Banned Books

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:09 am

This week is Banned Books Week, and to make the occasion I participated in an all-day reading from banned books at our public library. I read a selection from the classic How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell. Despite the fact that most of the top Google results are for teaching aids for the book, it has been challenged several places recently because it contains a single instance of the word “bastard” and encourages children to do such things as bet and eat worms. Later in the day, I helped perform a scene from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, challenged because it supposedly promotes a homosexual lifestyle. Just last year, Shakespeare’s works were burned at Christ Community Church in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

Don’t wait for next year’s Banned Book Week. Read a banned book today!


MC Chris, Live

Filed under:General — eric @ 6:00 am

Thanks to a heads-up from dear Joleen, I went to see MC Chris perform improv theater with a few other talented fellows. Unfortunately Joel couldn’t be there, but I managed to have a great time anyway. We saw him with Steve and Amy, and Steve had the forsight to make some really slick copies of MC Chris’s on-line CD, so I’m not the proud owner of an autographed MC Chris CD. He didn’t have anything for us to sign, so he had us autograph his arm with out trusty Sharpies.


Birthday Quiz

Filed under:General — eric @ 10:25 am

It’s time for my annual “How much of the the first verse of Paul Simon’s Have a Good Time are you?” quiz.

Yesterday it was my birthday

I hung one more year on the line

I should be depressed

My life’s a mess

But I’m having a good time

I am 60% of the first verse of Paul Simon’s Have a Good Time. According to my answer sheet, that’s a perfect score!


B-52’s in town

Filed under:General — eric @ 1:27 am

The B-52’s put on a fantastic show Friday night within the cozy confines of the fabulous 40 Watt.

Unfortunately, I was not in attendance.

The show was a benefit for Nuši’s Space, a resource center run by the Nuši Phillips Memorial Foundation. The foundation provides mental health counceling and other resources to Athens’ musician and arts community. Getting the B-52’s to come back into town was a great thing for them, and they kept it under wraps until a week or so ago. By the time I found out about it (having moved out to the countryside, my finger is no longer on the pulse of Athens’ cultural scene), the few hundred tickets were long gone.

So instead of hanging out with the drag queens in blue beehive hair-dos (well, actually I did a little, while having dinner at Clocked a couple doors down from the club), I spent the weekend at home.

I did have some farming to do, but weather tried to make up for being absent most of the summer by raining. A lot. We got somewhere over 6 inches of rain over the weekend. I tried to keep track, but the guage managed to overflow at one point. So, little farming got done, but the plants growing had a great time. Instead of working outdoors, I took the opportunity to make three gallons of Irish stout and five gallons of blackberry mead. The stout will be ready in a few weeks. The mead, in a few months (or years … mead is not for the impatient).


Hermann, Missouri Bed and Breakfast

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:21 am

If you’re ever in central Missouri, even just driving through, take the time to visit the town of Hermann. It was settled by a group of Germans from Philadelphia in the early 1800’s, who fully expected the town to be even larger than Philly some day. They failed in that aim, but the town itself is quite the charmer. Early architecture abounds and the German heritage is evident everywhere. Before prohibition, the third largest winery in the world was located there. One of the things you’ll discover during your stay was how brutal the feds were in enforcing prohibition: hundred year old vinyards were uprooted and burned, immense imported oak barrels (often carved with scenes fitting for a European cathedral) where axed and destroyed, and wine cellars were blocked off. Nevermind that all of these things had legitimate non-alcohol uses. The wineries have slowly returned over the last thirty years, and all are open for tuors and samples. And, for accomodations, you can’t go wrong with Birk’s Gast Haus, a wonderful (and inexpensive!) bed and breakfast. The hosts there went well beyond the call of duty to insure a comfortable stay and even loaned us bikes to get around town with. There are 40+ B&B’s in town, but none could be better than Birk’s.


On the road

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:12 am

The missus and I are taking to the road again tonight, with a whirlwind trip to Hermann, Missouri and back. One of my best buddies (going back 22 years) is getting married, so there I’ll be.

I’m taking advantage of some of the neat toys we have lying around the office, too. For example: a Magellan GPS unit that plugs into my Handspring Visor (a palm pilot-like device) and tells us where we are, were we’re going, and exactly how to get there. With maps and the whole nine yards. I’ve got my laptop loaded with MP3s and audio books, enough to last us for weeks should that become necessary. We’ll be back late Monday.

To the deer that have been hanging around the house: you’ve already eaten all of our beans. Please leave us at least some of the squash while we’re gone. Thanks!


Whiton play bass

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:15 am

James Whiton plays double bass. He plays double bass as creatively and as well as anyone I’ve ever heard. He used to be in a band that should’ve been huge, Apricot Jam. They played around the southwest (mostly New Mexico) for a few years before moving to Portland and then splitting up. In the middle of his stint with that band, James had a motorcycle accident and shattered his bass-playing arm. Turned a good chunk of the bone to dust. He remained consious enough to make sure the ER docs didn’t cut it off and then proceeded to nurse it back to shape again, pulling off one miracle after another through sheer determination. Seeing him on his comeback tour with the Jam was one of the most inspriational things I’ve witnessed.

James is still making beautiful music in Seattle, as a tour of his webpages reveals. He has music for sale (including the Jam CD I never managed to aquire until now). His new stuff, though different from the Jam, is still first class. He’s got several free MP3s available — give him a listen.