Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Things we like: The Local Taco

I was just looking on the web for a photo to go with this post (by Emma R., from Yelp) and found some of the usual “mixed reviews”—I’ve chosen however to pay no attention to any voice but my own hungry, happy one on this subject. The Local Taco, on Murphy Road in Nashville has been one of my favorites ever since they first opened back in May of this year. It only seems to be getting better.

Happily ran into my friends Richard and Liz McLaurin and their sweet boys Andy and Sam Henry last time I was in town. It was Halloween and the Andy was Superman and Sam was Max, from Where the Wild Things Are.

Just got back from another foray. Two Korean, two Southern Fried. Lemon-Lime Jarrito. Oh, my goodness. And the smell of freshly squeezed lime on your fingers all the while. Exquisite.

They’ve done a nice job of closing in and heating the patio for the winter. I like sitting out there. Not as loud. Every time I come back to town, Local Taco is a destination. Wish them much success, that location has never worked too well for anybody before, but looks like they’re doing it right.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Did Mo Willems predict the “swine flu”?

Mighty curious.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dark times in Mayberry

(When the worst they ever had to deal with were the shenanigans of Ernest T. Bass and the mysteries of dating women, I doubt Ang and Barn could ever have imagined a distraught ex-convict Hispanic feller killing four folks right there in the heart of Mayberry. Bet they also never woulda thought the old NRA would make it so easy for said feller to get him a gun that should have only been used for heavy law-enforcement or all-out warfare...hell, Barney never even got to put his one bullet in the gun, unless things were pretty damned serious)

Excerpt from Yahoo news, full story here.

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. – A soured love affair may have led an ex-convict to gun down four men in the town that inspired the idyllic community of Mayberry on the 1960s TV series “The Andy Griffith Show,” police said Monday.

Marcos Chavez Gonzalez, 29, was charged with four counts of murder in the slayings late Sunday outside a television store in Mount Airy, about 100 miles north of Charlotte.

The four were shot with a high-powered assault rifle outside Wood's TV, in the shadow of a water tower that says “Welcome to Mount Airy” and has a picture of Griffith and Opie, his son on the show.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Things we like: The Bats

In case you thought New Zealand popular music began and ended with Split Enz and Crowded House, do yourself a favor and discover The Bats (and while you’re at it another enormously prolific NZ band, The Clean)

Been digging The Bats out again after recently getting a German release on eMusic called “At the National Grid.” They owe a great debt to Brian Eno’s pop records. Who doesn’t? Beautiful, jangly folk-ish pop. Also remember mid-80s enjoying the EP “Daddy’s Highway”—which contained “North by North” one of their “hits.”

Robert Scott is a sometimes member of both The Bats AND The Clean (and a few others—the sum of which has probably always made The Bats’ career suffer a bit).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

R.I.P. Milton Supman

A.K.A. Soupy Sales...I don’t really remember the crazy “Soupy Sales Show” he did in New York, where he once got in trouble for asking children to mail him the pieces of green paper in their mother’s purses with the president’s pictures on them, whose wacky antics probably inspired the future Peewee Herman. I remember him mostly from my childhood as a funny regular on “What’s My Line?”—later as the father of Hunt and Tony, who with Reeves Gabrels...oh, and this guy David Bowie, were the band Tin Machine.

(A band I’ve always loved, despite much negative nattering from many a devoted Bowie fan. It was Bowie being a guy fronting a band, not “being Bowie”—I think he relished it...but I digress)

Sales was a funny man. A man who could take a pie in the face and still retain his dignity. Not a lot of pie-in-the-face men today. Not an awful lot of dignity either.

Goodnight Soupy, we’ll miss you more than we know.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Used to go out on these frequent photo safaris with my old buddy Dan Brawner. Maybe start out with a nice diner breakfast, then off in search of any old funny thing, but the quarry was usually these changeable-message church signs. Finding a good one was a feeling akin to being a kid on Christmas morning.

Most of the earlier ones are on B&W film. Remember film, kids? Haven't been on many of these outings since life’s gone so overwhelmingly digital. Still get excited when I see one of the signs from a distance, hopeful that it’s a “good” one (they’re not all created equal, we always theorized that there was some central network, maybe even a website, that had stock ones. The best ones are clearly topical and the writing home-made).

Have recently started carrying my lovely new Canon G-10 almost always, but especially when I’m on trips, for just this sort of thing. Back to my favorite place to shoot...the street.

This one was in Newton, a small Illinois town, on the way back from Chicago last week. Not a particularly great one, but it’s a start back to a happy, familiar, lost place. Dan?

Monday, August 10, 2009

To stop you.

I may have posted this ages ago. Just re-did the digital version of it. My sister chose the original as her Christmas present this last year. Excellent choice, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Things we like—6th Annual Sock Monkey Madness Festival.

Who could resist such an event? More here. Much as I’ve loved sock monkeys for ages, I did not know many specifics about their origins. (Photo by Thomas H. Durand, who as far as I know, has no affiliation with the SMM Festival...just liked his picture)

“The Nelson Knitting Company of Rockford manufactured and sold Rockford Red Heel work socks from 1932 to 1992 which were used starting in the Great Depression to create a folk art sock monkey stuffed toy. Aware of the sock monkey craze, Nelson Knitting included the sock monkey doll pattern with each pair of Rockford Red Heel Socks sold starting in the early 1950's. In recent years, the sock monkey has gained a come back and is sold in department and specialty stores world wide. However, the interest in creating a uniquely American handmade doll from Rockford Red Heel Socks is still around to this day.The Nelson Knitting Company of Rockford manufactured and sold Rockford Red Heel work socks from 1932 to 1992 which were used starting in the Great Depression to create a folk art sock monkey stuffed toy. Aware of the sock monkey craze, Nelson Knitting included the sock monkey doll pattern with each pair of Rockford Red Heel Socks sold starting in the early 1950's. In recent years, the sock monkey has gained a come back and is sold in department and specialty stores world wide. However, the interest in creating a uniquely American handmade doll from Rockford Red Heel Socks is still around to this day.”

Watermelons make nice hats?

Crazy-ass sports fans... Man, this makes my head itch just looking at it. From a nice slideshow of Pics of the Week from MSNBC here. Courtesy of my buddy, Brandt.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Just when you thought typing “Obama naked with unicorns” into Google was the most ridiculous thing you’d ever heard...

I don’t really know what to say about these, Check out the whole lot of ’em here. Seen below is my fave with Stalin and Hugh Laurie as “House.” (??) Something about the health care debate, I’m guessing.

Thanks to my buddy J.D., who posted this on FB this morning, from somewhere on his tour of the outer fringes of the art blog-o-sphere.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Milkmaid’s peroxide sadness.

Found the background in an old book, Somebody’s hair-dying notes from beauty school.

Friday, July 17, 2009

And THAT’S the way it is...

Uncle Walter Cronkite dead today at 92. I remember watching That Vietnam Show on TV as a kid, and how people respected and trusted this somber, serious man and the few like him (Edward R. Murrow comes to mind). I raise an Irish toast, “Here’s to us...who’s like us?...damn few...and they’re all dead.” R.I.P.

Odd little bit of trivia, Cronkite was once in a play with Eli Wallach and Ann Sheridan, who were his college classmates at UT Austin.

Extra! Clear shot!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Alaskan roulette.

From, by Zina Saunders.

Friday, July 3, 2009

NO! (for Virginia)

Santa Claus, is there a Virginia? I don’t remember...there was a lovely undergrad girl named Virginia that I had a little crush on in school at Syracuse. No idea what happened to her. Lost in the stream.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Nude hiking.

Google wisdom:
• “Mark Sanford” + “2012 frontrunner” = 270 results
• “Mark Sanford” + “Nude hiking” = 3140 results

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

Looks like it’s finally going to be SENATOR Al Franken! Thanks to Norm Coleman for finally salvaging what was left of his dignity and conceding.

I’m not sure if I would really want to be part of the hypocritical mess that is our nation’s governance, but I hope Al does us all proud. At least the ones of us with a sense of humor still intact. (Any takers in the G.O.P.?) Even the non-Minnesotans among us.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pictures for sad children.

My buddy Chris Lee posted a comic from this site on FB this morning. Had never heard of it. It is really hilarious in a very low-key way.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

At last I am myself (again).

More recent-ish collage. This one’s still for sale at Sera Davis’ gallery The Showroom in Nashville from a show there a while back.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Things we love: Maira Kalman.

Have I said this before? Well, can’t say it enough. Maira’s a rare and beautiful creature, we’re all better for her being here. Her eyes are always and fearlessly open.

I shamefully admit to only keeping up with her fabulous NYT blog sporadically, but a friend posted an entry on Facebook today, and I will endeavor to do better.

Her husband Tibor’s puckish spirit is still an inspiration nearly ten years after his passing.

If I’ve never personally recommended her book The Principles of Uncertainty to you, let me do that now. Find and BUY it here. I do NOT get a commission. If it goes out of print, and you don’t have a copy, you will be sad...and I will be sad for you.

Also, look for her illustrated Elements of Style (yes the drab, if useful, Strunk and White writing reference book), her lovely children’s books, esp. the ones about Max and Pete.

Viva Maira Kalman! Thank you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I see the danger.

Another relatively new one.
Getting back in touch with my Marvel Comics childhood.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ceci n’est pas une pipe.

Some (Relatively) New Collage.
Haven’t published any in a while. Poppa needs a new scanner.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Electric Banjoland

My buddy Rob posted this on Facebook. Is it legit? Is it photoshopped? Does it matter? Foxy Appalachian...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jay Bennett.

Sad. Damn. 45 years old...
A lot of the genius behind Wilco.

Thursday, April 30, 2009


If you like vinyl LPs, people, and photographs then you should enjoy this site. Was hipped to it today by my friend Aaron, via Facebook. This is the kind of stuff this crazy interweb oughtta be used for!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Duke.

Today is the 110th birthday of Mr. Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington. One of our greatest. Heard a nice piece on NPR about there being a special run today in New York of an antique “A” train, with the present day Ellington Orchestra on board playing. That must have been exciting.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stop being a dick, Cheney.

“Now our reputation is shot, we are bankrupt, we continue to fight two wars that you started and the economy is in the worst recession since the Great Depression. And you have the temerity to go around criticizing those who replaced you? How dare you?”

Seriously, Mr. ex-VP, we’re ALL in this...even you. Play nice or go home.
From CNN’s Jack Cafferty. The rest Here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pun for the Ages.

My buddy Brandt sent me this Joseph Tartakovsky article today from the NY Times. Very funny stuff...or should I say very punny?

THE inglorious pun! Dryden called it the “lowest and most groveling kind of wit.” To Ambrose Bierce it was a “form of wit to which wise men stoop and fools aspire.” Universal experience confirms the adage that puns don’t make us laugh, but groan. It is said that Caligula ordered an actor to be roasted alive for a bad pun. (Some believe he was inclined to extremes.)

Read the whole article here. Illustration by Craig Damrauer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

St. Barack.

Do you think Reuters shooter Jason Reed could have been oblivious to the Renaissance Saint-ness of this photo of Obama? Complete with gold-leaf halo. Isn’t there enough pressure on the man already?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wotta Rube.

Hadn’t really thought about Rube Goldberg in a while, but my friend Heather posted something on Facebook today that made me think “good golly, what if Rube Goldberg had a good flash animator at his disposal!” See that item here.

See more of the original Rube here. What an amazingly inventive guy. His name has actually acquired noun status in Webster’s New World Dictionary: “A comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation.” I remember looking at his machines for hours as a kid.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Aaaaah-shoe! Bless you.

Unveiled in Tikrit, and hurriedly/embarrassedly removed by authorities—a giant-sized model of the shoe of a certain journalist, thrown at a certain ex-President. Well-thrown...and well-dodged. ’Nuff said.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rabbit at Rest, 1932-2009

Sad to find out that John Updike died on Tuesday. I’m remembering seeing him speak at the Nashville Public Library in November of 2006, when the NPL gave Updike their Literary Award.

I don’t know if he knew lung cancer was taking him then, if he did, it didn’t show. What a lovely man, a writer who lived to write and wrote for readers. Seemed to often have the certain kind of smile on his face of a man laughing at his own joke. New Yorker cartoonist extraordinaire George Booth struck me much the same way, when I met him as a grad student in the mid-80s—showing panel after panel and breathlessly chuckling to himself, much the way you would expect one of his classic cartoon dogs to laugh.

Read his NY Times obit here. Don’t miss the “Conversation With John Updike” video segment.

Updike wrote more than 50 books, won two Pulitzers, and two National Book Awards. But after all these years—publishing his first story with them in 1955—he was still writing book reviews and short stories for the New Yorker, one of the things in which I think he took the most pride.

“I would write ads for deodorants or labels for catsup bottles, if I had to,” he told The Paris Review in 1967. “The miracle of turning inklings into thoughts and thoughts into words and words into metal and print and ink never palls for me.”

Monday, January 26, 2009

Things we like: Kane Welch Kaplin

Went and saw Nashville friends Kane Welch Kaplin over at Southeastern Illinois College yesterday. They were at their usual understated, brilliant best. Hadn’t seen Kieran in a month of Sundays. Fats and Kristi are around here some, because they have a house over in Southern Illinois somewhere. Good little venue, if you ever find yourself in that part of the state, in need of some entertaining.

Catch ’em if you can! (Although they’re headed to Australia for over a month soon, but tell all your kangaroo friends) Tour info etc on the boys (and Mike Henderson, Tammy Rogers and others) at

The records are all MIGHTY fine and available through most of the usual outlets for music purchase. The new one is even on eMusic, which has been my choice for music for the last few years.

Fats (and Kristi!) have their own fine swag available on their site I got a copy of Fats’ Hatch Showprint-printed solo record “The Fatman Cometh” at the show. Apparently not many left!

OK, so I find the term “supergroup” in general a bit—what is it I’m looking for, supercilious?—but here’s a nice blurp from the Irish press:
“In those three surnames there lies a serious bundle of talent. Kieran Kane is among the greatest living minimalists in Americana music, Kevin Welch is a master of the story song, and Fats Kaplin is the kind of sensitive multi-instrumentalist of whom songwriters dream. Ah yes, a supergroup.”
The Irish Times

PS—Fats has an excellent new album I got at the show called FATS KAPLIN’S WORLD OF WONDER. I think he just made a limited quantity to take to Australia, but track it down through his website. I hadn’t listened to it yesterday when I wrote the rest of this. Damn, it’s tasty!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

When doody calls...

Wow, talk about yer sublime to the ridiculous. Last post about the inauguration, hope for the future, etc. This I found looking for something else entirely unrelated (I promise) on

I’m not making this up...the “When doody calls poop costume” is offered here, for a mere $59.99! In case you are one of the multitudes who has wondered how you could successfully dress as a human-sized turd this next halloween.

Can’t say I’ve ever come close to even THINKING about dressing as a turd for Halloween, but you know, it takes a lot of people to make a village...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

High office at a low moment.

A few of my favorite things from the inauguration (other than the simple fact of inaugurating a President I can be proud of):

Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and company, performing a John Williams piece that found Williams being his best Aaron Copland.

The Queen of Soul and her Magical Giant Bowed Hat.

Dr. Joseph Lowery’s benediction (in its entirety here). After the man helped co-lead the Montgomery bus boycott, after he led the Selma March at King’s request, after working close to the dreams of Dr. King then watching him be gunned down. The man still has crystal perspective and an astonishing sense of humor about him. May the red man get ahead, man...

The attendance of 105 year old Clevelander, Ella Mae Johnson, whose sentiment about Obama I share: “My hope for him is my hope for the country. If he fails, the country fails.” She was at Fisk in the 1920s when W.E.B DuBois spoke there. She got her masters in social work in 1929 from what is now Case Western, but couldn’t live on the campus because of her race. Good NPR story on her here.

After much past—and continuing—darkness (no pun intended) about race in this country, I believe that it says a great thing about us all that a man whose family’s racial mix would have resulted in a hard time being seated in restaurants or housed in hotels in this country around the time when he was born, has grown up to be elected—in a landslide—the 44th President of these United States.

God bless him in the enormous task ahead. And may we all be encouraged to pitch in and shout out, rather than standing back and watching feeling dumbstruck and powerless as we have much of the last eight years. Could we ever believe in a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” again? Let’s hope the fact that Obama accepted his party’s nomination in Springfield, Illinois and was sworn in using the very bible that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in with 147 year ago will be far more than empty symbolism.

Let’s hope!

Monday, January 19, 2009

R.I.P. Number Six.

Patrick McGoohan, co-creator and star of the great 60s cult TV classic THE PRISONER, dead in Los Angeles at 80.

Film critic David Thomson (from a NPR Morning Edition piece here):

“It was an extraordinary show, which I think led the showing just how powerful, how profound a TV series could be. I think it’s still breathtaking,” Thomson says. “It’s as if James Bond material had been given to Harold Pinter to write, to some extraordinary, surreal designer to design and Hitchcock to direct.”

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Four Stooges.

Stooges guitarist Scott Asheton was found dead in his house today, of apparent natural causes at 60. I guess there are two of the original Stooges left. Iggy and Ron’s brother, Scott. Seems like the bass player died a few years back, can’t remember his name.

Says something funny about the median age of the NPR listener that they played a snippet of “Search and Destroy” as the piece faded smoothly into some kind of Prudential retirement ad. American punk rawk moves into the elder hostel.