept showing us how you could see the Virgin Mary in the trees in his backyard.

"Um, yeah, right."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thoughts from Atkins' memorial

I was glad to see that Wednesday night's memorial service for old buddy Steve Atkins was nontraditional. Just as he was. There was no formality. No religion. Cool music. Lots of photos. Stories. Tears, but plenty of laughs, too. It's also the first funeral I've ever been to where the F-word was part of a eulogy.

For the record, I want my death to be marked with a luau-style fun party. I want folks to get up and tell stories like they did at SA's service. I want Jimmy Buffett and party music played. I want folks to leave and say they had fun at my memorial service. And, like Steve, I want to be cremated because I don't believe you should be taking up valuable space on this planet if your soul has moved on.

There are lessons to be learned from Steve's death, but there are greater lessons to be learned from his life. SA lived in the moment. I don't mean in the present -- I mean in the very moment. Steve's life was always now, not yesterday or tomorrow. There's something to be said for planning for the future and learning from the past, but we should do more living in today. I'm guiltier of living in the past and fretting about the future than anyone I know.

Speaking of living in the past, one of the speakers was Amy Barker, whom I wrote a column about several years ago, prompting a nice e-mail from her. I can't find that column now, but the gist of it was this:

As a sixth-grader in junior high school, I decided to earn points by telling all the guys that my new girlfriend was the hottest girl in seventh grade ... yes, Amy Barker. I learned a valuable lesson I would apply later in life -- when you decide someone is your girlfriend, you should probably tell them about it. When my "friend" Clete Price got a little suspicious and informed Amy about this, she spoke her first words to me, "Get lost, you creep!" I swear those are the exact words. If Clete could have just kept his big mouth shut, heck, Amy Barker might still be my girlfriend.

After the service, Amy had to have her picture taken with the sixth-grader whose heart and reputation she shattered. It's amazing how something so horrifying at age 11 is so funny at age 38. Also amazing how I remember that and she doesn't. Of course, she didn't get her heart broken.

Monday, December 1, 2008

R.I.P., Steve Atkins

A tough stretch here for Macon County High School's Class of ’88. Steve Atkins, an old friend, classmate and one-time co-worker at good ol’ C-Mart in Oglethorpe, Ga., died Sunday. He was 38. You can find the obit and memorial service info here.

Steve was a tattoo artist and a bass player for rock bands (most recently Gravel Road) and liked to live on the edge a bit, and we weren't much alike, but we got along very well for two very different people. Of course, I guess everyone I know is "different people" from me ... which is good for them. He was also voted "best looking" from our senior class, which also made him "different people" from me. This photo at right comes courtesy of a mutual friend's MySpace page.

My thoughts go out to his family and friends, especially my old pals Shane and Clete, who have been much closer to Steve over the years. See y'all Wednesday night.

Steve, left, with Shane and Jeff during a Gravel Road gig in October.