Monday, August 30, 2004

The Meeting I Missed
If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd know the impact of OCF on ROI. If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd know why "measurables" and "objectives" are now "matrices" and "deliverables." If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd know if Thomas truly urinated in his pants or if that was just a figure of speech.

If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd have realized sooner that Anna is a dead ringer for Fred Flintstone in drag. Remember that episode where Fred and Barney dress up like strippers and pop out of cakes to raise money to get Fred's bowling ball out of hock? (Or did I dream that?) Fred in a dress and pearls: That's Anna, all right. Word is, Anna went on and on about audience development and monetization and multidirectonal postcompulsory learning opportunities and I would have sat there thinking, "We'll have a gay old time" and then imagined Dino putting Anna outside and Anna pounding on the door and shouting, "Wilma!"

If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd have found out if that new Richard guy is real or a fictional character. His résumé made him sound like a cross between Captain Ahab and that old Irish patriarch in that Steinbeck story -- what was his name? Well, that's not important now. What's important is that Richard's sturdy but kind; tough but contemplative; and bold with a nutty aftertaste that goes well with a smoky cheese and a pale ale.

If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd have seen Peter attack all of Carrie's deeply held views via PowerPoint. They say his presentation was a knockout. Software makes passive aggression SO convenient.

If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd have seen Martha turn into a bobblehead each time the Chief spoke. She always rocks back and forth and nods her head at everything he says, as if to say, "Sir, my only wish is that there were more body language options available to me to further express how I completely agree with your every utterance!"

I bet if The Chief said, "Now let's all take turns hitting Martha upside the head with a pipe wrench," she'd just bobble away in an enthusiastic endorsement of his plan. As would we all.

If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd have been tempted to make a motion to vote on which is more unattractive: Henry's under-the-belt fat or Leon's over-the-belt fat. It's a tough call. Henry pulls his pants up almost to his armpits, forcing his belly down into his trousers, where it rests like a swollen piglet. Leon lets his belly push his pants down around his hips, making his gut suitable for projecting presentations onto. Just once, I'd like to see one of them put the belt where the belt's supposed to go.

If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd have been there when everybody frantically had to tell Antonio, "When Karen said 'if you throw enough shit at the wall, something's bound to stick' she didn't mean it literally."

If I'd gone to that meeting, I would have rolled my eyes at Henry, who was wearing the "Vote YES to Marriage" button he got from the Homophobia Alliance's booth at the Kentucky State Fair. Henry is miserable in his own heterosexual marriage and finds it necessary to express his contempt for both homosexuality and marriage wherever he goes. Curiously, he also finds it necessary to play k. d. lang's "Constant Craving" practically nonstop in his cubicle.

If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd have been present at the birth of some powerful new jargon: "Prioritize Among the Priorities," "Village Incubators," "Unified Interactive System," "PANE," "Value-Added Usability."

If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd have silently mouthed the word "wanker" fifty billion times. Also, "wanky wankers of wankitude" and "wankathon." Maybe even "wankgasm." If I'd gone to that meeting, my thought balloon would have read, "Do dogs call meetings to discuss how to lick their genitals?"

You can see the tracks Henry's comb left in his hair. If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd have noticed those tracks.

If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd have averted my eyes from Todd and Ashley's constant touching. They're having an affair or a pre-affair or an extreme flirtation or perhaps a Formerly Platonic Interaction Matrix or maybe it's nothing, but they touch. They sit next to each other and graze feet or knees or shoulders. Todd will place his arm on Ashley's armrest and whisper into her ear and I don't think he's talking about Henry's comb tracks or Leon's over-the-belt fat or prioritizing or usability or ROI. Then, Ashley's eyes smile back and I don't think she's thinking about measurables or deliverables or monetization. Personally, I think they are working on their own Unified Interactive System with Value-Added Usability. Love is in the air. Which is actually kind of a nice break from the carpet fibers and fluorescent cooties and monitor radiation that normally are in the air. But still, the best policy is to avert your eyes, which is what I would have done.

If I'd gone to that meeting, I would have had to watch the Chief blow a gasket when Jewel admitted the timeline on the data project had slipped a month. Post-meeting reports indicate that Jewel had a bad cold and had overdressed for the occasion, hoping both of those factors would mitigate the Chief's fury. So she sat there sniffling and looking puny but overdressed, while he spewed venom and saliva. There is only so much an illness and fashion can compensate for.

If I'd gone to that meeting, I'd have marveled yet again at Kentucky's rich cultural diversity, as Anna's (Carmen), Peter's (Turkey in the Straw), Martha's (When Doves Cry) Todd's (It's Gettin' Hot in Herre), and Leon's (Take Me Out to the Ballgame) cell phones rang.

Saliva and venom and snot and deliverables and genital-licking and matrices and shit and comb tracks and under-belt-fat and monetization and urination. That's why I don't go to meetings: too messy.

Monday, August 23, 2004


Dear Oh, For God's Sake,

I read your Essential Jams blogs [Parts 1 and 2] and I didn't see a single thing by Ronan Tynan, Pavarotti, Cecilia Bartoli, or even Russell Watson. And then there was also the absence of Mary Black and Kevin Conneff. I guess the only remedy would be to have Ben enroll in a music appreciation class.



Dear Mom,

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Irish tenor.
Irish tenor who?
Irish ten or twelve anvils would fall on that singer's head so he'd quit singing. Just kidding! Thanks for your list. I gave it to your grandson and he was delighted and enchanted and then went into the kitchen, turned on Incubus really loud and made a sandwich.

Rock on,

Oh, For God's Sake


Dear Oh, For God's Sake,

Better late than never: Here are the Five Essential Albums Ben Should Own, in no particular order:

The Who - Quadrophenia
Drugs, angst, drunk parents, peer pressure, excellent music and Les Tart belly boppin me at Deer Creek. If you put a gun to my head and said what's your favorite album, this is it.

The Beatles - Abbey Road
A little tough love here. Just because the radio or your friends or whatever burned you out on The Beatles doesn't mean your son should be deprived. The second side is the funnest and silliest RnR has to offer.

Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Another fun 60 minutes of music from beginning to end. Reg Dwight is the best pianist in RnR and Ray Cooper is the best percussionist.

Rush - 2112
Oh yeah, 20 years after blowing my tweeters I still can't resist turning the knob up to 10. Attention ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION, we have assumed control. Kind of sounds like John Ashcroft.

Crosby Stills Nash and Young - Deja Vu
Sex, drugs, rock and roll, peace, love, NO WAR. Wow, we need that album as much now as in the late 60's. The yang to Quadrophenia's yin.

Also Rans:
Led Zepplin - I, II, IV, XOXO
Moody Blues - Days of Future Past, To our Children's...
Neil Young - After the Gold Rush, Harvest, Comes a Time, Live Rust
John Mellencamp - Scarecrow
Indigo Girls - self titled
Melisa Ethridge - self titled
Dan Fogleberg - Souvenirs, Self titled
Fleetwood Mac - Rumors
Pink Floyd - Dark side of the Moon, The Wall

As a side note, Ben should have a copy of Tchaikovsky - The 1812 Overture, the nearest classical to rock.



Dear Ponger,

OK, OK, the Beatles were great (though I think we can all agree they were no Golden Earring). And I'll thank you not to bring up that belly incident from The Who concert again. This is a family blog. Thanks for your list. [The Melissa Ethridge and Indigo Girls albums came after the 1986 deadline, but we're nothing if not lenient here at OFGS.]


Oh, For God's Sake


Dear Oh, For God's Sake,

Greetings from inside the beltway. Sorry I'm late but this is the product of six co-workers:

Paul D – short and to the point:

Pet Sounds
The Wall
Who's Next
KC & the Sunshine Band's Greatest Hits

Brett, resident cynic, Clash aficionado, and smokin’ geetar player:

Here's what I fornicated drunkenly to (I left Prince out):
The Clash - The Clash
Quadrophenia - The Who
Essential - Bob Dylan
Fillmore East - Allman Brothers Band
Are You Experienced - Jimi Hendrix

If I make it to grad school:
Shakti - John McLaughlin
Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart
Blue - Joni Mitchell
Koln - Keith Jarrett
Kind of Blue - Miles Davis


Queen: Live Magic
Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
Aerosmith: Permanent Vacation*
Def Leppard: Hysteria (hey, you didn't say that I couldn't have Def Leppard on my list)*
The Doors: The Doors

*Technically, these didn't come out until 1987, but I think they're important enough to include anyway.

Josh – Shelbyville resident, Iowan by birth, and the friendliest black-belt wearing Irish redhead I know:

Couldn't stick to 5. And I don't think you can represent the artists with just one album. But if you have to pick go with the (*)s

The Who - Quadrophenia* or Kids are Alright
The Rolling Stones - Forty Licks or Sticky Fingers*
Led Zeppelin - How the West was Won* [even though it was a recent release, it's from a pinnacle concert series] or Led Zeppelin (II or IV)
Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced
Bob Marley - Legend
Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde or The times they are a changin'*
Neil Young - Decade
The Velvet Underground - Loaded
Joni Mitchell - Blue
Greatful Dead - American Beauty* or Terrapin Station
The Doors - The Doors
Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge over Troubled Water

John – music critic and critically acclaimed senior Help writer:

Okay, so obviously I am arriving late to the game. And, a lot of you have mentioned a lot of albums that I would also put on my list as essential listening. In an effort to avoid duplication, I am only going to mention albums no one else has mentioned, or different albums by some of the same artists that have been mentioned. And, I can't limit it to five no matter how hard I try.

Parliament: First Thangs
Neil Young: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Iggy and the Stooges: Fun House, Raw Power
Sly and the Family Stone: Greatest Hits
Frank Zappa: Hot Rats
Led Zeppelin: Physical Graffiti
Birds: Live at the Filmore East 1969
R.E.M: Life's Rich Pageant
Nick Drake: Pink Moon
U2: Joshua Tree (recorded in 1986, perhaps released in 1987)
Fairport Convention: Liege and Lief
Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited, Rolling Thunder Revue 1975 (live)
Pink Floyd: Meddle, Dark Side (the only reason anyone dislikes this record is because they've heard it too much; I know 'cause I used to be one of them)
Flying Burrito Brothers: Gilded Palace of Sin

I'm forgetting a million other things...

And finally, my list. I had a terrible time narrowing it down, but what can you do with only 5 choices:

David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground & Nico
Neil Young - Harvest
Bob Dylan - Desire
Pink Floyd - Animals

Honorable mentions:

John Lennon - Imagine
The Kinks - The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society
Led Zeppelin - Four or Physical Graffiti
Joni Mitchell - Blue
The Who - Who's Next?
The Clash - London Calling
Talking Heads - Talking Heads
Television - Marqee Moon
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Self-titled
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Rolling Stones - Exile on Main Street
Paul McCartney & Wings - Band on the Run
Bob Marley - Songs of Freedom Box Set - Not released before '86, but all of the songs included were pre-'86, and this is the definitive Marley collection.
U2 - War
R.E.M. - Murmur
The Grateful Dead - American Beauty
Pink Floyd - Shine On Box Set – again, not a pre-’86 release, but all albums included fit the criteria.
Tom Waits – Closing Time, Swordfishtrombones

And, as an added bonus for being so late in delivering this fine mess of artists, here's a link to a scrumptious list of the Top 100 Albums of the 1970s by Pitchfork Media, a leading online reference for what’s “hip” in an uber-hip world.


Mark H.

Dear Mark,

Great stuff in there, especially KC & the Sunshine Band. Can somebody over there please slap Paul D for me? Please tell all the Apparitions OFGS says "hey." Steve Inskeep, too.


Oh, For God's Sake


Dear Oh, For God's Sake,

Ben owes us one. I think he should suggest some music that the kids are listening to.



Dear Scott,

Great idea! No reason he shouldn't anguish over this like we did. Ben and his pals Tyler, Coleman, Wes and Jordan came up with this list for you:

Ben Harper - Live From Mars
Jack Johnson - On and On
Tenacious D - Tenacious D
Dashboard Confessional - Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
Dave Matthews Band - Any Live CD Will Do (Chicago and New York are my two favs)
Nirvana - Unplugged in New York
Nirvana - Never Mind
Pearl Jam - Ten (Pretty much anything from the Grunge era: Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Jane’s Addiction, Sound Garden, Smashing Pumpkins, Mud Honey)
Sublime - 40 oz to Freedom
Sublime - Sublime
My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves
Incubus - Morning View
Rage Against the Machine - Evil Empire
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Greatest Hits
Dr. Dre - Still D.R.E.
Death Row - Greatest hits (old Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Dre, Easy E and 2pac)
Elton John - Honky Chateau
Joss Stone - Soul Sessions
Ben Kweller - Sha Sha
Something Corporate - Leaving Through a Window


Ben for Oh, For God's Sake


Dear Oh, For God's Sake,

Regarding At, Not With: I love those Southeast Christians who display bumper stickers with slogans like "Proud To Be An American" and "Proud To Be The Heterosexual Parent Of A Heterosexual Honor Student." Isn't Pride still one of the seven deadlies, or has Peter Drucker redacted their edition of the bible? And isn't "In Case Of Rapture This Car Will Be Unmanned" pretty damned prideful, too?


Dear Zan,

I contacted Southeast Christian Church and here's how it works: Once the God Dome processes your American Express card, you are instantly eligible to opt out of Christianity's sins on a sliding scale (peccadilloes are on special this month!), while continuing to hold non-Southeast Christians accountable via bumper stickers, newspaper racks, browbeating, coercion, and eternal lakes of hellfire. Similarly, with your paid membership, you are fully excused from such Christian hassles as being free from sin before casting the first stone, doing unto others as they would do unto you and loving your enemies. Killing is still discouraged, but allowable under certain sociopolitical conditions, such as fear of the unfamiliar or race-, gender-, sexual-orientation- or faith-related indignation. See church for details. Piety sold separately

Drucker has indeed made some edits to the God Dome bible. Instead of Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, and Sloth, their official Deadlies include Pacifism, Taxes, Regulation, Homosexuality, Multilateralism, Inclusiveness, and Gun Control.

(For you out-of-towners who are interested in getting in on this action, Southeast Christian Arena is located in Louisville, just off I-64. Hang a left at the large statue of a needle with the neon camel passing through its eye. Known affectionately as LordMart, The God Dome, or Six Flags Over Jesus, it is also the site of the annual UK/U of L basketball game.)

Sincerely, Oh, For God's Sake


Dear Oh, For God's Sake,

Is this unintentionally funny? According to "Reaching For Glory," Lyndon Johnson's secret White House tapes, edited by Michael Beschloss, Lady Bird Johnson called Jackie Kennedy on Christmas 1963 and said, among other things, "I hope your children are gay."



Dear JoAnne,

Yes. It would have been even funnier if Jackie Kennedy had replied, "What a queer thing to say."


Oh, For God's Sake


Dear Oh, For God's Sake,

How about this line from Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice?"

"From the farther disadvantage of Lydia's society she was of course carefully kept, and though Mrs. Wickham frequently invited her to come and stay with her, with the promise of balls and young men, her father would never consent to her going."



Dear Sandy,

Yes. Just about any sentence that includes "with the promise of balls" has a good chance at being funny.


Oh, For God's Sake


Dear Oh, For God's Sake,

You didn't contact us! We're not even writing now!


Southeast Christian Church

P. S. Golden Earring rocks!

Dear Six Flags Over Jesus,

Oops. Busted.


Oh, For God's Sake


Dear Oh, For God's Sake,

Nobody Died when Oh, For God's Sake Lied!



Dear Rusty,

Now, now. Let he who is without sin cast the... oh, wait. Are you all paid up at the God Dome? Oh, never mind...


Oh, For God's Sake

Write to Oh, For God's Sake

Monday, August 16, 2004

Suburban Dining: Come See What All the Fuss is About!
One of the greatest aspects of Louisville is the dynamic energy that comes from its fast-growing suburbs. All around us, gleaming cities are taking the place of once-tedious natural landscapes. And perhaps the most exciting feature of this vibrant upsurge is the plethora of innovative dining establishments that are springing up around us. If you've been stuck in the city, dining on the wearisome fare of locally owned establishments, take a break from monotony by experiencing the unique cuisine at some of these delightful suburban bistros, all of which I can enthusiastically recommend:

At first, my dining companion and I were a bit confused because O'Charley's advertisements located them "At the Corner of Good Food and Good Times," when in fact the restaurant turned out to be located at Springhust Towne Center, which we eventually found after a two-hour search. However, that turned out to be the evening's only miscue and soon we were dining on this Irish-themed restaurant's unique cuisine, including "Chicken O'Tenders" and "O'Thentic Spinach and Artichoke Dip." How Irish is that?! After our appetizer course, I chose the Classic Caesar Salad, which included both cheese and croutons. Each bite was like a dream about softly kissing an attractive-but-non-stuck-up Hollywood movie star; perhaps Salma Hayek (but not as Frida Kahlo). My companion opted for the Three Cheese Bacon Steakburger, which was featured on the restaurant's Low-Carb menu. It was fantastic, especially considering how healthy it was! Of course, what Irish dinner would be complete without beer? We washed down our inventive meal with a couple of pints of Budweiser Light, which is a refreshing beer with no aftertaste whatsoever. As if that weren't enough, the restaurant also offers an extensive seafood menu of both grilled shrimp and fried shrimp.

As soon as we took one look at the menu at Applebee's at 9201 Hurstbourne Lane, we knew we'd never seen anything like it before. The menu features quirky dishes like Chicken "Fingers," "Buffalo" Wings, and the Bacon Cheeseburger, which cleverly combines bacon, cheese and a hamburger for a unique taste sensation. When you consider that the menu also includes such diverse dishes as Chicken Alfredo and Nachos Nuevos, you realize you are on a virtual tour of world cuisine. It's almost like being at Epcot! Feeling daring, I chose the Chicken Caesar Salad but decided to put the kitchen to the test by ordering it without chicken. My dining companion ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger, which was one of the many options available on Applebee's healthy Weight Watchers menu. The kitchen deftly served my salad sans chicken but accidentally included sliced steak instead. (No matter: my dining companion graciously offered to eat the steak!) Garlic croutons more than made up for the minor slipup. Each bite of that salad was like winning the Powerball with 12 friends, but then getting to keep all the money when the others are gunned down by a disgruntled co-worker. An extensive seafood menu includes salmon. Tip: If you're a former smoker, ask for a non-smoking table near the bar. You'll get all the benefits of smoking six packs of cigarettes with none of the guilt or expense!

For a totally original dining experience, consider Rafferty's at 988 Breckenridge Lane. In addition to an ambitious array of appetizers, salads, and entrees, this pleasant eatery features a festive outdoor patio overlooking the parking lot. On a recent evening, my dining companion and I sampled Rafferty's inventive Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad and the Half Pound Backyard Burger, which comes topped with smoked bacon. Each bite of my salad was like getting released from the asylum on a crisp autumn morning that eventually gives way to a sunny afternoon warm enough to reawaken the mosquitoes. Zesty appetizers include Chicken "Fingers" and "Buffalo-Style Hot Fingers." An extensive "Fresh from the Docks" menu includes both grilled and "blackened" fish, which our server explained is a "Cajun" method of preparing food. Delicious AND exotic! We enjoyed our fine meal with an amusing, nay, droll house zinfandel, which nicely complemented my salad's seasoned croutons. Chicken Alfredo and Deep Dish Lasagna add international flair to this outstanding restaurant's menu.

Just when you think you've seen it all on the idiosyncratic suburban dining scene, along comes Cheddar's Casual Cafe, at 10403 Westport Road. Right away, you'll notice that the staff at Cheddar's is top notch. From the charming hostesses attired in a prostitution theme to the mildly retarded busboys, everyone at Cheddar's is determined to entertain and serve you. On a recent weekend evening, my dining companion and I sampled some of Cheddar's extensive menu, including the appetizer menu's Chicken Tenders (and their spicy cousins, the Cajun Tenders) and such entrees as the innovative Classic Caesar Salad and the "World Class Bacon Cheeseburger." The latter includes four slices of bacon and two slices of cheese, but if you're not watching your weight your server will be glad to bring you extra from an astonishing array of cheeses: American, Jack, or the namesake Cheddar. Each bite of my Caesar Salad was like being under the influence of a prescription drug that deadens pain and makes Shaker furniture comfortable. An extensive seafood menu features both shrimp and salmon. There's even an intercontinental touch: the smoke wafting into the dining room from the bar will make you think you're in a nightclub in Casablanca or a coffee house in Amsterdam!

Max & Erma's
Adventurous diners won't want to miss Max & Erma's on Timber Ridge Drive in Prospect. Just take one look at the charming, sports-themed wall decorations, and you know you're in for F U N fun! But the magic isn't just hanging from the walls. It's in the kitchen, too, where Max & Erma's talented chefs are working some culinary wonderment. Take for instance the Chicken "Finger" Dinner, which comes not with French fries like you might expect, but with Mashed Potatoes. How's that for original? Even better, when my dining companion asked to substitute fries for the mashed potatoes, Max & Erma's cheerfully made the substitution for a nominal fee. That's service with a smile! I ordered the Caesar Salad, which is available with either chicken or -- for an exotic taste treat -- salmon. Each bite of salad was like having a sniper shoot at your vehicle from an overpass but miss. But that's not all Max & Erma's has up its sleeve: The menu also features a Burger Stack for the health nuts in the crowd. The Burger Stack features two burgers topped with melted cheddar and Swiss cheese and crispy bacon and it packs only 5 carbs! How do they do it? After such a healthy meal, who could blame you for indulging in dessert? Don't miss Max & Erma's whimsical build-your-own sundae bar, built right into an antique bathtub. [Editor's note: The sundae bar was temporarily unavailable on our visit because a confused youngster mistook the bathtub for a real bathtub, took off his clothes and climbed in.]

Beef O'Brady's
How could a restaurant that pokes fun at the drunken Irish and the scrumptiousness of beef NOT be fun? This delightful restaurant at 239 Blankenbaker Parkway is truly unique, with its clever sports-themed wall decor and its abundance of televisions hanging from every nook and cranny. (TVs are even in the restrooms, adjacent to the toilets and above the urinals! How's that for attention to detail?) But there's more than ESPN on the menu at Beef O'Brady's. On a recent evening, my dining companion and I started off our evening with a basket of Beef O'Brady's signature Chicken "Fingers," which were perfectly deep-fried and seasoned with just a hint of Krispy Kremes and a subtle flavor that suggested the phlegm of teenagers. For our main course, I decided to go with the Chicken Caesar Salad, which is available with grilled, fried, or "buffalo" chicken. (I ordered mine without chicken, which our charming server reluctantly allowed, but not without a friendly rolling of her eyes.) My companion's Bacon O'Brady Burger was seasoned with shavings from the freeze-dried soul of Barry Williams, the actor who played Greg Brady on the 70s sitcom "The Brady Bunch." According to my dining companion, each bite was like Christmas-morning cunnilingus. As a toast to the inebriation of the Irish, we washed it all down with Killian's Red, a dapper brew with a third-world finish.

Ruby Tuesday
When you're in the mood for something completely outrageous, try Ruby Tuesday at 11701 Bluegrass Pkwy. From the wacky signs on the walls to the versatile menu, you'll know you're in for a change of pace. My dining companion and I certainly ate something out of the ordinary when we bit into Ruby Tuesday's "Chicken Tenders." Succulent tenders of chicken were deep fried in a batter reminiscent of the Three Stooges episode in which Moe ran Shemp's hair through a meat grinder. For our entrees, my dining companion ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger, which sensuously melted in her mouth, ran down her chin, and dripped onto her fries, which were as fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside as a pregnant cockroach. I went with the low-carb (no croutons!) Caesar Salad. Each bite was like finding out that the mysterious new lump inside your scrotum is just scar tissue from your vasectomy. We washed it all down with frosty mugs of an effervescent little beer called Miller Genuine Draft, which had the tang of eggshells bathed in stagnant water.

TGI Friday's
As soon as you step inside TGI Friday's at 9990 Linn Station Road you'll ask yourself, "Why did I come here?" And you'll answer yourself, "Because it's so hip!" Friday's cleverly adorns its brick walls with athletic memorabilia and its plates with a variety of exciting fare, such as Sesame Jack Chicken "Strips," Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, and the Bacon Cheeseburger. The delightful "strips" were coated in sesame seeds (which were easily scraped off later), expertly French fried, and served with Jack Daniel's dipping sauce (which we avoided so as not to besmirch the integrity of the "strips"). For dinner, my dining companion's Bacon Cheeseburger sent her into a paroxysm of near-Anna-Nichole-Smith proportions, while my Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad was infused with the aroma and insouciance of a Paris plumber. Each bite of Romaine was like spying your ex-lover's crumpled Taurus at the end of a long traffic jam. We washed down our delectable meal with Coors Light, a haughty-yet-grouchy concoction with a fine milquetoast finish. Your date will never drive you to mind-numbing boredom at Friday's: They've conveniently placed televisions throughout the restaurant making sure that intimate conversation is strictly optional. An extensive seafood menu includes both fish and chips and shrimp and chips.

That's just a sampling of the incredible array of dining options available in Louisville's eclectic suburbs. Unfortunately, there are far too many restaurants to cover here. Clearly, there's more to Louisville's suburbs than spacious homes on large lots, dazzling discount department stores, and immense churches. So come out to the suburbs and find out what all the fuss is about!

Monday, August 09, 2004

Going Down
So I'm waiting for the elevator and when it finally comes a guy gets off leaving the empty elevator smelling like cologne that, if applied to a dumpster, would keep the flies off. I get in and push M and when the elevator stops one floor down a woman gets in who is very pretty except her lips point down all frowny. I want to tell her the cologne isn't mine but I can't think of a way to say it without making her think A) I think I am too good for cologne or B) I am flirting with her.

I don't know her. It's just that I don't want one single human to associate me with that smelly cologne. But the more I think about how I might bring up the subject of the cologne, the more I notice the frowny lips and how they don't belong with the rest of her. I wonder if the lips go up when she smiles, so I smile at her and she nods back and sort of smiles but not enough to make the lip ends go upward, so it remains a mystery. Maybe if I explain the cologne situation, she'll say, "Oh, that's good because I was about to puke from the smell" and then we'll share a broad smile and I can find out about the lips, but I keep quiet.

I can't stop looking at her lips. I don't want to stare, so I steal glances and I am pretty sure she is not noticing this -- no, I'm positive because I am careful that way. I can't help wondering if she is aware of the lip mismatch: how they don't go with her flaxen hair or her button nose or what I would have thought of as her "cute butt" back before I saw that Discovery Channel special on human attraction, which taught me that men are in fact under the primordial spell of hips ideally suited for child bearing. And, call me crazy, but what child wants to look up at a mama who is frowning back as if to say, "You are such a disappointment to me" even when she is smiling? Probably she is blissfully unaware of the lip problem because she comes from a long line of people with frowny lips and so she associates that with beauty.

The elevator stops again and Cyrus gets on. He's about a hundred and eighty years old and now I am challenging my own reasoning about the cologne and the pretty frowny woman because I realize that I quite frankly don't care if Cyrus associates the cologne stench with me, in the unlikely event that he can still smell at all. Cyrus is very fit for his age, though. He goes to the Y and works out and then afterwards walks around the locker room naked. What is it about old men and their need to strut naked around the locker room? Young men put on a towel but old men let it all hang out and get into lengthy, naked discussions in the hallway about the transcontinental railroad and the battle of Iwo Jima and fiber and college basketball and that goddamn construction on the bypass and the idiot son-in-law who won't shut up about the timeshare in Hilton Head. Is it war-related? Is it like, "I lived in my own filth in a freezing foxhole for three weeks straight so you could be free to work out on that treadmill, mister, so now you are going to look at my sagging buttocks and testicles whether you like it or not?" Isn't there some sort of Star Trek appliance they could install at the Y to magically cloak old naked guys in the locker room? Until there is, I don't want to hear another word about how great technology is.

Decaf Sally catches the elevator just before the doors close, to everyone's dismay. Sally is still on everybody's shit list since she sent around the note promising to "use the right coffee carafe from now on and sorry about all the headaches." The decaf thing is on account of the Fadkins diet, which apparently is not only anti-carbs but also anti-caffeine. The diet ended in a spirit of self-affirmation for Sally, though, when she ceremoniously quit Fadkins by duct-taping a dozen bagels to her thighs and dancing on the lunchroom table. I try to hide behind Cyrus so Sally won't see me because she and I are having an ongoing bumper-sticker duel in the parking garage. She is Proud To Be An American and Supports Our Troops, whereas my Kerry/Edwards For A Stronger America and If You Aren't Completely Appalled Then You Haven't Been Paying Attention bumper stickers have given her something to think about. But that does not mean I wish to discuss it in the elevator.

In order to avoid eye contact with Decaf Sally, I pretend to read the elevator inspection sticker, which is up to date. This does not make me feel safer because I saw a maintenance crew working on the elevators once and learned that a giant bungee cord is all that stands between us and a grisly plummet that would probably end with our heads somewhere inside our body cavities. Still staring at the inspection notice, I learn that the elevator inspector's surname is "Toker" and I wonder if the inspector is a stoner. It occurs to me that if I speculated about this out loud, I could probably make Decaf Sally go right out and acquire a Dare To Say No To Drugs bumper sticker, but I keep quiet.

At the next stop, Allen from Finance gets on. At lunch, we voted him "Most Likely to be Referred to as Least Likely to Commit a Mass Murder, After the Fact," so I curl even further back into the corner and try to look invisible. Before the doors close, The Woman Who Argues Out Loud With Her Computer And Loses gets on. She is wearing a pair of Bono-style sunglasses, even though she won't be out in the sun for a dozen more floors, plus the usual congestion in the parking garage. I steal a glance at Frowny and close my eyes and pray for the Mezzanine to rise quickly.

Our elevators comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act, which means their bright display of floor numbers and Braille are accompanied by a soft woman's voice, which announces the floor number and direction at each floor. Now, she says, "Going down." We are speaking in euphemisms, she and I, which indicates that I might be evolving more slowly than is ideal. Perhaps another Discovery Channel special is in order.

Mercifully, we skip a few floors without stopping and by now there are enough people in the elevator that I stop worrying about being blamed for the cologne. Just when I think we might zip all the way down to the Mezzanine, the elevator dings and slows to a stop and the doors open and the recorded woman softly says, "Fourth floor" and then "Going down" and I smile both at the euphemism and in greeting as two more people step onto the elevator.

One of them, a handsome-but-rotund woman, puts the elevator's bungee infrastructure to the test but we all valiantly conceal our terror. She knows Frowny and they strike up a conversation about which reality TV contestant they are most willing to dial an 800 number in support of. I am at first disappointed because during the descent I had imagined Frowny spending her evenings reading Goethe and attending gallery hops and sipping champagne at the Jazz Factory, but that all fades when her friend tells a story that is clearly leading up to a raucous punch line about a bawdy moment on reality television.

I hold my breath, hoping for the guffaw that will at long last reveal the direction of the lips and here comes the punch line and there explodes the laughter and the lips go... farther down! The more she smiles, the lower the lip ends go and the elevator stops and the doors open and the recorded woman's soft voice says, "Mezzanine" and "Going Up" and I let out an involuntary puff of breath and Frowny and Handsome-But-Rotund and Cyrus and Decaf Sally and Allen and The Woman Who Argues Out Loud With Her Computer And Loses and the rest of us cheerfully leave the cologne behind and walk to the parking garage, where we get in our cars and wait in line for the stoplight to change.

So I'm waiting in traffic and ...

Monday, August 02, 2004

Essential Jams: The Readers Write
A few Ofergodsakeses back, I asked readers to nominate the five essential, pre-1986, non-Beatles (because haven't they all been used in TV commercials?), non-country (because country music sucks ha ha just kidding) albums Ben should own. Well, being the contrary chip-off-the-ol'-block I love so much, Ben went right out and bought both Abbey Road and a Johnny Cash collection CD, putting me in my proper place. (He likes them both!)

But y'all sent in a bunch of great lists, and here they are:


Joe W, a man who can do things with a guitar that you must hear to believe, sent a great list, indicating excellent taste in music as well as an inability to count. After reading his list, check out his site, where you can buy the Las Vegas Body Snatchers CD, shop at the Store of Impractical Things and buy some of Crazy Nickademus's Theological Combat Gear. Joe writes:

Jim! Great topic for the music fanatic that is buried in all of us -- or all the music fanatics buried in me. In no particular order:

This Year's Model by Elvis (the one and only) Costello and the Attractions
Swordfishtrombones by Tom Waits
Symphony No 3 by Charles Ives (the one conducted by Tilson)
Fresh by Sly and the Family Stone
If I Should Fall From Grace With God by the Pogues (this is an absolute must have)
Paganini 24 Caprici by Itzhak Perlman
Funky Kingston by Toots and the Maytals
Catch a Fire by Bob Marley and the Wailers
Full House by Wes Montgomery
Circle One by The Germs India by John Coltrane
Hatful of Hollow by The Smiths
Nefertiti by Miles Davis
The Clash (U.S. release) by The Clash
Murmur by R.E.M.
The Persian Set by Henry Cowell
Regatta de Blanc by The Police
War by U2

Unfortunately, time will not permit me to go on and on and on with this list as I'd like. There are many, many more records to be had--that must be had (I've already added two records while writing this sentence). One minor point about the Clash: I think London Calling defined the Clash. The Clash had an enormous hand in defining punk as we know it (I prefer the US release because it has Clash City Rockers and (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais). But The Germs' Circle One is THE best punk album period. May the musical spirits of the universe excuse all the omissions. I must stop before I go insane...


David O writes:

The all time must-have of course is Fleetwood Mac's Rumors. I would also force the gag reflex a bit and make him listen to some Linda Ronstadt – even if she didn't like it her own self. When I was Ben's age (the year he was born) I went through a bit of a Krokus phase, which oddly enough I still like. Gotta throw in a little Clapton – Willy and the Hand Jive, mmmm. Please introduce him to our own one-hit wonder Henry Lee Summer and "Wish I Had a Girl." Then I would have to say 38 Special is good for a toe-tappin grand time – as is Bad Company – Oh, I got it, Billy Squire's "The Stroke" (my first rock concert if you don't count the Fixx, and who would). When he's ready for the country thing, I always like the Outlaws (Waylon, Willie and Jessi Colter). I am in complete lock-step with you on the "classic rock" thing, but if I were to go there how about the Firm? I know I named more song titles than albums – sorry. Well, that was fun little tiptoe down memory lane. Take care.


Ponge takes me to task for dissing Rush in my classic-rock rant:

Although I've heard the album a few times, when I really want to bang my head and tear ligaments in my vertebrae, Rush "2112" does it. Ex-specially the II section of side 1, when he's "learning" to play the guitar. Every air guitarist's dream: pick up a fiddle and be an expert in 15 seconds. Besides, these days I can equate the priests to W's henchmen.

Neil Pert is the man on drums (with Keith Moon a close second). He's like banging out six different rhythms with four appendages. I can say that Rush only needed one album, though. Everything before was practice and since was redundant.


Leisa, who is an excellent judge of both music and character, sings the praises of a surprising number of artists who released albums named "Anything":

NON-COUNTRY????? Sheesh. Elitist.

Little Feat: Waiting for Columbus
Anything by Gram Parsons or the Byrds or Flying Burrito Brothers
Anything by the Ramones
Anything by the Clash
Gotta have some blues---Etta Baker


Paul, a man who may or may not be kidding with Rock n Roll Over, as evidenced by his invention of flesh-colored duct tape and his adamant refusal to use his computer's Shift key, sent this inspired list:

gang of four - entertainment
sex pistols - never mind the bollocks
bob marley - (you name it)
neil young - rust never sleeps
kiss - rock n roll over
beach boys - pet sounds



Scott, a man who won't be found wearing a smiley face button, writes:


I wish I could waste the entire day on this... but I only have a few minutes. Enough time, however, to insist that Tom Waits make the list. Both "Swordfishtrombones" and "Rain Dogs" meet your criteria... but I have to give the nod to "Rain Dogs" Also, I just picked up a copy of Dead Kennedys' "Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables." It may not make your final list, but when you've got a jones for such classic anthems as "Kill the Poor" and "Let's Lynch the Landlord" there's nobody better than Jello Biafra. This one and "Frankenchrist" should probably go on Ben's list of albums to shoplift.)




Jody paints a lovely picture:

You are, by the way, the devil! I'm swimming in nostalgia and desperate to jump in the old Bonneville with beer, pot, and some cute boys, and head for Floyd's Fork.

Jethro Tull: Aqualung
Little Feat: The Last Record Album
Bonnie Raitt: Give It up
Taj Majal: Giant Step
CSN&Y: Deja Vu


Bush (no, not THAT Bush) refuses to take any crap off The Man by violating both my number and no-Beatles rules with this list:

I want to submit my list of "essential" music but I see you have made rules. Well, I haven't obeyed a rule I didn't want to since I was at that Purdue football game about fifteen years ago and the nice policeman in plainclothes explained my options in no uncertain terms as he led me out of Ross-Ade Stadium. Having said that, I begin my list of fifteen Essential Albums (in no particular order) with:

Revolver by the Beatles
Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan
Led Zepplin's first album
Exile on Main Street by the Stones
Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
The Hissing of Summer Lawns by Joni Mitchell
Pearl by Janis Joplin
What's Going On by Marvin Gaye
Retrospective by the Buffalo Springfield
Never Mind the Bollocks by the Sex Pistols
Live at the Fillmore East by the Allman Brothers
American Beauty by the Grateful Dead
20 All-Time Greatest Hits by James Brown
Quadraphenia by The Who
Legend by Bob Marley and the Wailers

Pick any five you want. It was difficult narrowing my list down to fifteen. Consider some of what I left out: Steely Dan, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Tom Waits, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Sly and the Family Stone, John Prine, Jimmy Buffett, Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, the Clash, Aretha Franklin, I could go on.

Two more thoughts:

If only Golden Earring had released a live album.

Don't EVER buy anything by the Eagles--I hate the fucking Eagles!



Patty came up with a lost classic: Uriah Heep. I had to immediately get out the vinyl and play it LOUD. She writes:

It is not easy to pick only 5, so I will give you the ones that most influenced me when I was pre-college:

Genesis - Selling England by the Pound
Jethro Tull - Aqualung
Leo Kottke - My Feet Are Smiling
Uriah Heep - Live or Demons and Wizards
Jeff Beck - Blow by Blow



So, what did I finally decide to send Ben off to college with? From the previous OFGS picks, he's been jamming to: Blonde on Blonde, Dark Side of the Moon, London Calling, Moondance, and After the Gold Rush.

Before he packs his bags for UK, I've decided he should also own Rain Dogs, This Year's Model, and Never Mind the Bollocks. As we speak, he may or may not be out shoplifting some Dead Kennedys.

But even better, he now has your loving lists, so he can buy whatever he wants from them. Thanks a million to all who contributed toward this important step in childhood development. And for restoring my hope in my generation. Ya bunch of fuckin' criminals.