Moondog Free Press logo

Moondog Free Press Blog: October 2007

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trick? . . . or Treat!

When asked to write about what makes the best halloween candy, or "treats" as it were, that's easy. Of course the nice middle aged people whose kids are grown and have plenty of money left over after stuffing their IRAs have huge brimming baskets of quality chocolate items such as 3 musketeers, butterfingers, and almond joys (what kids eat almonds AND coconut?!). Those are the best houses. And when the plastic pumpkin gets too full or too heavy, the parent must lighten the load and polish off at least three reese's cups or maybe some starburst.

If you actually have kids there is the dilema of whether to accompany your kids or stay home and pass out candy. Both activities have benefits and drawbacks. Going out with the kiddies is fun, until your 3 year old becomes literally paralyzed with fear and you have to maneuver the stroller and hold a small child and hold the candy and approach the front door. Then folks start getting tired and cry and all that business, and you start to cuss your smarter half who is at home watching CSI, ALONE in SILENCE until the idling busted muffler and car door slam. Voices approach, was that a cuss word? Door bell rings ferociously. Open the door. There is an assortment of people mostly under the age of 16, but it's hard to tell, holding kroger bags open and staring at you. "Am I being robbed?" Your middle class mores are challenged. "Shouldn't they at least say 'Trick or treat'?" Usually these kids have no costumes or maybe the littlest one has something adorable on like a Freddy Krueger get up or the charming bloody scream mask.And every year I think the same thing, "Halloween costumes are not that expensive and you can still make one even cheaper." So what's the deal? Is this one of those let's get back at the white folks, or the big city folks or whatever, and their uptight asses. We'll go get free candy. So, I usually end up getting the bargain bag of candy full of tootsie rolls and smarties. If quality chocolate comes into this house, the grown ups get first dibs. Besides, too much candy gives kids cavities and what kind of parent would sanction that?

The thing I must sanction as a parent is full Halloween acknowledgement. It is not harvest festival; we are not going to the freakin' Trunk or Treat in the mega church parking lot. (Whatchu gonna do with all that junk in yo trunk?) This is glorious Halloween. Time for devils and good ol' witches and all that stuff. You can't get all pleasant about Easter with its fertility invoking colored eggs, horny bunnies, and bounty of chicks without paying tribute to the inevitability and horror of death, as the nights grow longer and chillier and the moon stares down from its widow's veil. Just pray that it's not too chilly because nothing sucks more than having to wear a coat over your Halloween costume.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pop Will Eat Itself or Eulogy for Starwood

By E.G. Turpin for Moondog Free Press

Several years ago, when I was in college, there was a trendy little ensemble oh so cleverly named Pop Will Eat Itself. I loved saying the name even more than the few songs I had heard by the group. Back in 1995,I was excited at the prospect of seeing those crazy guys right here in Murfreesboro, but alas, I fell asleep watching NIN after becoming so disappointed that Pop Will Eat Itself was a no-show for the evening.

Yes, that's right, the perpetual sawing, grinding and screaming of Nine Inch Nails put me right to sleep. Even the oooh so gruesome, so apalling, creepily sped up grainy film footage of maggots feasting on dead rabbits couldn't keep me interested in Trent Reznor's little ego trip. I just wanted to see Pop Eat Itself, not maggots eat bunnies!

Well, as it turned out, I have watched pop eat itself. Once the recording industry started actually counting what was really being sold, it became apparent that “indie” was big, and that rap was not really crap after all. The industry diversified and exploded. And here we are in the age of American Idol and I-tunes. Did you just hear a great song on a luxury sedan commercial? Go download it. In your underwear. Am I the only one who feels hugely uncool when I hear new songs on commercials? But hearing a pop tune already gathering dust in my collection, carefully selected by hip ad execs -- ah yes, “you restoreth my soul. You leadeth me to Starbucks drive thru.” Which brings me to Starwood.

I spent many a starry night on the lawn at Starwood. It really was a nice place to go to a show. Nice like sneaking a pint of Jim Beam in the small of my back, puking during “Sweet Child of Mine” and then rallying to rush the stage for “Back in the Saddle Again.” Nice like the Smokin' Grooves tour featuring The Fugees, Pharcyde, and *cough cough* Cypress Hill. Nice like fighting for my right to party with the Beastie Boys and watching Run rock rhymes. Like Bob Dylan not speaking a word to the audience. Like Sting not shutting up. Nice like giggling at Spinal Tap with Dr. Moondog. But the days of paying a reasonable sum to see a couple of bands play on a summer night seem to be over. Oh I'm old and I'm sure there are hot spots and cool bars, just like always. But going to the GEC/Sommet sucks. And as I write this parents are paying hundreds of dollars for their daughters to see Hannah Montana. What is wrong here?

Pop music is everywhere. It has gotten to the point that I enjoy it when a store manager has forgotten to turn on the ubiquitous shopping soundtrack. I knew things had gotten out of hand when I was gleefully whistling pushing my shopping cart with a perky wifey gait as Green Day filled the aisles of Kroger. WTF? What has this world come to? What's next? Maybe a little Holiday in Cambodia at the dentist's office? How about some 2 live crew at the DMV? “Hey hey we want some (expletive deleted).

My girl friend and I escaped our housewife drudgery one afternoon to have a few beers. feeling a little crazy, we went to a local dive, as opposed to having apple tini's at O'Charley's – how predictable is that?! What should play on the jukebox, as Mexicans shoot pool and blood shot house framers down shots quietly and anonymously at the bar, why the old Red Hot Chili Pepper's standard, “I want to party on your pussy.”
Hmmm, even we blushed, downed our beers and made quiet retreats into the bright sunlight. I am confused. What goes where?

The last time I visited my old friend, the also now deceased Tower Records, I was stunned and apalled that I, at age 39, was practically the youngest person in there. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, $20 Compact Disc, it tolls for thee . . .

Where were all the skinny, bespeckled guys with their sonic youth tee shirts? What happened to all the temporary lesbians periodically checking to see who was checking if they were holding hands with their girlfriends? Replaced with middle aged fat guys in the jazz section, or gasp, vocalists. Oh, and me, actually reading the backs of rap cds and checking the X section. X, XTC, Yello, . . . yup, Warren Zevon, ZZ Top. We're done here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Having trouble with the feed

It's always something.

UPDATE: the feed is working again 10/23/07 @ 11:49 AM

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sailing away

The Cub Scouts hold an event called the Raingutter Regatta. It's a sailboat race along a 10-foot section of raingutter with the kids providing the boat's power by blowing on the sail through a straw. Each scout gets a kit which includes a wooden hull and mast, plastic sail and rudder, and a metal keel. The kids build and decorate the boats with the help of a parent, and trophies are given to the winners. There are also awards given for Best Paint Job, Crowd favorite, etc.

Little Boy Moonpuppy (LBM) is enormously excited about the whole deal, and quite frankly, so am I. My father was away on business a lot when I was a child, and as a result most of my father-son projects ended up being just "-son" projects. I can still remember watching my first Pinewoood Derby car disintegrate as it rolled down the track. It looked like it ran over a tiny IED. With that Cat's in the Cradle moment etched in my brain, I made up my mind that LBM and I were going to build the coolest, fastest, most original little Cub Scout sailboat the world has ever seen.

The specifications for the boats are pretty basic:
  • Hull: No longer than 7" or shorter than 6 1/2"
  • Mast: 6 1/2" from deck to top
  • Keel: Supplied in kit
  • Rudder: Supplied in kit
  • Sail: Supplied in kit
I watched a YouTube video of a race , and I saw the main drawback with the boats is their tendency to tip over. One solution to this problem would be to split the hull in half and convert the boat into a Catamaran, but when I tipped my hand about this plan to the scoutmaster, he said that was not allowed. It is not mentioned in the specs, but it is not allowed? Oh well, back to the drawing board.

Note: I have another idea, but I'm not going to post it here until after the race. Moondog Toy Boat Inc. is taking our Reseach and Developmet underground.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Play Ball!

I was not a star athlete as a kid. I rarely got picked first for any team unless one of my friends was a captain, but I never got picked last either. That was fine with me, because I wasn't overly interested in team sports anyway. Still, when my turn came to hit, kick, throw, run, or catch, I always gave it my all. Why? Because I wanted to win! I wanted to score. I wanted to get the other guy out. I didn't want to let my team down. My father and every coach I can remember would tell me things like, "do your very best and you can always walk off the field with your head held high ", and "be gracious in victory and dignified in defeat", and I tell the moonpuppies the same things.

Little Boy Moonpuppy (LBM) is signed up for a Winter YMCA Basketball League, and he starts practice next week. It is his first foray into organized team sports, and he is very excited (he attended 1 week football and basketball camps at the Y over the summer). I have met the coaches, and they are stand up guys who believe, as I do, that the primary focus of coaches in this age group (6-8 yrs) should be teaching the rules and fundamentals of the game and good sportsmanship. But the league also has a rule stating "all participants of each team will have the opportunity to play at least half of the game regardless of skill level." That is where I have I have a bit of a problem. Playing sports at this level should be fun, and all of the kids should get into the game, but I think it is wrong to teach them that just showing up gets you the same playing time as the kids that really pay attention and put forth their best efforts (or maybe just play better). Where is the motivation for the kids to work at improving their skills?

LBM is a very competitive kid, even with himself. He keeps track of the most free throws and football catches he's made. He even asks me to time him from the bus stop to the front door every afternoon. His personal best is 22 seconds, down from 26 seconds. He is proud of this, and he likes to mention it to anyone who will listen. I warned him about bragging, and he replied, "I'm not bragging, I'm just getting better."

I am not a Sports Dad. Playing basketball this year was LBM's idea, not mine. I want him to have fun playing sports and enjoy being a kid (right now he is more concerned about what number he will wear, than the playing time he'll get). At the same time, I don't want him to learn that practice, skill, and talent are irrelevant. Am I out of line here? If any parents out there are reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Boxers or the Other Boxers?

Vote for what I should wear tomorrow in comments! (Scooby Doo, Mister Bubble, Mister Potato Head, Mr. Incredible, or Pink Floyd).

Not Going Green Today

I noticed this emblem on the back of my truck this morning. I've had the truck for 8 years, but I never paid any attention to "the leaf" before. As it turns out, my little truck is green. It can run on ethanol (E85) with no modifications at all. I was excited for about five minutes. Then I found out the nearest location that sells E85 is 40 miles away, and E85 ethanol reduces miles per gallon by 29%.

I recycle; I switched to high efficiency light bulbs, and I try to combine trips in automobiles to conserve fuel when possible. I even go around the house turning off lights and televisions (and yell at the moonpuppies to "Close that door. I'm not paying to air-condition the whole neighborhood"). But as long as going green requires me to make an 80 mile round trip for a fill up and greatly reduces my mileage as part of the bargain, it's just not going to happen.