Of Local Interest

If you’ve got a minute, let me recommend spending it looking at Jason Thrasher’s Fine Art and Editorial photographs.

Jason’s from Athens and a passing acquaintance of mine, and I have seen some of his photos before. I had the abundant pleasure of being there when he got back all of the prints of the photos he shot in Taladega. Watching him furiously rifle through them, occasionally holding one up and saying “AH! Yes!” or “Hm. Oh, well,” was a marvelous experience. Artists and their work are a world unto themselves. I felt like a benign voyeur.

His family photos and wedding photos are good, though they are unfortunately hampered here and there by the necessity of capturing a more objective subject than his amazing photos from Varanasi. I don’t even know where Varanasi is.

I went to his site looking for his phone number and ended up staying all morning. Go and see.

Speaking of which, pt. 2

I did some research on tractors before we bought the John Deere L111. I gotta tell ya, having a membership at Consumer Reports has made buying really expensive stuff a lot less scary. The L111 was their top-rated lawn tractor.

Consumer Reports doesn’t take ads. They refuse to be intimidated by lawsuits by various charlatans. All of their revenues are from memberships, so they’re not on anyone’s payroll.

My dad always had a Consumer Reports membership when I was growing up. I remember the magazines lying all over the house, and he didn’t make any big purchases without having a look to see what CR thought. They rate everything from coffee makers to mid-sized sedans.

Next up, we’re painting the house, and guess what… Consumer Reports has rated exterior paints and stains.

Highly recommended.

outstanding

You should go read this history of Pylon in Vanessa Briscoe Hay’s own words.

It’s incredible.

Pylon debuted at a party above Chapter Three Records shortly thereafter. Most of our friends from town and art school came to the party.Chemical Features, basically Pylon without me were the opening act. The crowd stood still. This was also the same reaction we received the second time we played a party at Curtis’ loft with the Tone-Tones. Not until the third time that we played, did the audience dance. I think that people were a bit stunned. Perhaps they weren’t sure what to think. Perhaps we were truly awful.

That’s my favorite paragraph.

Shakedown at work

I just love this story. Via Josh Marshall comes a link to a newspaper in Katherine Harris’ (R-Insane make-up) district detailing her history of strong-armed “donations” to her campaign.

I just love the way these people work. So much.

Eleven years ago, employees of the Riscorp insurance company made campaign contributions totaling $20,292 to U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris. It was later discovered the employees were illegally reimbursed for their donations. Five Riscorp executives pleaded guilty to a range of charges and the company’s president served a brief prison sentence. Harris denied any knowledge of the scheme, was never charged with any crime and was cleared of wrongdoing by a state investigator.

Fast-forward to 2004, when 16 employees of a company called MZM Inc. sent checks for $2,000 to her campaign — 14 of them on the same day. The $32,000 was in addition to $10,000 the company’s political action committee gave to her campaign. Last week, three employees told the San Diego Union-Tribune they were forced by the company’s chief executive to donate to the firm’s political action committee.

“Give this woman your paycheck for the week or you’re fired. We might pay you back for it.”

Oh, this China White? It’s for medicinal purposes

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what would happen if I offered the same excuses the Bush Administration does for the bullshit it pulls.

I mean, following this headline…

U.S. to resume plutonium 238 production-report

with this explanatory paragraph…

The newspaper quoted project managers as saying most, if not all, of the new plutonium was intended for secret missions. The officials would not disclose details, but the newspaper said the plutonium in the past powered espionage devices.

Fucking WHATEVER.

Look, I just need a little heroin for this toothache I am having. How much? Oh, I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.

I think this meme is my favorite so far

1. What were three of the stupidest things you have done in your life? (I should say that all-in-all, my stupidity has ended up bouncing back and teaching me a very, very valuable lesson each time. So, I don’t necessarily regret the stupid stuff. Like the fixer says- “get addicted to….” but I thank whatever god is listening that I was lucky enough to become an addict, because when I finally cleaned up, I had a better life than before I went down the rabbit hole. So…. with that in mind… I am going to try and focus on things that caused other people pain. Those are the stupidest things I can think of…)

a) Been a promiscuous asshole because I could be a promiscuous asshole in my early-20s. (So many amends to make…)

b) Insulted the head of A&R for RCA records when he took me and the rest of band out for dinner at the Austin Grill. (read: NOT cheap.) I don’t really care that it torpedoed any deal we might have had with RCA. That’s beside the point. The point is that this guy took us out to a $200+ dinner and we were ASSHOLES. (It was a combination of road fatigue, industry mistrust and general brattiness.) I tracked the guy down last winter (ten years later!) and apologized.

c) I trusted someone else to do the books and handle huge aspects of my career as a musician, and I got fucked for it. It wasn’t anything personal. It was just incompetence all the way around the table. I learned from it, and I don’t know that I would change anything, but it took me eight years to dig myself out.

2. At the current moment, who has the most influence in your life?

My lovely and gentle wife. The collective will of my new band is important to me, too, but it’s a distant second place. My folks and step-folks get smarter and smarter the older I get, too…

3. If you were given a time machine that functioned, and you were allowed to only pick up to five people to dine with, who would you pick?

-My paternal grandfather (He died before I really knew him, but I think he was a lot like Mark Twain, if my memory serves me…)
-George Orwell (he’d have to make the tea. He’s kind of picky.)
-Ernesto Che Guevera
-Audrey Hepburn (she sits next to me.)
-Don Pablo Neruda

Hm… Looking at this list, I can’t help it… other than Ms. Hepburn, I feel like this is a real sausage party. I wouldn’t mind adding Simone de Beauvoir, Frida Kahlo, Dorothy Parker and Marla Ruzicka.

4. If you had three wishes that were not supernatural, what would they be?

I want my old dog‘s passage into the next world to be painless. He’s old and it’s about time to let him go. I don’t want him to be afraid or sad.
I want the Iraq war to end, end soon and end well. (Yeah, I know, fat fucking chance.)
I want America to be the greatest nation on earth again. I want us to lead the world in Justice, peacemaking, exporting of technology, doctors, fairness and TRUE democracy.

5. Someone is visiting your hometown/place where you live at the moment. Name two things you regret your city not having, and two things people should avoid.

Two things it’s a shame we don’t have:
1. a Vietnamese (or dim sum) restaurant.
2. a theater like the Springer.

AVOIDAVOIDAVOID:
1. Football game days at UGA. Good lord, what a seething mass of idiot flesh.
2. If you’re not used to serious heat and humidity, August as a whole should be avoided.

6. Name one event that has changed your life.

I am a human ping pong ball. Breakfast can change my life.

OH! OK, here’s one- when I was 20, I was dating a woman who became pregnant. She promptly left me. My life pitched headlong into chaos, depression and guilt. I dropped out of school and ended up homeless and sleeping on couches as I beat myself up for 1. not having the foresight to prevent an accidental pregnancy, 2. being unable to provide for this woman and child, and 3. being “unworthy” of her love and fealty. (Look, I was 20.) Eighteen or so months later, I discovered that the child wasn’t mine. Those eighteen months were the wake-up call that I wasn’t as special or different as my folks had told me, that life was going to happen to me on life’s terms and that there was a lot of shit that I couldn’t control. It was the hardest year and a half of my life, and I think that’s when I did the most growing up in the least amount of time of my adult life.

7. Tag 5 people.

Shakespeare’s Sister, Amber, my brother (who will have to answer in the comments), e p o n y m o u s, Travis (♀).