Friday, February 27, 2009

All Day Benefit Jam at Cary Street Café

On Saturday, March 14th Cary Street Café will be rockin thanks to some of Richmond’s finest musicians and CSC owner Robyn Chandler who will host the:


Wyatt Brewer, a fixture around the Richmond music scene for many years, underwent reconstructive heart surgery at MCV Hospital last month. He is now going through a somewhat lengthy recovery period and his many friends have all graciously agreed to help out. The party begins at 1:00 p.m. on March 14 and is scheduled to run till 8:00 pm. Five bands are on the bill and there may be other guest appearances throughout the day. It promises to be one helluva jam so mark your calendars and get there early so you won’t miss any of these featured acts. In order of appearance the scheduled bands are:


Katelyn Wyszynski of writes:

“The Spaceheaters, a psychedelic jam band, has been firing up the streets of Richmond since 1997 but the band's popularity really began to flare in 2005, booking more shows in one year than in all of the previous ones combined. With noticeable influences drawn from country, blues, metal, rock and techno, this band is guaranteed to fire up a fun time.”

If you like hard edged rock and roll, this band will not disappoint you!


El Presidente’s sound has been described as “a heavy guitar laden metal-rock, flecked with gloom, doom, and southern charm.”

Kate Bredimus of writes that despite variations in musical tastes within the band, they are all heavily influenced by the “trinity that is beyond reproach”: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Black Sabbath.

‘Nuff said. These guys rock!!


World renowned guitar pick-up guru Lindy Fralin, his brother Gary, Brad Tucker (Burnt Taters), and Dan Roberts come together for what looks to be a great show. With musical influences ranging from rockabilly to zydeco these guys will cook up a musical stew that should not be missed!


Think, originally formed in 2003, feature an interesting fusion of jazz, funk, rock and blues with a little Latin groove thrown in for good measure. The band members Dylan Barrows (guitar), Tommy Booker (keys), Bobby Hudson (drums), and Zach Hudgins (bass) come together for a hot sound and infectious groove that is bound to rock the crowd!


The Harrison Deane Band has been rockin' Richmond for over 10 years now. It all started in1995 when singer/songwriter/guitarist Harrison Deane joined up w/ lead guitarist John Leedes to form an acoustic duo. Band members came and went over the first 5 years but Harrison's consistent songwriting and musical chemistry with Leedes developed to near telepathic levels. The band crystallized into its current form at the onset of the new millennium when Richmond music veterans Bobby Jorgenson{bass} and Joe Conner{keyboards} joined the band. With the most recent addition of Rocky Orndorff on drums, The HDB is on top of their game and sounding better than ever. The band has remained a fixture at the Cary St. cafe and countless other Richmond nightspots as well as playing at a wide variety of private parties and functions ranging from weddings to political rallies from 2001 to the present time. In addition to the original material HDB plays scores of familiar and obscure cover songs. Their extensive repertoire will take listeners on a varied emotional ride and keep them dancing all the while.

Folks, this is going to be a great day of music and fun for a good cause. Ten bucks will get you in the door for seven hours of primo music from some of the best musicians this area has to offer. Come on out. You’ll be glad you did and our friend Wyatt will too!!

Peace, love and music to all!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Here's Where the Story Ends

people I know, places I go, make me feel tongue-tied
I can see how people look down, they're on the inside
here's where the story ends
people I see, weary of me showing my good side
I can see how people look down
I'm on the outside
here's where the story ends
ooh here's where the story ends

it's that little souvenir of a terrible year
which makes my eyes feel sore
oh I never should have said, the books that you read
were all I loved you for
it's that little souvenir of a terrible year
which makes me wonder why
and it's the memories of your shed that make me turn red
surprise, surprise, surprise

crazy I know, places I go
make me feel so tired
I can see how people look down
I'm on the outside
oh here's where the story ends
ooh here's where the story ends

it's that little souvenir of a terrible year
which makes my eyes feel sore
and who ever would've thought the books that you brought
were all I loved you for
oh the devil in me said, go down to the shed
I know where I belong
but the only thing I ever really wanted to say
was wrong, was wrong, was wrong

it's that little souvenir of a colourful year
which makes me smile inside
so I cynically, cynically say, the world is that way
surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise, surprise
here's where the story ends
ooh here's where the story ends

Music & and Lyrics by the Sundays

In an 90’s interview with the Sunday’s Harriet Wheeler and David Gavurin, they described the lyrics on their recording, “Reading, Writing and Arithmetic”, as ripped from a page of a diary rather than being a defining statement of their life as a whole.

I think of this blog in much the same way. Nearly a year ago, I was mired in frustration as I was consumed with my writing or , should I say lack thereof. I bounced from one story line to the next only to end with a bunch of unfinished crap. I began to doubt both my ability as well as my resolve when it came to a literary future.

Then, on a particularly good day in November, I got the bright idea of lowering my expectations a bit. I realized that if I wanted to actually finish something, I should start small. That is, go back to basics of beginning, middle and end all in a page or two. Like a journalist!!...only twisted. From that spark came Mephistophilese, the ranting blogger.

This year has been an eventful one for me. I have done a fair amount of traveling, partying, laughing, and crying. All of which have inspired me in equal measure to express myself… in writing. The last couple of months have been particularly bizarre as I have been consumed with human loss, a potentially fatal car crash, and a trying family battle over an estate that includes a sizable corporation. As my partner and I emerge from this experience, we find ourselves changed but somehow richer for the scrapes received. I find myself as reflective as ever, yet somehow more satisfied to simply live and let live. I realized the other day that aside from a brief periods of nicotine withdrawal, I’m just not that pissed off anymore. I’m happy about that in most ways; however, I fear that my days of delivering irreverent and acerbic blog rants may be numbered.

I find myself thinking in terms of new directions and story lines. One’s that may divert my attention toward a different style and page. I’ve always lived by two sometimes conflicting mantras. The first is simply, “Fuck it!”. Nihilistic?...yes, but it works for me. Secondly, “Change is good”. I wholeheartedly believe that everything should be questioned and everyone should embrace change as a means of moving forward in a positive way.

So, with those two philosophical rallying cries, I’ll be off again. Can’t say for sure if I’ll keep this site up as a continued release of frustration or reinvent it to support other creative avenues. At any rate, I’ve had fun with it and along the way and Ive gotten some nice feedback from people all over the planet. I still haven't heard from Harriet though. Well, fuck it.

And finally, to Harriet Wheeler, David Gavurin and the rest of the Sundays: you are my constant source of inspiration. Surprise, surprise, surprise.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Setting the Record Straight or Chef Andy Howell is the Man!

I can’t help but be amazed at some people and their unmitigated determination to play the “innocent victim of abuse” card. There are many regular patrons of the site that will read a little self-serving piece entitled “Café Rustica – Chef Andy Howell Hates Kids and Bloggers” (don’t expect me to provide a link to it).

Those unfamiliar with the context or series of events leading up to BP's blog post would certainly assume that Chef Andy attacked the RD&BM author for something he wrote in one of his loquacious recaps of a recent dining adventure. THIS IS NOT THE CASE!!! I simply could not let this one go without setting the record straight. In the interest of both fairness and revelation, Chef Andy’s remarks were in defense of Karen Newton’s (Mash-up Crew) piece “When I Rule the Restaurant World” At issue are Karen’s humorous musings below:

"As a person who eats out in rva four or five times a week, I feel as qualified as anyone to share my wish list for restaurants. They’re totally subjective, so don’t get your panties in a wad if you disagree."

1. "NO children in any restaurants except chain restaurants. I don’t care how well behaved YOU think your child is, I don’t want him in the booth next to me, or being walked up and down the aisle or bothering the wait staff. I go out in the evening to enjoy adult activities in an adult atmosphere and I don’t want to hear your child whining, squealing or otherwise being child like.".........

Well folks, the little pink panties did get a little knotted as evidenced by the angry and mean spirited comment left by BP on the Mash-up site:

Reading your ‘complaints’ I’m guessing you eat alone a lot as your sniping would get on most peoples nerves.
Can you post a picture so if we see you out I can get my well behaved child to throw things at you? Any other stereotypes or generalizations you care to throw about? I’m sure you can piss off a few more people with your intolerant behavior.

It’s a little disturbing that my advertising dollars are paying your salary.
Bookstore Piet
Jul. 31, 2008 at 06:39 PM

Now, how nasty and uncalled for was that? Can you say “overly defensive”? How about “down-right mean”?

That bullyish comment was what the good Chef was reacting to when he posted his comment quoted out of context on BPs site. He was stepping up in defense of Karen’s right to her opinion (on her site). Andy spoke up, as well he should have. BP was clearly out of line with his rude comments. This is surely not evident by the quote on BP’s site.

Any one that knows anything about food and has been in Richmond for more than 15 minutes knows of Andy Howell’s restaurants and reputation as one of Richmond’s top chefs. Also well publicized are his uncompromising views on what a fine dining experience should and should not be. He knows what he wants in a restaurant and also the kind of patrons he wishes to attract. Thank goodness for him and others like him that don't kowtow or cater to every arrogant pedestrian that may stumble upon his bill of faire.

In fear that he might lose more than 2.5 customers, I could not sit idly by and see his comments misrepresented just because someone has a sharp bitch axe to grind. I guess now it's my turn to be attacked. So be it. I merely state the truth.

Peace, Bon Appetit, and YOU FUCKIN ROCK ANDY!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Good question indeed. Wonder where this was taken?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All Good? Well, Mostly

Another year’s festival on Marvin’s Mountaintop has come and gone, leaving behind a mountain of trash and 18,000 hangovers. I must admit I was better behaved this year than in the past; however, still wild by most folk’s standards. What can I say? I’m still twelve and get excited when I visit the “Island of Lost Boys”.

I had hoped that gas prices would keep the attendance down this year but that was not to be. It was the biggest All Good I have been to with reported crowds of somewhere between 18 and 20 thousand. We arrived by early afternoon on Thursday and by that night the place was packed. With the heavy crowds came the usual headaches encountered at this type of event: longer lines, more burnout wookie wastoids, a longer hike to the main stage, and definitely more noise 24 hours a day. One of our fellow campers, when pleading for a nitrous vendor to shut up at 4:00 am, was admonished for her request and reminded that All Good is not for sleeping. Reluctantly, the low life nitrous tank jockey relocated only to be replaced by another at 6:00am awakening our group with shouts of “Ice cold fatties, five for twenty!!” The Philly Nitrous Mafia was definitely out in force for this one and by the looks of all the blue lipped, oxygen deprived wookies shuffling around, they made a freaking killing.

All things considered, All Good was still a great time. I witnessed some great performances by some of my favorite artists. Grace Potter, Phil Lesh, Derek Trucks, DSO, and Michael Franti all kicked butt. I was even turned on to some new acts that I hadn't heard before like Lettuce and Bassnectar. This year, the live music was pumping till 4:00 am each night and the food vendors served food around the clock. This was a partyer's dream come true in many ways; but, still I’m wondering how long I’ll be able to stand the low life elements that are becoming increasingly present at this festival. Because Tim Walther (the promoter) has found private land as a permanent home for his festival, cops and other law enforcement types are not an issue for the numerous outlaws and free spirits that thrive on these type of events to support their lifestyle. All Good has become known for its “friendly” atmosphere where anything and everything this side of murder goes unnoticed or, at least, unpunished. With this type of reputation, it’s only a matter of time before things get out of hand and someone gets killed. I haven't heard any official stats from the weekend but I do know that breakfast goers on Sunday were treated to an overdosed wookie in the middle of shakedown street being administered CPR and having his balls chilled with an ice pack. Certainly not a pleasant thing to see first thing in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, most all festival goers are peaceful and well behaved, but there is an undeniable presence of organized crime that’s becoming more and more evident each year. By organized, I mean serious drug dealers that recruit an army of young teenage wastoids to hustle their shit and employ mid level redneck hippie thugs to guard their "zones" and beat up independent dealers that infringe on their designated turf. Turf wars were the cause of several violent confrontations I witnessed while there. This is concerning to me and many other regulars I’ve spoken to. As with most “good things”, there are always abusers that ruin it for everyone by having no consideration or restraint. I would urge Tim Walther to begin taking measures now to deal with these forces before they shut down his party for good.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thoughts on Celebrating My Independence

Uncle Sam Says: "BE HAPPY...OR ELSE"

As we approach the July 4th holiday, I can’t help but ponder all the hoopla that has come to surround this big birthday celebration. According to our history books, July 4th is the day this country achieved it’s independence and became the United States of America. With the official severance of British ties we became a nation characterized by concepts such as “liberty and justice for all”. So grand was our achievement that we came to set aside that special day in July to celebrate ourselves as members of the greatest nation on earth. We adorn our windows with red, white and blue, display the star spangled banner, eat shitty food and swoon over our great fortune to be free americans.

While I’m all about a party, I like to to feel good about what I’m celebrating. If we are celebrating this nation's birthday that’s cool. This country has come a long way and lasted a pretty significant amount of time so a birthday recognition is certainly in order. However, if we are celebrating the “liberty” and “freedom” that this country has supposedly “given” us, I have to respectively withhold my enthusiasm. Virtually every established country has a bill of rights or recognized list of freedoms that are sanctioned. The U.S. has'nt cornered the market on this concept by any means. When I visit other countries, I’m often struck by the amount of actual freedom people enjoy as compared to most of us in the US. We, the yankee flag wavers, blunder about extolling our libertarian virtues yet remain enslaved by concepts designed to control our behavior as humans beings and actions as citizens. Hell, the very act of overt patriotism is often a means to infringe on the rights of those who dare to dissent. I have discovered this many times while being attacked verbally and physically by flag waving Piranhas, frothing at the mouth to get at me as I marched and protested against senseless wars or inhumane treatment of others. Dare to step out of line in this country and pay the price. That’s what this country’s government (as well as most others) is all about. Freedom, or something like it, is the barter that governments hold over the citizenry’s head to maintain control. So, if it’s that type of freedom we are celebrating, I think I’ll sit this one out.

I believe it’s time to establish another major holiday to celebrate liberty and freedom. After all, true freedom is not something any government has the ability to give. The concept of freedom and liberty come from within each of us and we are in control over how much or how little we afford ourselves. For that matter, to hell with a separate day. Since we as human beings are in control of our own happiness and well being, we can all pick our own day to celebrate our liberation. Just let your boss know what day you have designated as your independence day and ask for that day off to celebrate.

So, tomorrow as I’m drinking, noshing, and watching fireworks, I will remain as reverent as I can in honor of the birth of the country we have come to know as the good old US of A. I’ll try to feel something akin to pride in the accomplishments of its people. I’ll attempt to feel good that I’ve been given the day off by our government. But, I’ll save my liberty and freedom celebration for a more appropriate time.

Countdown to All Good

Hot damn, a week from now I'll be on the road once again to the 12th annual All Good Music Festival on Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown, WV. This is probably the only festival I'll make this summer so I'm pretty psyched. The line-up is good this year featuring Phil Lesh & Friends, Widepread, DSO, Grace Potter, Derek Trucks, Franti & Spearhead, and Brazilian Girls just to mention a few. Another cool thing about this year's festival is there will be late night sets every night beginning Thursday for the early arrivals. We always get to festivals early to avoid long lines and hassles and this year we'll be rewarded for our effort with a killer line-up on a small intimate stage. Thurday looks like this:

Early Arrival in the Campground:

2 AM The Join *Late Night*
(Shields & Shearer w. Benevento & Russo)
11:45 Brazilian Girls
9:45 Perpetual Groove
8:30 PM Jazzam

I'm really looking forward to Brazilian Girls having caught them a couple of years ago at the Virgin Festival in Baltimore. I've been a big fan ever since. They are a bit of a departure from many of the acts one sees at All Good but their groove is infectious and I expect them to get a good reception from the early birds getting their initial vibes on next Thursday. Perpetual Groove should also be a treat. Local boy, Brock Butler, originally from Fredericksburg is a co-founder of this band that got its start in Savannah while Brock attended Savannah College of Art and Design. I spoke with Brock a couple of weeks ago in Savannah and he told me he originally studied Sequential Art at SCAD before becoming a full time musician. Lucky for us he chose music as he's an incredible guitarist.

Here's the rest of the weekend musical itinterary:

Friday, July 11th

2:00 AM Gov't Mule *Late Night*
1:15 SOJA
10:00 Phil Lesh & Friends
9:15 Lettuce
7:45 Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood
7:15 All Mighty Senators
6:00 Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
5:40 Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
4:40 The Avett Brothers
4:20 Basshound
3:20 RAQ
3:00 MJ Project
2:00 PM The Wood Brothers

Saturday, July 12th

2:00 AM Dark Star Orchestra *Late Night*
1:15 The Bridge
10:00 Widespread Panic
9:15 Bassnectar
7:45 Keller Williams w. Moseley, Droll & Sipe
7:15 Pnuma Trio
5:45 Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Soul Stew Revival
5:20 Telepath
4:20 Mike Gordon
4:00 Scrapomatic
3:00 Tea Leaf Green
2:40 Rex Jam
1:40 Hot Buttered Rum
12:30 Outformation
11:30 AM Eric Lindell

Sunday, July 13th

5:00 Michael Franti & Spearhead
4:20 Danielia Cotton
3:00 Railroad Earth
2:30 deSol
1:15 JJ Grey & Mofro
12:00 Bonerama

It's not too late! You'll be able to get tickets at the gate, so grab your tent and a case a beer. It's always a good time and the crowd is a friendly one. Most are too wasted to cause much trouble.

I personally can't wait to get to West, by god, Virginia for this throw down. Music, parties, camping, freaks, hippies, wookies, wastoids, and mayhem. What more could a guy ask for? Hope to bring back pictures.


Unbelievable Catch

Check out this video of a ball girl showing up the left fielder by making a spectacular catch in foul territory. As an ex-ball player, I know how hard these types of catches are. Amazing!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Wishing a big birthday to my bro Wyatt. As he always says: "Growing old is inevitable. Growing up is optional."

Right on brother! Let the good times roll.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cutest Things Ever!

A friend of mine from China sent me pictures of the baby pandas at the Sichuan Wolong Panda Protection and Breeding Center. I was supposed to have visited the Pandas last month but the earthquake foiled that plan. The pictures show one of the recent "baby booms" when they were dealing with 16 baby pandas at once. They are quite serious about their panda breeding over there. When young, the Center staff care for these cute little fellows as if they are human. The cubs are meticulously fed and monitored around the clock.

Once weaned, the panda cubs even attend a kindergarten of sorts where they are taught basic living skills that will help them as adults. Once these guys get up to speed, the cycle starts again with another large group of female giant pandas as they get artificially inseminated.

These are absolutely some of the cutest creatures ever. I wish I could get a job raising these little dudes.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Virginia's 100th Execution

The article in today’s RTD entitled “100th execution will draw opponents” certainly touched many readers as evidenced by the deluge of reader comments attached to it. While I was encouraged by the number of insightful comments from death penalty opponents, I was equally discouraged by the venomous reaction from death penalty advocates. See if you can glean the underlying emotions behind the following reader reactions:

"The hell with taxpayers money taking care of him and anybody else that takes a human life, they should all be put to death! I hope and pray Gov. Kaine finds no reason to stop it!"

"I saw a execution years ago over seas.The man was tried in court on Monday and found guilty and sentence on Wed. and beheaded on Friday. I think that's they way it should go and stoped waisting our tax payers money. And maybe our crime rate will go down."

"Glad to see there are still supporters of the death penalty. How about we make the opponents of the death penalty pay for these lowlifes to be incarcerated for the rest of their lives instead of those who are for the death penalty? Guy goes to prison at 18 for a brutal murder...that's a long time to pay taxes for him to live the rest of his life when his victim didn't get that chance. Make the bleeding hearts pay extra in their taxes to keep him alive if they're so concerned. I say fry 'em."

"I absolutley support the death penalty, the problem is we do not use it in the proper way. We should not wait 10 to 15 years to do the execution we should also go back to the days when it was done in the view of the general public. I am sick of hearing how these murders should be excused because they had a tough life. The problem is they have no regard for life and took no mercy on the victims so there should be no mercy for them. "HANGEM HIGH" they serve no good to society."

"These so called opponents are a joke . I hope none of their loved ones are ever murdered . But if they were , would they still be happy to pay for the monsters meals and a nice clean and air conditioned cell and his health care for the rest of his life ? If it doesn't effect them they just keep spewing the same garbage that their churches have brain washed them to do . They no longer think for themselves . As it stands they are on the side of the murderer and should be treated as such."

"What is the definition of civilized? Was this punks murderous act civilized? Hardly! That's why he deserves a bullet to the back of the head!"

"Punishment should not only equal but should actually be more severe than the crime committed. The only punishment that can equal murder is the death penalty. This man should have been executed years ago. It is a shame he has spent years living at the tax payers expense. Execute this trash now and get on with the next one!"

So, what are the common emotional underpinnings of these comments? How about anger, frustration, alienation, fear, powerlessness? And let’s not forget about the biggie…. HATE!!! I’m reluctant to point this out for fear that I will be construed as an apologist for violent criminals; however, the emotions conveyed by the vehement death supporters don’t seem too far from the emotional traits attributed to the violent offenders that commit these heinous crimes.

How long can we as a society hold on to the same old paradigms? This is no longer the land of John Wayne. We can no longer afford to wave off complicated issues with a cowboyish “hang em high”, “god forgives, I don’t” mentality.

It’s time to face facts. Children who grow into adulthood with the inherent or acquired willingness to kill others don’t come by that proclivity on their own. They learn it by viewing and hearing the hate that we adults spew on a daily basis. When it comes down to it, hate is hate regardless of its justification.


Friday, June 20, 2008

War in Richmond Blogdom

I’ve been away for a while busying myself with pursuits other than blogging. I must say it’s been quite pleasant breaking free from the blog rut. I have resisted both the urge to post, as well the temptation to surf other blog sites. It's been a literary cleansing of sorts. Well, the hiatus ended during a lesser moment yesterday when I paid a visit to good old Imagine my surprise when I found the top 10 lacking in its usual spate of political pontification and fundamentalist fodder. Instead, we have a new kid riding a wave of controversy to the top of the “who’s hot” list. Yep, old Jocelyn Hard Balls has managed to get River City blogging elitist’s collective panties in a large wad.

I can only imagine how delighted Ms./Mr. Hard Balls is to get all this attention. And I must ask: for what? Certainly not for humor or writing skill. Hopefully a lesson was learned by those so eager to be offended by the newcomer’s provocative attempts at humor. If one wants to get rid of a nuisance, simply ignore them.

And with that said I will end with a warm welcome to Jocelyn, whoever you are, and thanks for shaking up the status quo. Now go away.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Day China Stood Still

I recently read an article that described the Chinese people as being emotionally non-expressive and non-aggressive by nature; however, courageous and fearless in the face of adversity.

I witnessed this firsthand last week as the People’s Republic began a three day period of mourning one week following the worst natural disaster their country has seen since the last devastating earthquake of 1976. For the past couple of weeks I have been in Beijing and was moved by both the heroic rescue response to the devastation in Sichuan as well as the dignity and solidarity of the Chinese people in the aftermath of tragedy.

I was traveling through the Olympic Village area last Monday on day one of the three day mourning period. The Government called for all of China to stop and observe a three minute period of silence at 2:28 pm, the time that the first shockwave was felt one-week prior. All vehicles and people were to stop and remain silent. The exception was trucks and busses were to sound their horns. That is exactly what happened. I was in a city of 17 million people, on an extremely busy thoroughfare and everyone stopped dead in their tracks at the stroke of 2:28 pm. It was truly moving and humbling to witness this tribute. I have a hard time imaging such solidarity in the U.S.

Later that evening as I strolled around the area of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, we witnessed spontaneous demonstrations of solidarity as large groups of people marched in the streets behind their National flag shouting CHINA in unison. This was the courageousness that I read about as the people seemed to be shouting in the face of nature’s fury: We are strong and will not be broken!

On the last day of three-day observance, we walked around the Houhai Lake district of the Hutong, the heart of Beijing’s nightlife. Instead of loud music coming out of every restaurant and bar, there was reverent quiet with candles lit on the sidewalks, many of which were arranged in the numbers 5-12-08, the day of the earthquake. No public entertainment or music was played for those three days. No television station aired anything but coverage of the quake. Everything else continued as normal. The City carried on its usual buzz of activity, only in a quieter, more reverent manner. It was truly a wonder to witness.

The Chinese media covered only stories of hope and strength featuring the valiant individuals that were risking or had risked their own safety to rescue others trapped in the Sichuan rubble and devastation. There were no stories of how the local or national response was bungled or how people were screaming at the lack of help they were receiving. This was also refreshing to someone that witnessed the aftermath of Katrina and the swirl of negativity fed by the vulturous media in this country. That type of hopelessness and helplessness doesn’t play well in a country like China that stands strong and united in the face of adversity. I think many in this country could learn a lot from the Chinese people were they to be open enough to do so. There really is strength in numbers, as long as people operate as one.

I met people that were from the areas worst hit and had family there. I expressed my sympathy to them and they graciously expressed appreciation for my sentiment but showed no obvious signs of grief and distress. That type of emotion was either expressed privately or put off until after the crisis period was over. Their attention seemed only toward moving forward and helping the living get back on their feet. The strength and positive attitudes from the people that I met will stay with me for the rest of my life. I truly hope I can visit their country again. They are truly a great nation of people.

Too Good to be True?

I certainly hope not. Got this video and it brightened my day. Imagine the impact this could have on our world.

Monday, May 12, 2008

China Bound

I'm leaving for China tomorrow. And, if traveling in a plane for 14 hours, bound for a country of 1.5 billion people that don't speak English isn't stressful enough, there's earthquake devastation to deal with. Of all the places to choose from, we picked the Sichuan Province to visit. Well, what the hell. We didn't want to be bored. Who knows what we will be encountering. There should be plenty of pictures and stories from this trip. Back in a couple of weeks.


Friday, May 9, 2008

TGIFFF Let's Party!!!!!

Time to BLAST OFF another wild and crazy weekend!!!

Just remember to pace yourself. Your friends do not want to drag you out of situations like this:

And guys please, as the night wears on, remember to check yourself carefully after each visit to the men's room.

For God sakes, be mindful of the law when out partying. Although you may seem invisible when drunk, you are not. Police are always right around the corner.

Whenever possible, take along a designated driver

Designated drivers will help avoid situations like this

or this...

Also, remember alcohol impairs judgment. That hot chick you took home from the bar may not be as appealing to you when you wake up the next morning.

In some circumstances, severe impairment may warrant just staying put and sleeping it off. After all, tomorrow is a new day.

And finally, be respectful of others at all times. Don't be a drunk fool and provoke conflict. There are plenty of folks out there that would just as soon whip your ass as look at you.

So,have a great weekend! Party down but, for goodness sake, be safe.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008


It's beginning to sink in. Six Days to go before heading to the other side of Planet Earth, destination Beijing. Every day from here will bring more last minute preparation and anticipation. After a fourteen hour non-stop flight and a twelve hour time loss, I'll be stepping out into a country totally unfamiliar to the average Westerner..... or, maybe not.

Based on these pics from the Beijing airport, looks like The People's Republic is making great strides toward cultural plurality in preparation for the Olympic invasion. I guess they found out that foreigners are serious about their basic creature comforts.

For those seeking to relieve themselves, there are now choices according to one's method of delivery:

If neither flexible, nor adventurous, have a seat!

Or, cop a squat!

Those with doubts about familiar culinary choices can rest easy as well. These are some of the first sights seen upon arrival to the airport:

If I see an Applebees there I'm going to turn around and come home.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Further Freaky Food Foto Friday

In keeping with my Friday Foto theme, here are some more creative food shots for your artistic appetite! Eat well, live well, and treat yourself to the First Friday Art Walk Tonight!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Progress Report on My Conversion to Conservatism

Man, I’ve been learning a lot reading these, whatcha call conservative political blogs lately. I've been learning what’s right and what’s wrong and what a good American is supposed to believe. I must confess, there are still a few things that I get hung up on but I’m sure that’s just me. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed by any means. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

It’s ok for politicians to be affiliated with religions that have cult-like roots, bizarre separatist rituals, a record of institutional racism, and/or systematic protocols to cover up sexual abuse;


It’s not ok for politicians to have a church pastor that dares to speak out about the U.S. Government’s foreign and domestic policies, or it's record on human rights. That is just wrong because it is hateful and divisive.


It’s ok to use the church pulpit to speak out against the evils of homosexuality, the Nation of Islam, feminism, and liberalism in general. The Bible tells us it’s ok to hate “sin”;


It’s not ok “that a minister would use the sacred Christian pulpit to push his politically driven agenda and use rhetorical techniques to whip up negative and destructive emotions in his congregation” (sacred words of Janice Shaw Crouse not mine). God forbid this ever happens!


Its ok to use acceptable methods of supporting U.S. troops such as displaying yellow ribbon magnets on the backs of SUVs and voting for candidates that support the war effort.


It’s not ok to support our troops by advocating, promoting, or fighting for peace in any organized fashion. Such futile endeavors demoralize our soldiers and annoy those that would otherwise steer our nation in an unobstructed path toward economic superiority.


It’s ok to advocate for tougher immigration laws to keep those undesirable Latin American aliens out of our country.


It’s not ok to criticize the economic policies, consumerist principles, and dependence on cheap labor that created the opportunities for immigrants in the first place.


It’s ok to be extremely skeptical of any scientific research that would support the existence of global warming and to scoff at those that believe the future of our planet is in jeopardy. Such belief is simply reactionary and alarmist and supports a subversive agenda.


It’s not ok to criticize the EPA or any government sanctioned scientific body that would have the where-with-all or political motivation to falsify any research that might threaten this country’s economic agenda. They are simply the best and most independent group of scientific minds in the world. Just ask them.


Ok, that’s enough for one day. I’m sorry if I got any of this wrong. I’m still learning all these conservative principles so please cut me some slack. I’ve been told that I can learn even more, at a quicker pace, if I tune in to AM radio stations owned by Clear Channel Communications. I think I’ll try that. Maybe then some of these universal truths can sink in better. I hear they've got some damn fine radios for cheap over at the Wal Mart. I’m there. Later,

Peace, er… War I mean,


Tornado Damage in Driver

I have the distinction of growing up in a town that virtually no one has ever heard of. Even many folks born and raised in surrounding areas such as Norfolk, Portsmouth, or Hampton are likely never to have heard of it. Imagine my surprise when I read this in the R-T-D following the storms that devastated Suffolk this week. After 100 plus years of anonymity, the little village of Driver gets news coverage for being blown off the map!

Driver is one of those sleepy little crossroads that once functioned as a supply and social hub for the farmers that made up the largest part of the population in Nansemond County. Nansemend County no longer exists, having been swallowed up by the City of Suffolk in the 70s. As a child, I grew up accompanying my grandfather on his daily visits to Driver where he was one of the better known farmers in the area. He was a avid participant in the political affairs of the town, with daily meetings held in the feed and grain store run by his good friend Captain Jack. Then it was on to Mr. Arthur's General Store where the Post Office was located. Mr. Arthur was the town's Postmaster, Grocer, and one of the principle landowners in the township. The store had one of those old glass displays containing their entire selection of assorted candy and treats and if I would stare through the glass long, and longingly enough, I would be granted my choice of the day. Then, if my grandfather would be caught in another extended conversation, I would go across the street to the Driver Variety Store to travel the aisles of old shellaced wooden shelves filled with dusty odds and ends that no one ever bought. Most of their inventory was either outdated or useless, but fun to look at nonetheless. The store was run by Mrs. Birchard, an old woman of part Native American descent, who appeared to me to be at least 120 years old. She sat around an old pot bellied stove with a shawl around her and never had to move because no one ever bought anything. It is that same old store that was completely demolished this week by the tornado.

As all of my family from those parts have either died or moved away, I don't get the chance to visit anymore. With the recent storm however, I feel the need to go back there just to see if anything is left of the boyhood memories I am now struck with. Funny how we never really realize the importance of things until they are gone.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cats Are Strange Creatures

Cats never cease to amaze me. This story from the BBC made me laugh because our cat, Harley has a curious habit of leaving for extended periods (escaping actually), only to show back up a couple of weeks later acting as if nothing has happened. We have never figured out where he goes when on one of his walk abouts. But, he never comes back dirty or emaciated so he must enjoy himself. Who knows, maybe he has another family someplace that wonders the same thing when he comes back to us. At any rate, cats are entertaining and that's why we put up with them.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Freaky Food Foto Friday!

Who knew pictures of food could be so creative and fun?
Happy Friday and bon appetit.


Today is a good day. Not only is it Friday, it's my beautiful partner, Angie's birthday. Birthdays are always fun for us as we are one week apart and get to celebrate both for an entire week. Our birthday weeks usually involve some type of vacation or special road trip to mark the events. This weekend will be spent on the Appalachian Trail with friends and the dogs, revelling in the beauty that is the Blue Ridge in Virginia. Spring should be in full costume now and, with all the recent rain, the shades of green should be quite a sight to behold.

It's hard to believe that we are entering our fourteenth year together. Each year is somehow more special than the last and for that we are truly blessed. Happy thirty-something Ang! It's your day and your world. We are glad to share it with you. Love and Peace,


Another Thing I Will Not be Doing in China

The countdown has begun and in a couple of weeks I'll be barnstorming the People's Republic. I've been joking to friends that I will be wearing a "Free Tibet" tee shirt upon my arrival; however, after seeing this story in the R-T-D, I'm definitely re-thinking that one. These dudes are serious about not freeing Tibet.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

God, I’m a Sick, Sick Man

For those that read my warped crap on any regular basis, questions as to my sanity (or lack thereof) may have already been answered. Given the following e-mail exchange this morning between me, my beautiful partner, and another couple, all doubts or remaining questions may be definitively put to rest:

From Joe (pseudonym)
To: Phil, Angie, Natalie (pseudonym)
Subj: Indian for Lunch

Indian anyone?

From: Phil
To: all

Joe, I thought you were a vegetarian. You can’t be eating Indians for lunch! Sorry, I’m a little punchy from lack of sleep. What time?

From Joe:
To: all

Anytime after 11:30.
What did you do last night?

From Phil:
To: all

Chased Angie around the house in my shark outfit while she pelted me with water balloons.

From Joe:
To: all

If the balloons would have been filled with butterscotch pudding, you would have just described my fetish fantasy. Can I borrow the shark outfit?

From Phil:
To: all

Certainly, as soon as I get it back from the cleaners. Has a few mustard stains. Won’t bore you with that story.

From: Angie
To: all

You guys have fun, I can’t make it. Have tight deadlines and an exhaustive day ahead.

From Phil
To: all

Shame. Guess that also means you’ll be too tired to play on the trapeze tonight.

From: Natalie
To: all

Y’all are sick. I can’t do lunch either.

From: Phil
To: all

I’m still in (if no cannabalism involved).

From: Joe
To: all

Me too, I want to hear the mustard story. Meet you at noon.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Freaky Foto Friday!!!!!

Have you ever wondered what our favorite Hollywood celebs would look like if they were just everyday working class shit kickers. You know the kind of good old plain folks that grace the local Food Lions and Wal Markets of America. Well thanks to our friends at (whoeverthehellthatis), you have to wonder no more! Enjoy:

Pamela Anderson

Jennifer Anniston

David and Posh Beckham

Tommy Cruise

Johnny Freaking Depp!! (hillarious)

Cameron Diaz

Nicole Kidman

Jennifer Lopez and that skinny guy she's married to

And finally, the true Jessica Simpson