Archive for the ‘People I Actually Respect’ Category

Crichton’s Wake

November 6, 2008

We must daily decide whether the threats we face are real, whether the solutions we are offered will do any good, whether the problems we’re told exist are in fact real problems, or non-problems. Every one of us has a sense of the world, and we all know that this sense is in part given to us by what other people and society tell us; in part generated by our emotional state, which we project outward; and in part by our genuine perceptions of reality. In short, our struggle to determine what is true is the struggle to decide which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down, or sold to us, or generated by our own hopes and fears.

‘Jurassic Park’ author Michael Crichton dies at 66


He Was Legend

April 6, 2008

If I hear another wise crack about my \

Charlton Heston was an icon and he will be missed. Especially when the zombie apocalypse happens. We could have used a man with his experience.

Plenty of tributes around the web today. The best one I’ve read is over at Deus Ex Malcontent.

“…hell yeah, I’d do it again.”

November 4, 2007

Is it too much to ask of our culture for us to pay attention to the passing of people who played a pivotal role in our history?

Instead of the  focusing on the death of Paul Tibbets, the fourth estate decided that the passing of Robert Goulet and Porter Wagoner were more worthy of the news hole.

For those of you who don’t live in Nashville, Wagoner’s funeral was carried LIVE on one of the local stations.  This is a man whose greatest contribution to posterity is the discovery of Dolly Parton.  Which is like saying you discovered, say, gravity or the Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, Paul Tibbets dropped the first atomic weapon on Hiroshima.  The case could suitably be made that it was the defining moment of the 20th Century.  That may not be important to some.  It’s not like he sang Jingle Bells (Batman Smells), or anything.

What I liked best about Tibbets was the utter lack of regret.  The man did his job and never lost any sleep over it.

That sort of clarity of purpose is worth remembering.


The Ballad of Leslie Reeves

October 4, 2007

Lately, I’ve been thinking about Steve Goodman’s song, The Ballad of Penny Evans. It goes like this:

Then, last night, I saw this real-life and resolute Penny Evans on the news.

I don’t have much to say to Leslie Reeves other than, I grieve with you and I admire your strength.

These Boobs Were Made For Walkin’

June 6, 2007

Sometimes it takes more courage to walk away from a fight than it does to stay in it. I think Kenny Rogers taught us all that. Or he taught us to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. I forget which. Maybe both.

Brittney Gilbert gambled on a career as a professional blogger. She cashed in her chips today. More’s the pity. Or she got tired of fighting the Lilliputian dumbasses that are legion on the web. Pick your Kenny Rogers metaphor.

Yes, the Nashville bloggers are a cliquish group. Brittney was their Prom Queen. As much as I didn’t like the high school aspect of this thing, I can’t deny being a part of it. There are the popular kids and there are those who aren’t. Brittney was the arbiter of who was ‘in’ and who was ‘out’.

We competed for her attention. Many, if not all, of the posts on this blog were edited with one thought in mind, “I wonder if Brittney will link to this?” A link from Brittney was a form of validation. If this ugly shit had not gone down today, I planned on throwing some pictures of the baby in order to get a gratuitous link.

Her job was not an enviable one. On the couple of NiT weekend shifts I pulled, my goal was to post as much as she did during the week. Lot’s of luck with that fucking task, my friend. It is to her credit that she didn’t turn in her papers due to burnout earlier.

She and I had some disagreements over trivial matters like politics, philosophy, race, gender, culture and whether to have the veal. But, it never got personal. She also could be a pretty good sport, especially when vulgar and inappropriate comments were made about her rack.

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Now, Brittney isn’t really going anywhere. She will still be at her place. But, she will be missed nonetheless. Nashville is Talking might continue, provided the powers that be at WKRN don’t use this as an opportunity to pull the plug. Whatever the outcome, it will not be the same. Expect NiT to be a shell of its former self, kind of like the increasingly irrelevant Pith in the Wind.

She made a brave choice to start this job. She’s equally brave to walk away.

I got yer Jesus General right here

Private Gilbert is silly and ignorant, but she’s got guts. And guts is enough.

No Guts, No Glory

April 14, 2007

Before becoming a martyr, Kat Coble nominated me for one of these award deals.  Thanks, Kat.  But if nominated, I will not run.  If elected, I will not serve.

Kat heaps some praise upon this blog.  Some of it undeserved.  To wit,  Because no matter where you stand in respect to his positions, you must admit that he’s not only thought about his but is nearly fearless in his presentation of those ideas.

Sadly, this isn’t all that true.

See, I took my shot at J.L. Kirk (see also, J. L. Kirk & Associates, or Kirk Associates, or JL Kirk, or JLK, or JLK-A)  and their confidence game tricks several months ago.  Only I didn’t have the stones to actually name them by name.  I just linked to them in a lookin’-to-avoid-a-poorly-thought-out-lawsuit-stemming-from-a-
Google-search kinda way.  Then again, when they wanted the still-just-my-girlfriend-at-this-point, the future Mrs. Sarcastro, to come along for the time-share in Destin pitch, I opted to skip out on that obvious attempt to fleece me out of what little money I still had on hand.

That isn’t fearless.  Smart, maybe.  But not fearless.

No, fearless is an appellation that belongs to Mrs. Coble, her own self.  I’m proud to know her and even prouder to see her stand up to a bully.

Meanwhile, I’m just sitting at home with pee stains on my rug. 

Postscript:  Thanks to John H. for the nod as well.   Our mornings are a little emptier, my friend. 

Sneaky Pete

January 11, 2007

Sneaky Pete Kleinow was one of those names that if you looked hard enough, was everywhere.  Maybe that’s why he was so sneaky. 

He got his start as a stop-motion animator and special effects artist.  He worked on Davey and Goliath, Gumby, The Pillsbury Doughboy and and several other projects in the 1960’s.  That was his day job.

At night he would jam on the pedal steel with Chris Hillman and Graham Parsons.  The three of them went on to become The Flying Burrito Brothers.    The played at the death-knell of the Sixties, Altamont

For the next dozen years, Sneaky Pete recorded with the likes of Jackson Browne, Leonard Cohen, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Sly and the Family Stone, Little Feat,  Stevie Wonder, John Lennon, Steve Miller, The Rolling Stones, Linda Ronstadt and Frank Zappa.  To name just a few.

Pete got back into animation and effects work in the Eighties.  You may be familar with his work on films like The Empire Strikes Back,  The Right Stuff, Terminator, Terminator 2, Gremlins and Army of Darkness.  Perhaps you have seen one of those films.

He restarted the Burritos under the name Burrito Deluxe with Garth Hudson of The Band on keyboards.  They played Mercy Lounge a few times.  I always wanted to go hear Sneaky Pete, but figured "There’s always next time." 

There wasn’t.   Sneaky Pete died the other day due to complications of Alzheimer’s.  He was 72. 


So Long, Jerry

December 27, 2006

It comes as no surprise that 93 year old former president Gerald Ford passed away. He was in ill health for the last few years. Plus, he was 93.

When Agnew resigned in disgrace, and Nixon appointed Ford as Vice-President, I was over at the neighbor’s house. Their kid Dewayne and I were building a fort in the backyard or something. We walked in the house and Dewayne’s hillbilly mother shouted, “Ford’s the new Vice-President!”

“Who the hell is this Ford guy?’, I thought to myself. Although, I could have that moment confused with when Nixon resigned and Ford became President. Dewayne’s hillbilly mother very well could have shouted, “Ford’s the new President!”


Get off my back. I was eight. Sorry I didn’t keep better notes.

All I do remember is that Dewayne gave me the scar on my right ear when we were rough-housing after watching a Japanese monster movie. War of the Gargantuas, as I recall.

In any event, that was my introduction to Gerald Ford. He seemed to be a lot friendlier on TV than Nixon. Although, I was upset that Rich Little had less to do. Rich was in his heyday with the Nixon impressions back then.

During the 1976 campaign, our house was supporting the Ford/Dole ticket. I got into a fight at school regarding that election. The other kids belonged to families that were going to vote for Jimmy Carter. Like Jerry Ford, I was beaten in a landslide. Or at least beaten between the slide and the swing set. They outnumbered me about five to one. Which not so coincidentally, turned out to accurately predict Carter’s margin of victory.

During the Nixon years, my Mom and I were driving somewhere in Los Angeles, as was the custom at the time. At a stoplight, I saw a group of bald women protesting something. I asked Mom what was up with the kooky bald chicks. She told me they were crazy Manson girls. I didn’t give it much thought, until a couple of years later when one of those bald chicks took a shot at Gerald Ford.

Jerry dodged two assassination attempts. Both attempts came in the same month. Both would be assassins were women. Being that this was during the apogee of the “Women’s Lib” movement, even as a kid it seemed kind of funny. Especially because they both failed. You girls need to leave the president killin’ to the menfolk.

Some things you may not have known about Gerald Ford:

**He was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. His mother divorced and remarried when he was still an infant. He took his step-father’s name.


**As part of the University of Michigan’s National Championship teams of 1932 and 1933 he played center. In 1934 he was voted Most Valuable Player. Does anyone know when the last time a center was voted MVP?

**Both the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers offered him a spot on their rosters. Back then, a pro football player made $200 per game. He chose instead to go to Yale to be an assistant coach and law student. Today, who in their right mind would pass up an NFL paycheck in order to eat a bowl of shit in the White House?

**Was the last surviving member of the Warren Commission.

** Moved into a house on Evergreen Terrace across the street from one Homer J. Simpson after the previous owner left abruptly. Football, beer and nachos were enjoyed by all.

**Became a crime fighting superhero after gaining extraordinary powers thanks to a “hurricane-powered dose of radiation” received at a celebrity golf tournament. Along with former Presidents Carter, Reagan and Bush formed The X-Presidents.

Holy shit.  I almost forgot.  Possibly Ford’s greatest achievement outside of making ugly ties, ultra-wide lapels and WIN buttons hip, was to invite a Beatle to lunch.


George Harrison was the first Beatle invited to the White House for lunch.  An awkward encounter ensued after Billy Preston complained about a hair in his soup.

And if you needed proof that the world isn’t fair, note that the only person in this picture still alive is Ravi Fucking Shankar.

Shirley Walker

December 4, 2006

The other day I picked up the third volume of Superman: The Animated Series.  The boys love these shows.  Other than the Titan’s win today, the thing that got them the most excited was seeing that there were more Superman episodes that they haven’t yet watched.  We are also working our way through the four volumes of Batman:  The Animated Series.   Soon enough, I’ll have to shell out some dough for the Justice League DVD sets as well.  It makes me happy to see the boys appreciate the work of Bruce Timm and company as much as I do.

We popped in a disc and got a couple of Superman episodes in between football games.  The eleven year old has been loudly humming the theme to the Superman show all afternoon.  The Mrs. shot me a look of approval for spending the cash on something that makes the boys so happy.

Shirley Walker composed that score as well as the theme for the Batman animated series and several other notable films.  She is one of the very few female film score composers.  She has been a trailblazer in her field.

Shirley Walker died a few days ago.

Her work lives on with 11 year old boys and their dads. 


Requiem For a Heavyweight

November 11, 2006

Jack Palance used to give me the creeps when he hosted Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

This is definitely funnier

So long, Jack.