Thursday, January 29, 2004

Downtown goes to Buckhead ... so Buckhead goes Downtown

There was a story in the AJC this morning about the city of Atlanta's plan to bring Buckhead bars to Underground Atlanta. Turns out there's a loophole in the new closing-time (2:30 last call, 3:00 close) that allows bars at Underground to serve until 4:00 a.m., and now the city has a grand plan to make Underground the central "entertainment district."

The story says there are at least 5 Buckhead bars which have signed up to either move to or open new locations at Underground. Those are Mako's, Masquerade, Tongue & Groove, Loca Luna and Black Bear Tavern.

According to the story, "Underground management invited those clubs because they have reputations for being well-run establishments that do not have histories of attracting crime, city officials said."

It goes on: "Buckhead's troubles were in part associated with hip-hop clubs. So far no hip-hop clubs are included in Underground's new lineup. But [Councilman] Willis said he is courting reputable hip-hop club operators."

OK, let me get this straight. Buckhead, Atlanta's most affluent neighborhood, has a problem with out-of-control hip-hop clubs and their non-Buckhead patrons (the shooter and his two victims in the Club Chaos incident last year were all from New York).

And Downtown, which - by definition - should appeal to the "urban" types, is trying to attract bar patrons.

So the solution is to get the "white" clubs in Buckhead to open locations at Underground and let the hip-hop clubs which city officials say they don't want at Underground to remain open in Buckhead?


The AJC piece goes on to say that Underground makes a perfect "entertainment district" because entry to the indoor complex can be easily controlled, reducing the chance of unmanageable crowds, and that Downtown's "maze of one-way streets should deter the cruising traffic that has plagued Buckhead on weekend nights."

Again, the uncontrolled crowds and cruising comes from the hip-hop clubs, not the kinds of places the city has signed to open at Underground.

What, exactly, is the city's end game here? Obviously, they want Underground to become popular, because the city owns the place. And it's obvious that they want to keep out the kind of establishments that have ruined Buckhead (and as landlord, the city has that ability).

If their plan works, Underground will become a thriving, safe party district full of only "reputable" clubs. But what about Buckhead? The places like Chaos (and their clientele) aren't welcome at Underground, but they apparently can stay in Buckhead. And if Tongue & Groove's Underground location is a big hit, might not the club cut its losses in Buckhead and close shop there? That would open up one more space for a hip-hop club, bringing even more crowds and cruising, and helping chase out other "reputable" clubs. Rinse, repeat ... and what does Buckhead look like in 10 years?

It seems like a huge conflict of interest when the city has a financial stake in Underground and appears to be favoring its own bottom line over the safety and quality of life for Buckhead residents.

Here's a shocker

This man (on right) has heart trouble

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The mighty Kinchen

Now that we're smack-dab in the middle of Super Bowl Week, the game (and surrounding hoopla) is beginning to draw my attention.

So far, a lot of the human-interest hype has centered - rightfully so - on Panthers QB Jake Delhomme. Jake is the Kurt Warner of 2003, having come from nowhere to lead his team to the Super Bowl. And, as a bonus, Jake's from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana and played college ball for the Ragin' Cajuns of USL. I can already hear the Zydeco music and see the big pot of crawfish the Super Bowl producers will no doubt use to "color the package."

I really hope, however, that the Super Bowl producers took the time to drive an hour east to Baton Rouge to uncover a great Super Bowl story of a different sort; that of Patriots long-snapper Brian Kinchen.

A feature story on the long-snapper? Hold on a second, Sparky. There's a great story here.

I'll admit I was completely unaware of this story until I read a piece this week in The Advocate (The Baton Rouge daily, not the national gay newspaper).

Here's how the story goes:

Brian Kinchen, a standout for LSU back in the 1980s, is part of a lengendary Louisiana football family. His dad, Gus, played on LSU's first national championship team in 1958, and Brian and his little brother Todd grew up in Baton Rouge dreaming of being Tigers someday. Brian played tight end for the Tigers in the mid-1980s and Todd played wide receiver in the early-1990s.

Both brothers went on to play in the NFL, with Todd spending 8 years in the league and making it to the Super Bowl with - unfortunately - the Atlanta Falcons.

Brian spent 13 years in the NFL, retiring after the 2000 season. That season was spent, ironically, with the Carolina Panthers.

Brian returned to Baton Rouge, played some celebrity golf events, and began coaching the middle-school football team at Parkview Baptist School. Last fall he began teaching Bible class to 7th-graders at Parkview.

Then, in mid-December, he got a call from the New England Patriots. Seems the Pats had lost both of their long snappers, and New England coach Bill Belichick - for whom Kinchen long-snapped years ago in Cleveland - suggested the team dial Brian up.

Fortunately, the 38-year-old Kinchen is a workout nut and was still in reasonable physical condition after being out of the game for three years. Still, the story goes, he struggled with the decision whether to leave his family and students to try out as the new Patriots long-snapper.

He talked it over with his class, and the kids responded - in effect - "Are you fucking kidding?? Jesus, you have to do this!!" [note: it is highly unlikely that the 7th-grade Bible class at Parkview would use such language].

So he went up to Foxboro, landed the gig, snapped without error during the playoffs and now finds himself in the Super Bowl Sunday. And it's not like he's a bench jockey. He's the long-snapper, meaning he's in the game for every New England punt, field goal and extra point, playing a key role in that whole "snap, hold, kick" thing.

Six weeks ago, Kinchen was teaching the little kids about Jesus, and now he's in the Super Bowl. Yes, it sounds like a Dennis Quaid movie ("The Rookie", to be exact). But it's still a hell of a story. I hope CBS gets around to telling it.

As for my game prediction, I have to go with New England. Any team with 4 former Tigers (Rohan Davey, Kevin Faulk and Jarvis Green in addition to Kinchen), has to be the favorite.

In fairness to my UGA friends, I will note that the SEC runner-up has the most (5) former players in the Super Bowl this year. Patrick Pass & Richard Seymour on the Patriots and John Kasey, Jermaine Wiggins & Will Witherspoon for the Panthers.

USC, it should be noted, has only 3 players in the Super Bowl. The Associated Press is expected to name the Trojans the "Champions of putting former players in Super Bowl XXXVIII" on Saturday.

Tuesday in the 'hood

Tuesday night trivia at the Universal Joint in Oakhurst has become a semi-regular thing for me and a group of guys I worked with back in my Evil Empire days.

The U-Joint, if you don't know, is a hip little neighborhood bar that used to be a service station (Universal Joint = car part, you see). It's owned by the husband of another Evil Empire alum, thus leading to our team name of "Guys Doing Brenda*" (her husband Langston* runs trivia night). It's a good time because Langston pulls some wacky shit together for his questions.

So last night it was myself, Big Ed, P. Diddy, The WB, Jimmy Show and Encyclopedia Brown comprising the Brenda Doers.

We overcame some missteps (Kansas, not Illinois, is named for the "south wind people", Johnny Unitas also played for the Chargers, not the Steelers) to pull out the victory. The keys were our knowing that Hank Williams referenced a pirogue in "Jambalaya" (hey, I grew up in Louisiana) and that an urban legend said Mr. Green Jeans was the father of Frank Zappa. On both those questions, we had the only correct answers and they were in the hands of Langston before he could even finish asking the questions. After that, there was no question that we had the "Joementum".

Encyclopedia Brown also pulled the name of Barney Fife's never-seen girlfriend (Juanita) out of the deep recesses of his mind, and I think we were the only ones to get that right.

It was our first-ever win, grabbing us $30 in house cash to help offset the big bill we'd run up. Seems, however, that the top prize used to be $50 ...

And by the end of the night, we'd attracted the attention of this 26-year-old girl sitting next to us with her boyfriend. We had suspected them of lifting our answers during the game, which led E.B. to cast a lot of evil looks their way. But by the time the (optional) big bonus question came around, she was over at our table being all sweet and 26, trying to find out if she should turn in her answers for who the first 5 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame were. Considering the clue said they were elected in 1936 and her list included Joe DiMaggio (who began his major-league career in 1936) and Hank Aaron (who was born in 1934), we advised against turning it in.

* name changed to protect the innocent

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Worth at least 1,000 words ...

I mentioned a while back in my Fame, fortune and friends piece that one of the "famous" people I know is Bill Davis, founder and frontman of Dash Rip Rock. Dash, if you don't know, is Baton Rouge's most famous musical export since John Fred and The Playboys.

So every once in a while, I pop in to the Dash site to see what's up. Bill now has a Yahoo! Group that includes a bunch of photos through the years, and apart from the pics of Bill playing the Grand Ole Opry (seriously, he made the Opry) and last year's recording session with none other than Glenn Tilbrook (he's the frontman for Squeeze, in case you're not cool enough to know that), there was one very old picture that grabbed my attention:

It is, of course, a very early press photo of the band. Those of you (TCL, Scott) who had the pleasure of coming of age in Baton Rouge during the early/mid 1980s will notice that the man in the middle is none other than original DRR drummer F. Clarke Martty. Clarke was booted about 10 gigs in to the band's career in favor of the manic, over-energized and Church's Fried Chicken-stealing Fred LeBlanc (now heading Cowboy Mouth).

A simple press photo, but man does it touch on a lot of the history of Cap'n Ken.

First off, there's Dash Rip Rock themselves.

Allow me, if you will, to transport you back to Baton Rouge, Louisiana - circa 1984. During the early 1980s, the Baton Rouge music scene was potent and fun. A lot of people trace the origins of the B.R. scene to a single night - Monday, January 9, 1978 - when the Sex Pistols played The Kingfish.

The kids who saw the Pistols - and those who heard about the show - started buying punk records and forming bands of their own. By 1982, the scene included The Times, Harry Dog and The Fleas, The Shitdogs, Bobbo, Scooter and The Mopeds and The Human Rayz.

I started 1982 as a 14-year-old spoiled "rich" kid with no exposure to local music. I had discovered The Clash, Elvis Costello, The B-52s and Devo, but had no idea what was going on down the road near LSU. But a funny thing happened that year - we got poor. Quick. I'd tell you that story, but you wouldn't believe it.

But all of a sudden my family was poor, so we moved from our big house with a pool to a crappy little townhouse in a crappy part of town (still close to LSU, though). One day I walk out the front door and see the kid who lived across the walkway standing in his doorway playing electric guitar. The kid I met that day is Lee Barbier - currently in The Myrtles and now the elder statesman of the Baton Rouge rock scene.

Lee introduced me to a kid who lived across the street named Bobby Cook. Bobby's sister's boyfriend happened to be the frontman for The Times. So the first live club show I saw was The (U.S.) Times at The Chimes sometime in 1983.

Long story short(er), hanging out with Lee got me in to good, local music. Shows at the LSU Greek Theater and Oak Grove coupled with those times when we could sneak in to The Chimes exposed me to many of the aforementioned bands and all sorts of great, local music.

And it was in 1983 that Lee and I discovered rockabilly. Rank and File, The LeRoi Brothers, Jason and the Scorchers and The Beat Farmers (the only album I've every bought before ever hearing the band - they just looked so cool) became the foundation of our musical existence. Lee loved to swap out Hank Jr. tapes for The LeRoi Brothers at keg parties. Sometimes the rednecks noticed; sometimes they did not.

So when we heard that the guy from The Human Rayz was forming a rockabilly band with a guy from Scooter and The Mopeds, we were pumped. Lee and I (and a couple of other guys - maybe Scott?) left a party one Saturday night to go see Dash Rip Rock play their second gig ever. The audience consisted of us and Bill's Human Rayz bandmates. I think that's why he became friends with us.

Not long after, they played an outdoor gig at LSU's Oak Grove. I taped that show through a boombox I sat on top of our ice chest. I captured a very early version of "Marsupial" along with a dozen bad country covers and countless interjections of "Hey, want a beer?" followed by the sound of the boombox being moved, ice shuffling, etc. That tape is among my now-lost treasures.

The emergence of Dash Rip Rock was a turning point in my life. Not so much because of DRR themselves (although we'd see just about every gig they played in Baton Rouge), but because they made me obsessed with live music. At 16 and 17 years old, many of my weekends included shows at The Chimes, The Bayou or other venues around town.

Without DRR, I probably wouldn't have seen the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Jason and the Scorchers at the LSU Cotillion Ballroom. Or Mojo Nixon, The Georgia Satellites, The Flat Duo Jets or The Tailgators at The Chimes. Or The Beat Farmers at The Bayou. Or that amazing Mardi Gras show at Jimmy's in New Orleans (DRR, Hoodoo Gurus, The dBs, The Fleshtones). Or The Replacements or They Might Be Giants at Tipitina's. Or, for that matter, Rocket From the Crypt at Echo Lounge two years ago.

I don't listen to "mainstream" music. I hate commercial radio. The last arena concert I went to was The Police's on their Synchronicity tour. I like new, interesting music and I like seeing shows at clubs.

And the picture above represents that for me. It was the beginning of DRR, and it was the beginning of a great period of my life.

But also take a look at the backdrop of that photo. You'll notice the boys are in front of the "Old Colonel's Club," which was this great - but mostly unknown - bar tucked away under the Perkins Road overpass in Baton Rouge's garden district.

The Old Colonel's Club was where TCL and I went to watch the election night coverage of the 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial primary. That was the race that pitted then-Governor Buddy Roemer against Edwin Edwards and David Duke. Roemer finished 3rd, meaning the next governor of Louisiana would be either Edwards or Duke.

It was that night at the Old Colonel's Club that TCL and I decided we had to get out of Louisiana. I left about six months later. It took TCL a little longer, but we are now both happy and successful in Atlanta.

The Old Colonel's Club closed down sometime after I left the state. A few years later it would be opened as a restaurant owned by my sister and her husband. It also closed.

So, you see, the photo above represents not only the beginning of my life as a hipster music junkie, but also the end of my days as a prisoner of Louisiana.

"This space reserved for people who aren't handicapped, but who might otherwise find it less than convenient to park more than 4 spaces from the door"

I went up to Harry's Farmers Market at lunch today. Yes, despite the buyout by Whole Foods, there are still two (I think) Harry's left here in Atlanta.

Harry's was - and is - a wonderful place. Back when I lived in Roswell & Alpharetta, I was there all the time. I'd take friends and family there when they came up to visit. Love it.

That's not the point of this piece, though.

When I pulled up to the store today, there was a woman pulling out of a primo spot right up front. I started to swing in to it when I noticed the sign - "Parking for Senior Citizens".

Then I look at the empty spot next to it. "Parking for Expectant Mothers."

Across the row - "Parking for Customers with Children."

Well, f*ck me. I'm not old, I can't bear children and have yet to bring a little Cap'n into the world.

I didn't see a "Parking for People Just Going About Their Business" sign, but I assumed any of the 30 or so spots not reserved for the handicapped, the old, the pregnant or the yard-ape-laden were OK for me to use.

Of course, Harry's should be able to reserve parking for whomever they want. In my mind, if they want to have "Whites Only" parking, I think that should be within their rights. Obviously they think it's good for their business to cater to the old, pregnant and crumb-crusher-carrying customers with special treatment.

I'd like to suggest, however, a little modification. Up next to the store, they should have a "Parking for Customers with Children who Know how to Handle their Children in Public" sign and way, way in the back should be a "Parking for Customers with Children they Refuse to Control in Public" sign.

I could go along with that.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Nuzzle puzzle

I'm minding my own business today when I get an email from a fellow blogger I'll refer to as "Jake"*. It read:
"I can't believe none of us has blogged about the frequently run banner ad picture on all of our blogs that depicts a guy eating a girl's ass. It's been running for a good month now."
My initial, internal response was "qua?" Then I started wondering what Jake's been writing about to get Blogger to put such an ad on his site.

So I went to his site - nope, just Blogger text ads. I came to the Wisdom and only found only ads for Cajun Sausage (damn good site -, BTW).

I wrote back expressing my puzzlement. Jake writes back saying he's not sure what the ad is, but everybody at his office sees this ad, which appears to have something to do with R Kelly.

A quick aside on Jake's employer. It's a notoriously conservative and controlling place. Supposedly all emails are filtered and kicked back for having dirty words, and, as Jake said, they can't even pull up (he tried today). Yet he sees an ad for some R Kelly product that involves nuzzling a woman's rear end.

So then he sends me the ad image. Nope, never seen that before. It's for somebody supposedly selling the R Kelly sex video.

I ask the wife if she sees ads for buttnuzzle videos when she's on a blog. Nope. She suggests maybe there's some kind of SpyWare on Jake's PC and those of his officemates. Could be.

I get Jake and another friend of mine over there to confirm this is not a joke. They say it's not a joke; they really see this on all BlogSpot sites.

So the question - as a public service - is whether any of you see this ad when visiting C.K.H.W. or other BlogSpot sites.
My high personal ethics prevent me from dropping the image into the Wisdom, but if you want to see what we're talking about, click here.

* Name changed to protect the reputation of "Jake".

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Curb your enthusiasm

The wife and I (and friends) went to the Glenwood Park kickoff reception last night. It was hosted by the big cheese - Charles Brewer - himself and served as the official launch of home sales for the project.

For those of you who don't know about Glenwood Park, it's a project that's turning 28 acres of cement plant along I-20 just west of East Atlanta into a "new urban" mixed-use development. With Brewer - the founder of MindSpring and a passionate advocate for "new urban" development - leading the effort, the project has a ton of potential. It's the kind of thing that could change the way developers build intown neighborhoods for years to come.

The wife and I, of course, are not in the market for a new house. But we've followed Glenwood Park's development with a lot of interest, as it has the potential to create quite a buzz in the 'hood, give us more places to go eat, raise our property values, etc.

So we went to the reception to see the latest on the project and get an idea of how much the houses (single-family and townhomes) will run. We'd hoped prices would be high, again to help make our house look like a bargain and raise all of our property values. We also didn't want to see a better house than ours offered for the same or less money, as that would have sucked.

Brewer started his presentation with a little history lesson - a photo of good urban development, a photo of bad. And that was fine. Then it was a little bit about the site; where it's located, its history, etc. Still fine.

Then he launches in to the "what is important" segment of the program. Sidewalks are important, so here are pictures of sidewalks in London, Switzerland, Palo Alto, Chicago, and Midtown Atlanta. Street design is important, so here are pictures of streets in Charleston, Seaside, etc. Tree planters are important, so here are pictures ... you get the idea.

Alleys. Stoops. Gates. Pavers. Walls. Storefronts. Parks. Garage doors. Fences. Markets. Street furniture. All are important to Glenwood Park, and all came with four or five examples from cities around the world.

And then there were curbs. Oh, the curb. Brewer must have talked for 15 minutes about the curbs of Glenwood Park. He loved this one curb on King's Road in London, and went on about it for a few minutes. Tight curbs, you see, slow down traffic. And you can create tight curbs using about 10 different techniques, and Charlie had a photo for each one. He had a full photo essay showing his demonstration with the Atlanta fire department where they set up his proposed curb dimensions to see if the big fire truck could make the turn.

Those of you who dealt with Brewer back in the MindSpring days know he's not exactly the most dynamic public speaker. Couple his quiet, unenthusiastic style with a 90-minute lecture on good urban design, and it's amazing so many people stuck around until the end. Holding back the appetizers until he was done helped, I imagine.

After Charlie's voyage of discovery through the goods and bads of urban planning, he introduced the real estate agents, home builders and mortgage folks in attendance.

For the first phase of sales, there are just 15 single-family homes and 8 townhouses being offered. A smart move, I imagine, as demand (or at least interest) seems to be pretty strong considering the site is still basically a mud pit. And if you can establish a strong price for the first batch, it will create a baseline market price for the rest of the place.

Let the frenzy begin! The agents will be on site this weekend to take reservations on the 23 properties being offered. Only pre-qualified buyers, please. Monday morning they'll look over the reservations and solicit sealed bids for properties with more than one interested buyer.

As a point of reference for those who may be interested, here's an idea of pricing of this first phase. Please use this Glenwood Park map for your key.

The 5 homes at the southeast corner (light green along Glenwood Ave on the map) are priced from $399,900 to $439,900. I don't know how desirable these homes will be, as they face Glenwood (and the old ice cream cone factory - surely to disappear someday) and can't feel a whole lot like they're part of the neighborhood. They're being built by Capstone Partners, which builds really nice houses, though. Three bedrooms, probably in the 2,200 - 2,400 square feet range.

Houses on what have to be the primo land of Glenwood Park (because of the skyline views) are a bit pricier. Only three of them (on the right side of Hamilton Street - look below the "Special Area" on the map) are being offered. I don't know if the others have been sold or what. Skip the first two lots below the Special Area and the three in a row after it are being offered. Two are at $458,000 and one is $470,900. These are built by an outfit called Hedgewood, and I'm sure they'll be nice as well. The mack-daddy $470K model is still just a 3 bedroom (plus unfinished basement) and around 2,500 square feet total, though. Seems a tad pricey.

The other 7 single-family homes (across Hamilton Street on the map - the middle block) range from $389,900 to $488,000. And that $488K job is still just a 3 bedroom (with unfinished basement), and there's not a "bonus" office thingy or anything like that.

I think the townhouses being offered (behind the block I mentioned above, fronting Bartram Street) are the most intriguing properties in this bunch. They are designed to resemble east-coast brownstones with stoops and stairs out front. They have garages behind them and a spiffy courtyard (probably 15 feet by 25 feet) separating the house from the garage. There are three levels, including a loft-type third floor, and rooftop terrace that I imagine will have right nice views of downtown. The townhouses are right off of the main commercial block and close to the big park as well. They are also pricey - $347,000 - $388,000, but I think will be the most desirable places in Glenwood Park.

And then there's the aforementioned "Special Area". Charlie says the plan is to place a "mansion on a hill" on that land, but he's not sure yet what that means. It could be a "multi-family mansion" or something, but they want a signature building to sit on the most visible piece of property. It'll make a good target for the hoodies who live behind it to throw rocks at.

Charlie also mentioned (he didn't seem pleased about it) something about a community swimming pool, which to me seems way out of place in this kind of "new urban" development. I bet the real estate agents are telling him you have to have swim/tennis to attract the Alpharetta crowd. I hope he talks them out of that.

I was disappointed, but not surprised, that there was little talk of the commercial components of Glenwood Park. There will be shops and restaurants, I'm sure. And there will probably not be near enough parking. If done right, the commercial area of Glenwood Park will attract people from all around southeast Atlanta, and the plans show about 100 parking spots total (plus street parking for probably 50 cars).

Part of the project includes the west side of the Glenwood-Memorial Connector, however, and there will be shops and maybe parking over on that side.

So there. You're fully caught up on Glenwood Park. And you didn't have to watch Brewer's "Great Curbside Tree Planters of the Western World" slideshow. Lucky.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

A maple-flavored breakfast sausage by any other name would taste just as sweet

When I created my little "Jimmy Dean for America" button (left rail of the Wisdom), I didn't realize controversy was about to wrap Jimmy up like a pig in a blanket.

My button, of course, is a takeoff of Howard "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!" Dean's web buttons and was meant for nothing more than having a little fun at the expense of this particular asshat presidential candidate.

But this morning the news broke that Sara Lee Corp. - which owns Jimmy Dean sausage - will no longer be using Jimmy Dean as a spokesman for Jimmy Dean sausage.

A Sara Lee spokeswoman (her name is not Sara Lee, in case you were wondering) said "the brand was going in a new direction" that requires a different marketing approach, so they didn't renew Jimmy Dean's contract to market Jimmy Dean sausage.

A "new direction" ... for a product called "Jimmy Dean" sausage ... that doesn't include Jimmy Dean? OK. Can't wait to see the commercials for that.

Sara Lee, by the way, also owns the Rudy's Farm and Hillshire Farms sausage brands, so maybe they're not seeing a need to keep the JD brand out there as well.

I guess it's a good bonus of timing on my part that I have my little Jimmy Dean button on the site. Maybe I'll leave it up as a protest/tribute after Mr. Temper fades from the political scene. Of course, except for the fine maple-flavored Jimmy, I prefer Tennessee Pride (hot) sausage anyway.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Dude, where's my money?

A few months back, I wrote a piece looking at where the wife and I spend our money. So as I wrapped up the books for 2003, I thought it would be fun to take another look at the full year and see where all that money went.

Throw out taxes, mortgages, the Santa Fe loan and household bills, and here are the top 20 places our money went in 2003, in order of amount spent:

• ATM - yes, I hate dealing with cash, but it's just necessary sometimes.
• Kroger - Try as I might to avoid the Ghetto Kroger, it still finished first in the grocery department.
• Home Depot - Fixing up the old house and the condo, plus stuff bought from the new house make this not much of a surprise.
• Publix - If they ever put in self-serve checkouts, they'd pass Kroger for sure.
• Quik Trip - Ah, my blessed QT. If I'm not there at lunch getting gas, I'm sucking down sodas and those little taquito things.
• Gateway - The laptop I'm writing this on.
• The wife's mom - To care for the wife's granny when she was in Medicare flux. And you thought the Cap'n was heartless.
• Delta Air Lines - We flew them to NYC and L.A.
• - Dominated by the DVD recorder the wife got me for my birthday; we actually spent $0 with Mr. Bezos at Christmas this year.
• The wife's hair stylist - As I said before, looking that hot takes work.
• PetSmart - Care and feeding for the dogs, both Big Brown and Little Black.
• Shell Oil - The wife still prefers to get her gas at the station on Moreland so the Indians can flirt with her.
• Mattress King - All hail The Mattress King. The new house has an extra guest room, and thus an extra mattress (which is resting on the floor for now).
• Starbucks - OK, mock me. They make damned good iced lattes and iced chai.
• CVS - This was probably about half drugs/toiletries and half cash back. I hate ATM fees.
• Media Play - My favorite lunchtime hangout; around the corner from work. Replacing our PS2 drove spending up there.
• The pet sitter - Trips to NY, Vegas, L.A., NashVegas and Louisiana mean lots of petsitter time.
• Walgreens - The wife prefers the one on North and Piedmont to the CVS in Grant Park.
• The former owner of our house - For their breakfast table, other furniture and stuff we bought at their garage sale.
• Traders - Furniture from the hip EAtl shop.

That was fun, wasn't it? Now let's dig in to a category that's sure to reveal much about the Cap'n and wife. Where do we spend our dining dollars? This, of course, doesn't include most cash outlays at Hardee's and the like (love those new burgers), but I do still pull out the plastic whenever possible.

The top 10 places we spent dining dollars in '03:

• Starbucks - Would you believe we had 76 trips there in 2003? That's like a visit and a half per week. Excessive? Maybe.
• Six Feet Under - Now I feel better. We're supporting a great, new 'hood restaurant. Yea, us.
• Grant Central - Mostly ordered for pickup. Who needs delivery when you can go pick it up and have it 20 minutes after you order?
• Dakota Blue - This is how good a friend I am. This place ain't very good, but we've been three times with the E & K because a friend of theirs owns it. Half the total there came from one night of drinking overpriced and underpowered margaritas.
• Applebee's - Not quite as pathetic as it might seem. Three trips, all with the wife's family up in NashVegas. Twice we bought for the group, which raised its dollars-spent ranking.
• The Mad Platter - A NashVegas place that's way overpriced and way not so good. It actually wouldn't make the top 10 if not for the fact that they charged my credit card twice. Yes, we got paid back.
• The Earl - A staple for burgers and booze in the EAtl. Now that we're remembering not to order their very-bad queso dip, they may move down in the '04 rankings.
• Good News Cafe - Exclusively brunch trips to the only viable option in the EAtl now.
• Arby's - Because they take credit cards, Arby's is not only the one fast-food place to show up on the list, but they also get a lot of our quick-eating business ... because they take credit cards.
• Burrito Delight - Formerly Burrito Art, it's still a good bet for quick meals in EAtl.

Also in the payee-analysis section, let's see where the Cap'n and the wife spend our personal allowances. That's money we budget each month for us to spend on any damn thing we want.

The Cap'n's top 10: 1) The Flatiron (bourbons); 2) Burlington Coat Factory (a suit); 3) The New York Times (cancelled after Jayson Blair); 4) Nordstrom (mostly shoes from Nordstrom Rack); 5) The Gap (clothes); 6) Media Play (PS2 games, music, DVDs); 7) (mostly music); 8) Kenneth Cole (love that man's shoes); 9) Sirius (6-month subscription); 10) Chimes Textbook Exchange (LSU gear bought before Christmas).

The wife's top 10 (her motives are pretty clear): 1) JCrew; 2) Lerner; 3) The Gap; 4) Victoria's Secret; 5) Rich's; 6) Delia's; 7) Agnes & Muriels; 8) Burlington Coat Factory; 9) Circuit City (her Sirius docking thingy); 10) Urban Outfitters.

Finally, some random notes:

• Last year we spent money with 319 different entities (businesses, utilities, government agencies, individuals), not counting cash-only purchases.
• The world's biggest retailer - Wal-Mart - got exactly $150.25 from us in 2003, and $70 of that was for gift cards at Christmas. So we bought just $80.25 worth of stuff there, which may be the lowest amount of any household in America. That makes me feel good.
• By contrast, we spent $1,497.65 in East Atlanta Village (somewhat inflated last year by furniture purchases at Traders and the Antiques bazaar), and a total of $2,625.62 at independent businesses in EAtl, L5P and Grant Park (everything from Six Feet Under to Oxford Cleaners, but not including Starbucks). That also makes me feel good.

And despite the detailed analysis I'm able to pull out on spending, I'm not anal about finances, I swear. Microsoft Money makes it easy, and I've found that making and sticking to a spending plan is the key to having money rather than debt. And, OK, I think it's fun. I'll cop to that.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

It's just soooo hard to stay P.C.

The wife and I watched Food Network's new Dweezil & Lisa show this morning. Lisa Loeb, of course, is a cute little thing, and Dweezil - being Frank Zappa's kid and everything - should be a pretty cool dude as well. Who knows? It could be interesting, and I figured it worth 22 minutes of our time.

And the first episode was shot here in Atlanta. Bonus.

The show was marginally interesting, with the biggest problem being that Dweezil and Lisa are apparently not - in fact - cool and funky people.

About half of the show was spent with Emily Saliers at Watershed. That made sense, as the show is about musicians and food. But it provided one of those great moments where people get caught in the trap of political correctness.

During a bit on wine tasting, Dweezil asked if Emily's fancy wine would still taste good in a styrofoam cup. Emily, of course, shot back that nothing is good in a styrofoam cup, as styrofoam is evil, etc. Dweezil and Lisa, of course, wholeheartedly agreed that you never should use styrofoam.

Cut to a later scene at The Cotton Club. It's Dweezil's birthday, and Lisa had a big cake made up for the whole audience to share. So the club breaks out 200 big styrofoam cups to serve the cake in. OK, maybe it would have been bad form for Lisa to stop the party and demand the banishment of styrofoam cups.

But the next shot showed Lisa eating a piece of cake -- off a big styrofoam plate. If she's so opposed to styrofoam, why's she gonna use it?

I imagine Lisa's doesn't really think styrofoam is evil. I think Emily does, and the Indigo Girls' concert rider probably says "no styrofoam products". And that's fine. If you want to take a stance on something - no matter how misguided it is - more power to you.

Lisa probably figured she should just look appropriately P.C. by seconding Emily's statement about never using styrofoam.

And that's the trap. P.C. types want to seem, well, politically correct. Lisa could have just let Emily's styrofoam statement pass and go back to wine talk, but she felt it was her role as a Democrat, liberal, environmentalist or whatever to back Emily up.

Of course, if Lisa was smart, she'd have said "Hey, this is gonna be on TV, and I was ripping on styrofoam earlier. Get me a damned plastic plate!"

Friday, January 16, 2004

At least they're not taking up PVR space

There are certain movies I'm drawn to like a 22-year-old wanna-be-hippie college student to a Howard Dean Meet-Up. No matter how many times I've seen them, they suck me in whenever they come on HBO (or Cinemax or that one TMC channel we get).

And two of them were on tonight. One's a vastly under-rated film and one's an appropriately highly-rated masterpiece.

Under-rated: The Hudsucker Proxy. It was the Coen Brothers' 5th film and didn't make much of a splash in theaters. In the wake of Fargo and O' Brother, it's gotten a bit more attention, but it's still regarded as a lightweight film, seen by many critics as a simplistic story wrapped in a stylish package.

But it's the style that makes Hudsucker rock. No movie has done such a great job of capturing and mocking the big-company environment of the 1950s. Ignore the story if it seems simple. Dismiss Jennifer Jason Leigh's dead-on "fast-talking career gal" character as over the top. Even if you do that, scenes like the "they'll dock 'ya!" mailroom initiation and employment-office listing board, the montage of wheels in motion creating the Dingus and the fantastic 50s sets make it a genius film.

"You know ... for kids!"

Appropriately highly-rated: Pulp Fiction. OK, so chalk me up at the 105,372,387th person to hail Quentin's master work. But 10 years after its release, it still stands up as a great American movie. And 10 years after its release, it also stands as the best Quentin's shown he can do. If it was his peak, that's a pretty good way to top out.

There's a lot to praise about Pulp. The characters, the dialogue, the time-shifting, etc. But the most brilliant thing about the film to me is a simple but amazingly gutsy call by Quentin:

He made Travolta dance.

Nevermind that he alone is responsible for reviving the man's career. Tarantino did what a smart, brave director should do when you get John Travolta out of storage - make him dance. Problem is, if you make Travolta dance, and the scene doesn't work, you look like an idiot for trying. But Tarantino took a risk in casting Travolta, and he wasn't afraid to throw him up at Jackrabbit Slim's and make him do the twist. To me, that's brilliant.

So now it's 12:30 and I'm still up, watching Pulp Fiction and writing this. Butch is about to find out Fabienne forgot his watch.

Of course, I know what's going to happen, but I can't stop watching.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

God (doesn't) work in mysterious ways

The Atlanta news has been dominated over the past couple of days by this home-invasion / double-murder story from Lilburn. A beloved Tucker High School coach and his son (a student at the school) were shot by some fucknut who broke in to their house.

The only good news is that said fucknut was then shot and killed by police. (late-breaking development: the killer was the son of a woman who killed a preacher and her own mom in a Kirkwood church a few months back - odd).

I'm not so damn cold-hearted that I'm going to make light of the killings themselves, although I do want to tell the kids at Tucker High to try not to get quite this distraught - lots of open grief has been shown on the news - over a "tragedy" outside of your own family. Live a bit more of your life and you'll realize you should save some of your grief potential for the really bad things that are likely to impact you directly later on.

But there was one bit of the story that I can't let go unmocked. The night of the murders, the coach and his son had been at a wrestling meet in Athens. They got back from that about 10 and were killed at home an hour or so later.

Fox 5 interviewed a kid on the wrestling team who said everybody had been bitching about having to drive all the way out to Athens during the week for the meet. But now, in the wake of the killings, they were happy to have had that time with their coach and his son.

Fair enough.

But, as the kid put it, God must have arranged for the meet to happen so they could spend that final time together.

OK. So if God arranged this time together in advance of the murder, then God must have also known the murders were going to happen. And if God was able to make the meet happen, he could have also stopped the murders from happening. But, of course, he didn't.

Maybe the coach and his son weren't such good people, after all. Why else would God let them die? Or maybe God wanted the fucknut to die, and he'd been unable to get the guy in front of a train. Or maybe God wants to let the big things play out on their own, and feels just sorry enough for we humans to give us extra time with the doomed before the deal goes down.

A spokesman for God, pastor Mike Cash of the First UMC in Tucker, denied that his boss was involved in any way.

"It's a great tragedy ... I just want the kids to know this is not the will of God for things like this to happen," Cash told the AJC.

That's an odd statement for a Godservant. According to the "What We Believe" section of the Tucker First UMC's website, Cash's own church specifically believes:

• There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible.

So God is of infinite power and is the maker and preserver of all things ... except in this case?

• [God] is infinite in power, wisdom, justice, goodness and love, and rules with gracious regard for the well-being and salvation of men, to the glory of his name.

So except for at the coach's house Tuesday night, God uses this infinite justice to rule (graciously) for the well-being and salvation of men?

I suspect Cash "wants the kids to know this is not the will of God" because it's a very poor marketing tool (the Unique Selling Proposition for you marketing types) to say "yeah, God was behind this. I don't know why, but since God is the maker and preserver of all things both visible and invisible, he must have his reasons."

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

More sheriff, fewer Okies

I got a comment from JOK that the images rotating in at the top of C.K.H.W.'s left rail felt rather "Steinbeckian." As I'm going for "homespun" not "homeless", I've made the executive decision to take the shots of dustbowl Okies out and put images like my sheriff friend and the gas station dude into heavier rotation (the images refresh with each page reload, you see).

The images, by the way, were lifted from the Library of Congress' awesome American Memory collection. I also have a collection of old Atlanta photos from there that I plan to turn into [non-commercial, private use] art at the house.

Coming soon ... Kids Music - Uncut!

I heard a promo on Sirius this morning about their new comedy channel lineup. Seems the wife and I aren't the only ones who were somewhat surprised at the amount of filth being played on the service's one current comedy channel.

Now Sirius will have two comedy channels - Cracked Up Comedy ("hilarious programming for the whole family") and Raw Dog ("uncensored comic relief").

Don't get me wrong; I like filth. I think Robert Schimmel is one of the funniest guys out there, and his routines make Redd Foxx look like Bill Cosby. But some of the stuff on the current Sirius Comedy even make the Cap'n wonder what the hell they are doing.

There's a bit they play all the time about a sex show in Okinawa that's flat-out gross, and the wife asked me to change the stream on a trip back from NashVegas after hearing this lesbian sex/strap-on dildo routine that they also have in heavy rotation (I heard it again at lunch the other day).

Sirius doesn't really promote the fact that FCC rules don't apply to their own programming, but they sure do take advantage of it. The Club Pam show (Pam Anderson's weekly live show) is an F-bomb fest - especially when her very special man friend Kid Rock joins in, and a lot of their otherwise mundane talk shows seem to go out of their way to work the word "fuck" into the program.

But as their subscriber base grows (it's around 150,000 now), Sirius is going to come under more scrutiny from "pro-family" types, the auto makers baking Sirius functionality into their cars and, probably, the FCC.

Hopefully Tipper Gore won't get her Sirius subscription before January 19, when the bad stuff gets sectioned off into Raw Dog.

P.S. Raw Dog is a damned stupid name.

Monday, January 12, 2004

And YES!, please send me periodic updates about the war on terror from the U.S. government and our trusted partners

I needed an updated database driver for my PC today, so I went out to the net to fetch it. And in addition to the standard-type End User License Agreement, I was presented with these conditions to agree to before downloading:

• I am not a citizen, national or resident of, and am not under the control of, the government of: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, nor any other country to which the United States has prohibited export.

Yes, I'm a U.S. citizen and don't live in any of those places, but the whole under the control of smacks of an X-Files episode. How do I really know Fidel Castro isn't the one who let the Little Black Dog loose on my street for us to find and take in? God knows the wife and I are under the control of that little f*cker.

• I will not download or otherwise export or re-export the Programs, directly or indirectly, to the above mentioned countries nor to citizens, nationals or residents of those countries.

Man, that's a lot to avoid. I have to not export - or re-export directly or indirectly to people who may not live in those countries but who may just be from those places? Jeez. So if Samir from Sudan lives in New Jersey and hacks in to my PC looking for MP3s and ends up downloading this file, I go to jail?

• I am not listed on the United States Department of Treasury lists of Specially Designated Nationals, Specially Designated Terrorists, and Specially Designated Narcotic Traffickers, nor am I listed on the United States Department of Commerce Table of Denial Orders.

Um, I don't think I'm listed in any of those things, but can you ever be sure about something like that? I Googled the Specially Designated Nationals list and found no reference to Cap'n Ken among Usama, the Taliban, etc. (although I have to say it would be tempting to join The Horror Squadron if not for the software ban). Nor am I on the Specially Designated Nacotic Trafficker list (sneaking Maker's Mark into the Sugar Bowl past the Air Force MPs doesn't count, I guess) or in the Commerce Department's Table of Denial Orders. So I guess I'm clean there.

• I will not download or otherwise export or re-export the Programs, directly or indirectly, to persons on the above mentioned lists.

Now I have to keep updated copies of those lists on me?? Jesus. I think I'd get a clue if the vice president of The World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders came up and wanted to borrow my database driver, but I'm supposed to know not to give it to the Atlanta branch manager for Technology and Development Group of London? That's a lot to ask, dude.

• I will not use the Programs for, and will not allow the Programs to be used for, any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, for the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction.

OK, assuming you're not Usama, the Taliban, The Horror Squadron, The World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders or Technology and Development Group of London, I can let you borrow my driver disk unless you want to use it to build a database of those marijuana plants you have growing in your basement?

Of course, I clicked the little "I Accept" box next to each of those conditions. But now I feel this huge responsibility to keep the database driver safe from terrorists.

I was tempted to click Continue with the box about the watch lists unchecked, but I got the feeling if I did that John Ashcroft would be waiting for me at my desk in the morning.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

A new look for the Wisdom

Now that I've had a full week to enjoy the glow of LSU's 2003 football national championship, it's time for the Wisdom to get itself a new look (too many of you believe this is a football blog.

So here it is. A homespun look for the Homespun Wisdom. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Rabbi Saban ... a damned sexy man

Nothing raises a person's profile like winning a national championship.

And this week, in the wake of LSU's domination of Oklahoma to win the 2003 NCAA football national championship, LSU head coach Nick Saban has a very high profile, not just among NFL owners, but also by web searchers who end up here at CKHW.

Since the first of the year, folks have made it to the Wisdom by searching on the following Saban queries:

• nick saban arab background
• hey nick saban
• nick saban is sexy
• nick saban AND jewish
• nick saban jewish
• Nick Saban Jewish
• is nick saban jewish
• Nick Saban sexy

I don't think Nick is arab; I'm not sure whether or not he's Jewish - and I wonder just a bit why that seems to matter to a good number of people - but he is damned sexy. He's the sexiest coach LSU has had since Paul Dietzel back in the 1958 season, in fact.

Here's a particularly sexy picture of Nick from the 2001 SEC Championship game:

Friday, January 09, 2004

Somewhere, Mr. Whipple is crying

For thousands of years, humans have struggled with a burden that is uniquely ours in the animal kingdom - wiping our asses after defecation.

But, at long last, ass wiping has met its technological match in the Jasmin Washlet toilet seat from crapper-making powerhouse TOTO.

I don't know how long the Jasmin has been on the market, but it was featured in a "house of the future" at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

TOTO bills the Jasmin as "the ultimate in luxury."

My idea of "luxury", however, has more to do with expensive cars, fine linens and gourmet foods than an automatic ass-washing toilet seat.

This from TOTO's product brochure:
To help you create the ambiance of a spa in your own private retreat, TOTO has created the Jasmin Washlet ... that takes luxury, comfort and hygiene to a whole new level.

Pamper yourself with Jasmin's gentle aerated front and rear warm water cleansing feature. Activated by a convenient remote control, the Jasmin allows you to adjust the water temperature, water pressure and the direction of the gentle aerated system.

The massage feature uses a gentle cycling action that alternates between front and rear washing for unparalled comfort.

Follow cleansing with a touch of a button for a mild air dry that can be adjusted to three temperatures. All while you relax on an inviting heated seat that can also be adjusted to the warmth you prefer.
So it not only washes and dries your ass, but also "massages" it? I think that's illegal in Georgia.

All of this "luxury" comes with a $1,200 price tag as well.

For more information, or to find an ass-washing toilet dealer near you, visit TOTO's Jasmin page

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Sugar Bowl wrapup

The wife did a fine job posting my called-in Bourbon Street reports (ala Charlie Arnold) Saturday night, but the trip down to see LSU win its first national championship in 45 years deserves a bit more attention. I was too wiped when we got home last night to get to the bloggin, so apologies for making all you loyal CKHW fans wait.

So TCL and I headed toward New Orleans Saturday morning. I think I helped Sirius sell another unit, as TCL was obsessed with the Blues stream.

The trip down was uneventful, and we made it in about 6 hours flat. Our LSU car flags didn't fare too well (I got mine at Albertson's, so I guess I should have expected that) at 85+, but it was good to get down in time for a late lunch. Food, of course, is a key ingredient of any trip to Louisiana, so that was Job 1.

Actually, it was Job 2. On the way to the restaurant - which I'll call "20-Minute Muffaletta" - we hit the closest daquiri shop. The south Louisiana daquiri-shop daquiri is one of the few non-bourbon drinks TCL and I actually seek out. Thirty-two ounces of 151 rum-infused slurpee makes for a swell afternoon.

So we grab the daquiri quarts and head over to wait 20 minutes for somebody to make us a muffaletta. We toted it home (the 20 minutes were well spent - it was gooooood), chowed down and killed the daquiris.

It took some time for our krewe to arrive - TCL's brother, his wife, another couple friend of TCL's little sister and her husband (with whom we were staying) and a big dude named Sam. We headed out around 6, I guess. TCL getting tossed out of Utopia at 8 (see the wife's post) kicked the night into high gear.

TCL and I ended up leaving the Quarter sometime around 12:30 (after leaving left the rest of the krewe behind) and spent some time at the Circle Bar up on St. Charles. I guess we got home around 2 or so. It may seem like an early night for New Orleans, but it included 10 hours of drinking on top of the 6-hour drive. I make no apologies.

We got up Sunday morning (I have a horrible affliction which prevents me from sleeping late after I've been drinking, so I was up at 8:30) and eventually went over to see our boy Dave and his wife & kids. We stopped off to get a poboy at Dolly's Deli near City Park. TCL spent the first half-hour of our Dolly's visit sleeping in the car. But after purging himself of the rest of Saturday's bad stuff, he bounced back.

An hour or so at Dave's and we headed back to Kenner and called a cab for our trip down to the Dome. The scene around the Superdome was wild, with LSU and Oklahoma fans all over the place (many more than the 79,000 who got inside).

After seeing the lines to get past security outside the Dome (a security perimeter was set up outside, so getting past security did not equal getting in the building), we decided we'd best start our entry process at about 5:15 (for a 7 p.m. game). Just over an hour later, it was our turn to empty our pockets and get a good wanding from a camo-clad member of the U.S. Air Force.

There was no way anybody was getting dangerous metal objects into the game. And, thankfully for the safety of the crowd, the plastic water bottles full of Maker's Mark we did sneak into the game were not full of the highly-flammable 101 Wild Turkey we left in my trunk.

Our bottles could have been filled with C-4, gasoline or other dangerous, non-metal stuff, and that would have been a problem if TCL and I were, in fact, terrorists. Of course, we are not, but we were forced to endure an hour's worth of wanding of other non-terrorists who also probably got into the game with contraband that happened to not be made of metal.

See, it's pointless. But you feel safer knowing I got that wanding, don't you?

So we get inside and sit down - smack dab in the middle of the Oklahoma section. And I mean SMACK DAB. But we actually enjoyed being in the midst of the OU crowd. I sang "Okie from Muscogee" during the OU alma mater, shouted "Boomer ... Esiason" along with their "Boomer ... Sooner" chant and generally (in a good-natured way) harassed the OU folks around us. And, as at the SEC Championship, we made $30 off a bet with a fan from the other side.

If you saw the game, you don't need me to explain it to you. And if you didn't see the game, you're not reading this anyway. I did, of course, see Jessica Simpson in the flesh. Our seats were not close enough to tell whether Jessica really was on Accutane, however.

And I have to say the Sooner fans were damn good fans. Passionate but friendly, unlike the jackass fans of Florida, Tennessee, Miami, etc. I had at least a dozen Sooner fans say "congratulations" throughout the night after the game.

When the game ended, we were - of course - pretty damn happy. I don't mind saying it was a pretty emotional thing watching my Tigers celebrate winning the national championship down on the field in front of us.

We finally made our way out of the Dome and waded into the unreal atmosphere Downtown. Thousands of LSU fans all feeling the same as TCL and I, heading toward the Quarter to celebrate in our city. High fives all around, joyous disbelief on many faces. I'd been trying to set up a place for us to hook up with Dave, his brother and another friend when I turned the corner from Canal Street to Bourbon Street and nearly ran right in to Dave his own self. Obviously, everything was going our way Sunday.

Another 2 hours or so of drinking and wandering, and we called it a night. Home by 2:30, in bed by 3. By about that time, the reality had set in. LSU, National Champions. Of football, even.

It would have been nice to not drive back to Atlanta on Monday, but we had no choice there. The trip back took about 90 minutes longer, thanks to a constant drizzle, more stops for food and pee breaks and my right-rear tire blowing out in a fabulous display of burning rubber in the middle of Alabama. Maybe the wife was right that I should have gotten that slow leak fixed before the trip.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Lee Corso ... right here, buddy

Good morning from New Orleans. LSU is the national champion. More on that later, but I'm compelled this morning to throw a big "bite me" out to ESPN's Lee Corso.

The first piece of last night's SportsCenter I saw this morning was Corso, in his infinite wisdom, saying with much confidence that there's no way LSU would have beaten USC (like it matters) unless - maybe - the game would have been played in New Orleans (which, of course, it would have been.)

Of course, Lee doesn't say a whole lot about why other than that USC would have been able to move the ball much better than Oklahoma.

Again, the humans just love USC. But let's look at a couple of facts here.

Even after being held to 102 yards passing, 52 yards rushing and 14 points, Oklahoma averaged 293 yards passing, 146 yards rushing and 42.9 points a game playing the 11th-toughest schedule in the NCAA (before the LSU game).

Even after putting up 342 yards passing, 68 yards rushing and 28 points on Michigan, USC averaged 291 yards passing, 101 yards rushing and 41.0 points a game playing the 37th-toughest schedule in the NCAA (before the Rose Bowl).

LSU, of course, shut down Oklahoma. Oklahoma, of course, is a better offensive team than USC. Oklahoma is also a better defensive team than USC.

But, of course, there's no way LSU beats USC. We beat the team that is, in fact, better than USC in every measurable category, but there's no way LSU beats USC.

In the words of the little Mormon kid who moved to South Park ... suck my balls, Lee.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Sugar Bowl Saturday Night

(*note: The Wife here. I'm proxy-blogging for the Cap'n, who is drunk on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and is calling periodically with updates for me to add to his blog. It may be a very long night. All times Central unless otherwise noted.)

8:07 p.m. We were thrown out of our first bar. TCL was talking about the bartender's big boobs. Now we're uptown ... something about beer specials...

(TCL was yelling in the background. From what I heard, he's pretty drunk too. I gave the Cap'n two instructions before sending him off this a.m. "No smooching" and "Don't get arrested." It's only 8 p.m. in New Orleans. I better go charge my cellphone and find an all night Western Union. Damn, what does it take to be the guys that get kicked out of a bar on Bourbon Street on Sugar Bowl weekend? Did I mention it's only 8 p.m.?)

9:54 p.m. TCL makes time with singer at Bourbon Street Blues Co. to no avail. We head back to Bourbon Street.

(There was some woohooing in the background, and something about a 50-year-old woman. I have no idea. I do take great comfort in the fact that the Cap'n is finding time to call his wife every hour. But we'll see how much comfort I'm taking in it when he calls at 4 a.m. from the Orleans Parish Prison. Next time he calls I'm giving him instructions for the audioblog.)

10:20 p.m. We find ourselves on a balcony on Bourbon Street, thanks to J's friend from St. Petersburg, who we spotted from the street.

(J is TCL's sister. She and her husband live in New Orleans, and they were gracious enough to house the Cap'n this weekend. Apparently they didn't realize her friend was in town. The spotting was a random coincidence. Astronomically random, judging from the webcam shots below. No yelling in the background this time. The Cap'n was calling from the bathroom. And turns out the free audioblog trial isn't working.)

10:40 p.m. We're asked to leave the balcony because we're not wanted here (translation: they're out of booze, so they OBVIOUSLY don't want us to stick around). TCL and I are branching out on our own.

(I have a sinking feeling the next call will be from jail.)

11:06 p.m. (I called the Cap'n to tell him that I'm crashing, and to leave any further drunken rants on my voicemail.)

We're at Mr B's* on Bourbon and Iberville. It's quite cool. I endorse it.

(*May have been Mr. P's or Mr. C's. It was a bit loud, especially with TCL shouting "this place fucking ROCKS!" in the background.)

12:02 a.m. Midnight in N.O. Our search for a bad strip bar unfulfilled. Lucky dogs at Bourbon and [unintelligible].

(That was the message waiting for me when I woke up this morning. But he didn't call the house line - our "in case of emergency, jail time, etc." plan - so I'm hoping that no news is good news.)

Friday, January 02, 2004

Sugar Bowl bound ...

Well, not until Saturday morning. But there won't be another blogging opportunity before TCL and I head out in the early a.m.

It's not possible to overstate how big this weekend is for LSU and Louisiana. Our first crack at a national championship in 45 years, and we get that chance at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. If you're not an LSU fan, you simply can't understand the size of this event.

Of the schools who still contend for national championships, we're among the teams suffering the longest without one. We share our frustrations with those of Saints fans, and that shared frustration multiplies the significance of this moment for LSU. Except for about 10,000 Tulane fans, the entire state of Louisiana pulls for LSU with an intensity as great as any in America.

The Louisiana culture is one of raucous celebration. And the epicenter of Louisiana Madness is New Orleans. The city was the wildest place in the U.S. long before MTV and Playboy turned Mardi Gras into Spring Break.

So, this weekend, the two collide. The Perfect Storm of people and place.

Within a two-hour drive of New Orleans are approximately 2.3 million LSU fans. Expect about half of them to be in New Orleans Sunday. Nevermind that the Superdome only holds 72,000 people. The biggest party of (most) years - Mardi Gras - happens on the streets of New Orleans and involves not much more than walking around and drinking. Louisianians are used to that. And they will come to New Orleans to walk around, drink, and watch the Sugar Bowl on TV.

TCL and myself will arrive in New Orleans tomorrow afternoon. We'll walk around and we'll drink until game time. We're among the fortunate 72,000 to have tickets, so we'll get to see LSU's biggest night in 45 years live.

I've linked to some live Bourbon Street webcams below, so look for us this weekend. I'll be the big guy with the beard; TCL is the one with the goatee.

Geaux Tigers!

Tricou House - Bourbon St. between St. Peter & Orleans

Corner of Bourbon & St. Peter streets

Bourbon Vieux Room - Bourbon St. at St. Louis St.

Mike Anderson's - Bourbon St. between Iberville and Bienville

Your browser has a "Refresh" button. Use it to "refresh" these cams.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

You can't always get what you want ...

So Michigan blew it in the Rose Bowl. It'll be a "split national championship." That's fine. It would have been nice to get a little clarity in this whole thing, but congrats to USC.

The Trojans proved themselves tonight against a very good Michigan squad in a huge game. There's no disputing they played like a premier NCAA team. And watching that game did make me want to see a USC / LSU matchup.

That said, the Trojans' domination of the Rose Bowl over Michigan still doesn't convince me the BCS got it wrong. The humans and the BCS formula disagreed on the No. 1 team, true, but that doesn't mean the humans were right. As I wrote before, USC got the No. 1 human ranking because of human factors - politics - in the polls. They were No. 2. ... No. 1 lost ... they won ... they become No. 1.

In the rarified air of top-5 rankings, humans don't look at factors beyond most recent rankings and game outcomes. If USC had squeaked by Oregon State and LSU had beaten Georgia 227 - 0, LSU wouldn't have passed USC in the human polls. That's just the politics of the system, and we all accept that.

Well, people need to accept the cold, hard facts of the BCS formula, too. It came out OU, LSU, USC because that's what the formula came up with. It's the correct and proper outcome this year.

The formula will be tweaked, I'm sure. There's talk of a rule that says if you don't win your conference, you can't play in the title game. I guess that's good news for USC, who plays in a weak conference with no title game.

I'll make this suggestion: Put in two conference-related point deductions (low is better) for the BCS formula. If you win your conference, you get a 1.0 point deduction. But also put in a point deduction for playing in a title game at the end of the season. Say 0.5 points if you play in a post-season title game before the bowls.

In that scenario, LSU would have ended up at 4.49 in the BSC, USC at 5.15 and OU at ... 4.61.

Wait, that won't work. We have to figure out a way to get USC into the title game, dammit!

Also, can somebody please tell Keith Jackson it's time for him to retire ... for good? I have all the respect in the world for the man, but he's lost it. I watched the Rose Bowl on PVR delay, so I mostly just watched a play, hit the 30-second jump when a knee went down and watched the next. But in just the few instances where I heard Jackson's call of the whole play, he said 1) a guy fumbled when he didn't come close to fumbling 2) a pass was batted down at the line when the QB never even threw it and 3) that the USC back went out of bounds on the last play of the game, when he wasn't close to doing so.

It's time to take up golf full time, Keith.

Cap'n Ken's Big List of Recommended RSS Feeds

Updated 05/15/04

I'm pretty frustrated by the lack of a comprehensive directory of RSS feeds, so I decided to create a list of the RSS feeds I use and enjoy. I'll maintain this list and update it as I add more feeds.

If you have a favorite feed (or 20) that you think I should check out and/or add to this list, please post a comment with the feed location and description (I have a feed that tells me when I get comments, too).

Personal Blogs
Cap'n Ken's Homespun Wisdom - Shameless self promotion. The Wisdom is without a doubt the best blog on the 'net. |
Caffeinated Ramblings of a Coffee Achiever - The wife's blog. Also damn fine, and much more popular than the Wisdom. |
Sugar, Mr. Poon? - It's a Fletch reference. Poon's a lawyer/golf type, but is pretty damn entertaining. |
Sour Bob - Just a little insane, but always a good read. |
Robin's Ramblings - Now officially a "real-world" friend of the wife, thanks to the wonder that is blogging. |
Aubrey Sabala - An Atlanta chick, and a good writer. |
Daniella's Misaventures - A virtual friend of the wife. She used to live in New Orleans and lives in Jersey now. |
Alton Brown - The (Atlanta-based) host of Good Eats. This is in the "personal" category because it's really just Alton ranting about what pisses him off. Good Stuff. |
That Yellow Bastard - Computer geek / Buffy obsessive / Gator fan who I used to work with and now helps me lose at trivia. |
Reading in the Dark - Another Atlanta chick. Gets big points in my book by using the word "dogger" all the time. |
Dizzy Girl - A perky little right-winger living down in Savannah. |
Espresso Sarcasm - The second-best coffee-themed blog around. |
Professional Blogs
Boing Boing - An essential tool for keeping up on all things that are anything. |
Best Week Ever - Daily musings and mockery of the entertainment world from the folks behind's VH1's best show. |
Industry Standard Blog - Insight on the high tech/online industries, if you still care. |
Google Blog (unofficial) - News and views on the big G. Obviously more interesting than the official Google blog. |
Google Blog (official) - Maybe someday there will be something interesting here that doesn't read like a press release. Yes, Google demands attention. |
John Battelle's Searchblog - Everything you need to follow in the world of search. |
General News
New York Times Top News - An engineered feed that deliveres All The News That's Fit To Feed |
Yahoo! Top Stories - News amalgamated as only Yahoo can. |
Reuters U.S. News - American news from a British news agency. Sure, why not? |
Yahoo! Most Viewed - The day's top news, as run through the filter of the ignorant masses. |
Technology News & Features
Wired - Top Stories - Big news, all focused on technology. |
CNET News - More geek news, less business news than Wired. |
PC Magazine New Products - News and reviews of the latest technology. |
MajorGeeks - And endless flow of new shareware and freeware. |
Industry Standard - Metrics - The latest stats and trends in the online world. |
Entertainment News & Features
Yahoo! News - Entertainment - The Big Y's roundup of entertainment news. Updated every 2.5 seconds, or so it seems. |
Reuters Entertainment News - Kind of like Yahoo! Entertainment News, except that it's from Reuters. |
Business News & Features
Bloomberg - The business news comes fast and furious from the prolific Bloombergers. |
Reuters Business News - Yes, it's business news from Reuters. |
Atlanta / Georgia News
AJC A-Section - This, along with the below AJC feeds, were created by That Yellow Bastard and grab the print-edition stories each morning. You have to register (create a fake web mail account somewhere) in order to view. |
AJC Business Section - The print version of the business section. |
AJC Living Section - The print version of the living section. |
AJC Metro Section - The print version of the metro section. |
AJC Sports Section - The print version of the sports section. |
Atlanta News ( - Keyworded news related to Atlanta that comes from random sources. |
Baton Rouge / New Orleans / Louisiana News
Yahoo! News - Baton Rouge - A search-driven feed from Yahoo! news focused on Baton Rouge. |
Baton Rouge News ( - Keyworded news related to Baton Rouge that comes from random sources. |
LSU News ( - Keyworded news related to LSU that comes from random sources. |
New Orleans News ( - Keyworded news related to New Orleans that comes from random sources. |
Other News & Features
Drudge Report - Because you never know when the next Monica scandal will break. |
Fark - A feed may be the only way to keep up with the prolific farkers. |
F'ed Company - The implosion of American business, right there on your desktop. |
Dilbert - Each day's Dilbert cartoon rendered in your news reader. |
World Sex News Daily - Hey, news about sex. What could be a better read? |
Ask Yahoo! - With so much searching going on, Yahoo! has decided to provide some answers. |
Offbeat News ( - An assemblage of weird news. |
Reuters - Oddly Enough - More weird news, this time from Reuters. |