Tuesday, September 28, 2010

(Not Quite) Endless Summer

And yesterday magic happened: Summer ended (or at least took a break). The air is cool (by which I mean like low 80s). The humidity has vanished. Fling open the windows. Fling open the doors. The world is our erster!*

* Forgive me, I got a little excited there, but really, it's pretty exciting. Yes, I do actually perversely sort of like our summers here, but that doesn't stop me from being glad when they're over.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Slang Sling: The Cessation-of-Style Edition

You know what word I like?
crum·bum
n.
An objectionable or foolish person
(I actually heard this one used recently: "I woudn't call him a 'crumbum', but...'. It had a "bless his heart" sort of zing to it.) And you know what else I'm liking?
stum·ble·bum
n.
A blundering or awkward person
(Those "-bum" words: endlessly entertaining.) And you one more current fave: saying that so-and-so is doing something...
"...like it's going out of style."
I think I'll start using "crumbum" and "stumblebum" like they're going out of style (even though both words actually stumbled off of Style-Isle eons ago and have been adrift in the Swamps of Corny Linguistic Irrelevance for decades).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where Was I?

Eesh, it's been a little too quiet around here lately (the Ol' Brainbox has been alternating between busily-engaged-with-other-stuff and busily-engaged-with-nothing-whatsoever), but it's time to get back in the saddle again, and abiding by this site's longstanding editorial mantra, "Random nonsense is better than no nonsense," I present to you this drawing of a lady wearing un turban d'baguette avec un sac d'watermelon:*



Lovely, non? (Mmmmm, turban d'baguette...) And what else? Oh, yes:
Q: "How do I get one of [the CDs]?

A: A post-millenial/post-downfall-of-the-hiearchic-patriarchic-record-exec-as-cultural-gatekeeper DIY-punk e-commercial solution will be available in the not too distant future.

Q: "How did [the show] go?"

A: Epic ridiculous collapsed-on-the-floor-laughing-and-crying-all-at-once hilarity and fun, just how we like it. Many thanks to everyone who made it out and especially to everyone who bought a CD.
Onward and upward.

* I took five years of French. I've forgotten nearly all of it (including how to say "a bread-loaf turban with a watermelon purse").

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bruisers-New-Orleans CD Release Party, Saturday 10 p.m., Circle Bar!

Hey, whatchya doing Saturday? Not sure? Let me help you out. You're going to the release party/show for our brand spanking new CD!* Whooooooh! (Really, we're very excited.) We think it's a hellacious fine album, and we hope you'll agree—a dozen ace original songs, recorded live at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, LA on a balmy summer Sunday back in 2008**—live, no overdubs, no slicing or splicing, certified autotune-free, now brought to you in all its rough-hewn glory. And it's also adorably packaged in our very special hand-crafted artisanal micro-pressing:***

front back innards

Ain't that cute? Look at that little red wax "B"-seal on the back.

And because we're so goddamned excited, we'll be honoring its release with a full bore scorch-the-earth,-raise-the-dead,-and-leave-'em-begging-for-more all-out late-night Circle Bar jamboree, starting at 10 (which you can interpret as something more like 11) and going until our limbs fall off. And just when you are in fact begging for more, we'll conveniently direct you to merchandise table (or "merch" table to you rock-cognoscenti), where conveniently, for a mere $10, you can have more, all the Bruisers-New-Orleans you want, any time you want, in compact digital format, for enjoyment on your home, automotive, or personal hi-fi entertainment system.

See you there. Whoooooooooooh! (Really, we're very excited.) Whoooooooooooh!

* Which makes it sound like we had an old CD, which we didn't, because though we did record those songs back at Sun Studios many many moons ago, we flaked out and never did anything with them—other than half-assedly leak them out to handful of folks whereby they became ultra-obscure rare grooves in near-non-rotation. (All part of our savvy slow-burn multi-decade viral media campaign. Mwah ha ha haaaa!)


** You may be thinking: 2008? What the hell took them so long? Remember, we're the slowest band ever. The real question is how did it happen so fast? (To which the answer is. we suddenly realized, "Oh crap, Jason's leaving! We've got to do something with that album before he goes!")


*** We're the Alice Waters of rambunctious honky-tonk garage rock.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Chart, Er, Monday*

So where were we? Ah yes, charts. And beards. And country music played by people with beards. Because lots of people who play(ed) country music have(/had) beards. And what other stylistic accoutrement is popular in country music circles? Cowboy hats. Which invites an inevitable two-dimensional scatter-plot analysis of who wears what when:**



So:
  • Patsy Cline – never a beard, rarely a cowboy hat
  • Hank Williams, Sr. – never a beard, always a cowboy hat
  • Alabama – always beards (3/4 of them, anyway), never cowboy hats
  • Hank Williams, Jr. – always a beard, always a cowboy hat
  • Willie Nelson – always a beard, sometimes a cowboy hat (ooh, mixing it up!)
  • Roger Miller – rarely a beard,*** never a cowboy hat
Fascinating. Based on our (admittedly very small and arbitrary) sampling, folks seem to cluster towards the corners (or at least around the perimeter): Really-Bearded-and-Cowboy-Hatted, Not-at-All-Bearded-Or-Cowboy-Hatted, Just-Really-Bearded, or Just-Really-Cowboy-Hatted. (I guess they've got their signature looks and they're sticking with them.) But who's in that middle Little-Bit-of-This,-a-Little-Bit-of-That zone?


* Yeah, we're all temporally discombobulated around here.


** Assume we're talking about during the well-known phases of their careers, while performing, etc.; not when they were five or when they're in the shower or whatever.


*** His bearded appearance on the Muppets being the only anomaly I've seen.

Twenty Years

Last weekend, during our beach retreat, Sarah and I celebrated twelve years of marriage. That was quite nice and lovely, but this afternoon I realized that today is our We're-a-Couple Anniversary,* and our Years of Coupledom tallies up to two solid decades. Twenty years! A two followed by a zero. Whoah.

Woot! Woot!

* Don't worry, I'm not in trouble. Sarah forgot too.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ruh-Roh

Ruh-Roh, Chart Thursday got waylaid by the sudden and virulent onset of Who Dat fever. It'll get here soonish. (Chart Saturday?) And Poetry Friday's looking a little behind the curve too. (Poetry Sunday?)

We dat!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Weird Stuff Seen at Highway Rest Stops: Alabama2

Ooh, another highly erratic series to add to Slim's Series of Highly Erratic Series* – Weird Stuff Seen at Highway Rest Stops:**

Highway rest stop really are fascinating little microcosma, aren't they? full of diverse folks and mysterious treasures. Monday, returning from our Labor Day retreat, having just crossed from Florida into Alabama, we stopped at the little stateline welcome center. And while loitering in the lobby, waiting for the my gaggle of gals to emerge from the restrooms, I saw this:



Yes, that's right: the (mostly) bearded wonders (seriously, what's up with that beardless guy?), kings of 80s country, Alabama the band. In Alabama the state! We all conceptually understand that Alabama the band comes from Alabama the state, but when you're viscerally confronted with it in the form of the above photo at the aforementioned locale, it's like: Whoah, Alabama2! And the glorificent photo was accompanied by this caption:



Wait, let's tally this up: That's a photograph of the band Alabama hanging in the Alabama welcome center in the state of Alabama drawing visitors attention to the "Alabama" Fan Club and Museum which is a monument to the achievements of the band Alabama and is housed in Fort Payne, Alabama. So by my reckoning, that's actually like Alabama6.*** Whoah!

* Ooh, a meta-series! And then I'll do a series of meta-series, which will of course be a meta-meta-series. And then...! (But can there be a Series of all Series? a Universal Series? Ouch! Too much metaphysics; not enough coffee.

** No, not that! They do that at rest stops? Eww!

*** Ooh, six-dimensional Alabama—I'd like to see that chart.

Monday, September 06, 2010


Jason and (a fraction of) his albums. I don't know how he's going to move those things. I told him he ought to somehow wrap the whole thing, shelves and all, into one solid slab and move it on the back of a flatbed truck.

Viet Hoa Food Market, Memphis, TN. (Do you think those fish in the tank are thinking, "There but for the grace of God..."? Little do they know.)

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Barbecue, Memphis, TN

Studebaker, Memphis, TN

Wild Bill's, Memphis, TN

Saturday, September 04, 2010


"Crawfish Etou...", Port Allen, LA

Brussell sprouts. Fancy looking, huh? Like how I got that shallow depth of field in-focus-out-of-focus thing, just like the magazines? (Because at some point, food styling switched from the straight objectivity of those green beans to this subjective life-is-my-feast sort of imagery. When did that happen?)

Green beans. Remember when pretty much all food packaging looked like this, crisp and sort of frumpy?

Friday, September 03, 2010

Poetry Friday: Planes Are Too Fast

Planes are too fast,
Walking too slow,
Bicycles are grand,
But a car
On a twinned strip of gray-tan highway
Sided by pines,
Dwarfed by boiling clouds
Turning orange on the Gulf
In the low-slung sun,
Sarah to the right,
Girls to the back,
Attending in silence
To thoughts of sand
And dune-scrub
And wind-swept salt and aching heat—
Such transport
Is perfect.
Which is my fancy Poetry Friday way of saying,* we're going to the beach!** Whooh! Catch you on the flipside. (Whatchya got, poetically speaking?)

* My aunt's been fussing at me to write some non-jokey poems, (we of The Simpsons Generation, we love our ironic distance) so there ya go: not a humorously stilted rhyme in sight. (I don't claim it's anything special, just that it's not at all funny.)

** Because despite what you might think, plenty of the Gulf beaches are oil-free and wide open (though this misconception allowed us to book a cabin in a Florida State Park on Labor Day weekend with minimal lead time).

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Ska, Ska, Ska, Ska, Ska, Ska, Ska, Ska, Ska...

I love many kinds of music, but there's only one that stands in the particular category of Music-I-Can-Listen-To-Over-And-Over-And-Over-And-Never-Seem-To-Tire-Of: ska.* The bouncing syncopated rhythms, the wailing vocals and sublime harmonies, the horns (the trombones, in particular), the... I don't even really know what it is. There's no single thing or set of things I can point to; it's more than the sum of its parts. I just love-love-love it.** (One thing: it does seem to me to be the happiest music in the world, not necessarily the lyrical content which runs the gamut, but the music itself. It lightens dark moods and heightens good moods.) I listen to it in the car. I listen to it at work. I listen to it while I run. I turn it up loud at parties and sing along with a big goofy grin on my face. And so far, I have never ever grown tired of it.*** I suppose it's my desert island music.**** And since today is Chart Thursday, let's have a chart:



What music do you never tire of?

* Proto-reggae, the R&B offshoot that evolved in Jamaica in the 50s and 60s and later morphed into the stuff made famous by Bob Marley and the likes. (Let me be explicit: I'm talking about the actual old Jamaican stuff, not the various punk-ish outgrowths that have emerged in England, America, and elsewhere. Those offshoots produced some good music, but it's not the same thing and doesn't have the same very particular effect on me.)

** Though these love-relations are a funny complicated business. I don't think of ska as "my" music the way I do with old country and old rock 'n' roll. I didn't grow up listening to it. I don't play it. It's sort of exotic to me. And yet, as much as I love those other genres, I can actually grow weary of them. But ska? Ska... Ska!

*** Though I secretly fear that if I do ever tire of it, my fatigue will be proportional to my former enthusiasm and I won't ever be able to listen to ska again.

**** Hmm, and it actually comes from an island. Maybe that's not a coincidence. Maybe they were like, we're broke, we're stuck on this hurricane-battered island, we don't have much of anything except a few instruments and these cool, bass-heavy AM broadcasts of New Orleans R&B wafting across hundreds of miles of ocean. Let's mix that all up somehow and make the bestest everest music ever.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Erl and Water

And speaking of regional calamities, do you ever just not know how or what to feel about something? That's how I feel... or rather how I don't feel... or... how I feel about how I feel about this oil spill. Acute crises bring acute visceral emotional responses. But this sort of ultra-slow-mo trainwreck that seems sort of like it's over but is really very very far from over? More complicated. My personal internal trajectory has gone something like:
  1. News. News. Brief blurb about an explosion on an oil rig. That's near here. That's sad. News. News...
  2. What’s that about an oil spill?
  3. What do they mean they can’t stop it?
  4. This is so horrible I can’t even talk about it. I can barely even think about it. Is this going to screw up everything all over again?
  5. Frak you, you frakkin’ fraks...!
  6. Welcome to the new normal: oil spill reports as part of the routine weather coverage on the local news.
  7. Daily life. Daily life. Daily life. Daily life. Ugh, oil spill. Daily life. Daily life...*
  8. Yeah, they say it’s nearly contained, but...
  9. Has the oil really stopped? I can’t quite make sense of that.
  10. Huh, I guess it really has stopped.
  11. What now?
So how do I feel? Relieved that the acute crisis is ending? Relieved that it doesn't seem quite as bad as our doomsday fears? Suspicious of that sense of relief? Uncertain what's next, how this will play out in the coming years: ecologically, legally, politically, economically? All of the above?

Do you have it figured out?

* Another weird thing about this sort of crisis is how localized it can be, how it can devastate one group of people and leave others, near at hand, largely unscathed. Katrina turned our neighborhood into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but a few blocks away, things looked very different, and the next parish over, life pretty closely approximated plain-old-normal. Now, with this spill, our lives continue on their workaday ways—seafood's a little more expensive, but there's little other obvious direct impact—but a few miles away, down towards the coast, people's whole worlds have been turned upside down.